Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Roasted Red Pepper Chicken Penne: Freezer Cooking

I've had a jar of roasted red peppers in the pantry for awhile, and decided to search Pinterest for a good recipe to use them in. I came across this recipe that sounded pretty good, so I gave it a try. The best part was that it made enough for two meals and it could be frozen!!
Roasted Red Pepper Chicken Penne

6 T. Butter
Kosher salt
1 lb. Penne pasta
1 tsp. Olive Oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in bite-size pieces (I used 2 large chicken breasts)
1/2 cup + 2 T. Flour
4 tsps. minced garlic
6 cups milk
Pkg. Fresh mushrooms- diced
1 jar roasted red peppers- cut into thin strips
2 cups shredded provolone or  mozzarella cheese
fresh parmesan cheese

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray (2) 8 x 8 disposable aluminum pans with cooking spray.
-Drain peppers on paper towel.
-Boil water and cook pasta. Drain and set aside.
-In a skillet, over medium heat, cook chicken. Salt and pepper to taste.
-Remove chicken and saute mushrooms.
-In pot (I just used the same one I cooked noodles in), melt butter, then whisk in flour and garlic. While whisking, add milk (2 cups at a time). Bring to a simmer and whisk frequently until sauce thickens. Add mushrooms and red peppers, cook for a minute or two, then take off of heat and add all of shredded cheese and 1/2 cup parmesan cheese.
-Add chicken and pasta to cream sauce, and mix together well. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Divide evenly between both casseroles. (I actually filled (2) 8 x 8 pans plus an individual size casserole dish).

-If baking: sprinkle with parmesan cheese and bake for 25 minutes.
-If freezing: let cool then wrap well in heavy duty foil. Label and freeze.
When using frozen casserole, thaw, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and bake @ 400 degrees for 25 minutes.

This was very good!!! Peter and I ate part of one for dinner, with leftovers for lunch the next day. I gave the small dish to my MIL, plus we have an extra pan in the freezer for a future meal.
I really want to get back into make-ahead, freezer, and crock pot cooking. I love having a jump start on dinner, plus I really like trying new recipes. I've been reading up on "Once a Month Cooking", but this will take some planning!!! Hopefully, I can give that a try when my life settles down a little!!  (I wonder when that will ever be!) :0) :0)

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