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Baked Chicken Ziti

This recipe came out really, really good. It’s also on the light side; everything we make we try to do with less whatever, less cheese, less cream, less fat. I don’t need pounds of butter in my diet, I am unhealthy enough from my heart medicine (ahem, nightly glass of wine).

I’ve made some life changes this year, and that includes trying to become a better cook. I have to say, I’ve surprised myself on occasion – this being one of those. Here’s the deal, I am a rule breaker and I hate following a recipe. The original idea does come from Gimme Some Oven, I’ve been following her for years and she’s got some KILLER recipes. But of course I did it up different, because that’s who I am and I’ve learned to embrace the me that always has to be different.

I am not going to give a calorie count here but if I had to guess I’d say it’s around 400 calories per serving. Just a guess, I have no actual clue.

Baked Chicken Ziti

I don’t know if this is twice baked (it is cooked and then baked) but it reminds me of a Fazoli’s favorite called Twice Baked Ziti, which they took off their menu a long time ago.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Total time: 1 hour

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients:
– 25 oz your choice of spaghetti sauce (I picked an organic 4 cheese blend)
– 1 lb or so chicken breasts – marinated in pesto sauce (the market has these usually or you can make your own pesto marinade).
– 2 tbsp olive Oil
– 4 cremini mushrooms – diced
– 2 cloves garlic – minced
– 1 package of penne pasta (Made in Italy is best)
– Spash of Wine (your pick)
– 1/3 cup Parmesan or Asiago cheese
– 1 cup shredded skim low-fat mozzarella cheese
– 2 tsp Creole Seasoning
– 1 tsp Lowry’s Seasoning Salt
– Salt & Pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Season your chicken with the 2 tsp Creole Seasoning and 1 tsp Lowry Seasoning Salt (this is on top of the pesto it was marinated in). You can season the chicken with whatever you like, I personally like a little spice to mine so I picked Creole Seasoning. But you should choose your favorite, whatever that is.
  2. In a heavy pot on the stovetop, pour in 2 tbsp of olive oil and brown the chicken on Med-High heat, about 5 minutes on each side. When cooked, take out and set on a plate. Cut into little bite-size pieces.
  3. With the remaining brown stuff and oil in the pan, lower the heat to med/low and add the minced garlic and saute for 1 minute, then add the sliced mushrooms to the pan and scrape up the brown skin off the bottom.
  4. Add a splash of wine. Simmer until cooked, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the pasta sauce and stir, bringing to a boil.
  6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  7. In a separate container, get water to a boil for your pasta. Once boiling, add some salt and then pasta – cook for 10 minutes until Al Dente.
  8. After 10 minutes, drain pasta and set to the side. Do not rinse.
  9. Once pasta sauce and mushroom/garlic combo is boiling, add cut up chicken to mix. Cook for a few minutes until boiling again.
  10. Add drained pasta to pasta sauce/chicken mix.
  11. Stir and mix the pasta sauce, pasta, and chicken while it is heating up.
  12. Once heated through, turn off stove. Salt & pepper if needed.
  13. Put half of pasta mixture into a casserole dish and sprinkle half of the mozzarella and Parmesan/Asiago cheese over that half.
  14. Repeat this for the second layer/rest of pasta.
  15. Cook pasta dish for 20 minutes in oven, uncovered, until cheese is browned and bubbly.
  16. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
low-cal pasta bake | www.thehairypotato.com

Easy to make, delicious, & somewhat healthy. Did you make it? How did yours turn out?

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