Enter Monterey Chicken Pasta Bake. It's sort of like macaroni & cheese on steroids. Not the kind of steroids that spark a federal investigation and get you suspended from baseball games. Good steroids. The kind of steroids that your macaroni & cheese would take to make you love it more. So...it's really good.
Monterey Chicken Pasta Bake
- 3 cups rigatoni pasta, uncooked
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 can (14.5 oz) fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1 pkg. (7 oz) shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
- 3 cups chopped cooked chicken
- 6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
- Heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cook pasta as directed on package (omitting salt).
- Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet on medium heat. Add onions; cook and stir 6 minutes or until crisp-tender. Blend in flour; cook and stir 1 minute. Gradually stir in broth; cook 5 minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly. Add 1 cup shredded cheese; cook and stir 1 minute or until melted.
- Drain pasta. Add to ingredients in skillet along with the chicken and bacon; mix well. Transfer to a 13x9-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray; top with remaining shredded cheese. Cover.
- Bake 40 minute, uncovering and topping with Parmesan for the last 10 minutes. Top with tomatoes and cilantro.
Recipe Source: Kraft Foods Recipes
- If you've ever read one of my new recipe posts, this will come as no surprise but...I added twice the amount of cheese called for in the above original recipe. And it was fantastic.
- I also used 9 instead of of 6 pieces of bacon. I like to live dangerously. The use of extra bacon was very much Husband-approved.
- I think cilantro is yucky so I omitted that and just sprinkled some dry parsley on top for pretty.
- This is a bit of a time consuming dish, or at least it was for me. And I even cut corners by using rotisserie chicken and onion powder in place of chopped onions. It's not a really quick weeknight meal but I'm definitely keeping it in my recipe arsenal.