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A total crowd-pleaser, Creamy Chicken Alfredo Casserole is an easy, cheesy, comfort food dinner for your busiest weeknights.
Made with a healthier homemade Alfredo sauce, this chicken alfredo bake makes the perfect weeknight meal because it is easy to make and everyone just enjoys it.
This recipe is quick and easy, and any novice home cook can perfect it.
This Creamy Chicken Alfredo Casserole is not my only comfort dish! Consider my
a personal favorite, Best Chicken and Dumplings
Yes, yes…it is true! Creamy Chicken Alfredo Casserole is a carb-lovers’ dream recipe. It’s kind of your favorite chicken Alfredo but in an ultra-creamy casserole form. Oh, and with pesto. I cannot forget to leave out the pesto. Warm pasta enveloped with creamy Alfredo sauce and cooked rotisserie chicken is then covered with a hidden layer of pesto, provolone cheese, and sour cream that melts when baked for a ridiculous amount of velvety creamy, cheesy gooey goodness!
For those weeknights when the thought of cooking is a resounding ‘no,’ with little effort and only a handful of ingredients, you can have a homemade pasta casserole that is warm and exuding creamy goodness. It is easy to customize if you choose to add vegetables, and you can most certainly use a different protein. What I rely on is the ability to assemble ahead of time and freeze these types of casseroles if I am not using them immediately. And with the notion that a single rotisserie chicken picked clean can yield one if not two recipes, I have also just saved a good deal of money and time by not having to purchase and cook boneless skinless chicken breasts.
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Oh, the possibilities are absolutely endless where both chicken and pasta are concerned...
My junior year of college, my suitemates and I did a lot of cooking at home. One of the girls was a foreign exchange student from Taiwan, the other a native of Harlem. Our food and cultural backgrounds could not have been more diverse, but we chose to live together because we got on that fabulously. During our year together, I learned how to make Shui Jiao, or Chinese dumplings. You know, those awesome little steamed or fried pockets of meat and dough? Yeah, those! And I also learned how to prepare Senegalese Chicken Yassa. We enjoyed making the Yassa extra spicy with Scotch Bonnet peppers.
My contribution to the dinner table were Americanized casseroles crafted largely during the Depression, because that is what my Grandmother cooked and because she was familiar with them, Mom cooked. Over the decades, I am sure to some extent I modified just about every one of those old recipes to make them stand out. Nothing wrong with that because cooking is meant to be a relaxing and satisfying adventure that you embark on with a glass of wine in hand. Well, that is how I do it anyway. No stress.
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This makes a 9x13 inch pan of pasta, and easily feeds a family of four with leftovers.
Just before Christmas break that year, it was my 'gift' to my suitemates to make them a nice dinner. I spent more than I could afford really buying bread and salad fixings and wine to go with yet another one of my casseroles. Thinking about it, I wanted to cook something I had not served to them before. Something pasta-ish or maybe something involving chicken...I was really good at an easy baked fettuccini alfredo. But what about a cheesy chicken alfredo bake, tasty with buttery breadcrumbs on top? The possibilities were endless where pasta and chicken together were concerned. How the final result of this casserole EVER came out tasting as amazing as it did is still beyond me. And what of my suitemates thoughts on this casserole? THEY LOVED IT! And yes, I have modified it some from that first go, but it is better now, tenfold with the clever addition of that pesto and cheesy hidden layer!
What is Alfredo sauce made of?
For this method, and to balance the heavy pasta, I am specifying a lightened up homemade Alfredo sauce made with milk in lieu of heavy cream. Trust me when I tell you that you will be missing nothing in terms of flavor by going with a lighter sauce. And anyways, you will be making up for it with the layer of cheeses and sour cream. I would highly recommend making the sauce instead of buying a jar of pre-made Alfredo sauce, although that is always an option if you want super easy dinner prep. This Alfredo recipe though is THAT EASY. Milk, sweet cream butter, fresh chopped garlic, a little freshly grated parmesan cheese, dried thyme and oregano, and a bit of salt and pepper to taste.
I use a mezze penne pasta in my casserole but shake things up a bit at your house and use shells, ziti, or rotini if it suits. The key is to use what is already on hand to keep this simple. I have been known to incorporate chopped sundried tomatoes or roasted garlic cloves in with the cheese layer or on top during the last 15 minutes of the bake. Seriously, go with whatever. You know they think this stuff up at Olive Garden and make a killing selling it. Bust out your prettiest baking dish, grease with a little olive oil, prep some cooked chicken, and get to making this amazing pasta and chicken alfredo recipe.
- 9 x 13 inch casserole dish
Did you know that it’s super easy to print out a version of a half recipe or even a double recipe on Not Entirely Average? Hover over the serving size (highlighted in blue, it says 24 on this recipe) and then slide the the white line to the left to make less or to the right to make more. This "calculator" allows you to play until you get the number of servings you want. Easy.
Ingredients for Creamy Chicken Alfredo Casserole
for the Alfredo sauce
- 4 tablespoons sweet cream butter
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 1/2 cups milk I am using 2% milk
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
for the casserole
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 6 ounce pkg fresh baby spinach, chopped
- 3/4 cup pesto sauce, prepared or homemade
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 12 ounces uncooked penne pasta
- 2 1/2 cups chopped rotisserie chicken
- 1 cup shredded low-moisture part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 6 - 8 slices provolone cheese
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
Prepare the Alfredo Sauce
- Melt 5 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat then whisk in flour and garlic. Cook, while stirring for 2 minutes.
- Turn heat to low then gradually whisk in milk, chicken broth, thyme, oregano, onion powder, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
- Bring to a boil, whisking constantly then reduce heat to medium and simmer, whisking occasionally until thickened (but not overly thick), 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in Parmesan cheese until melted. Stir in chopped chicken and remove from heat.
Prepare the Casserole
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Prepare a 13 x 9 inch baking dish by rubbing inside with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- Cook the penne according to the package directions in a large pot of boiling water. Drain.
- Toss together the cooked penne and the chopped spinach with the Alfredo chicken mixture.
- Pour half of the pasta mixture into prepared baking dish and spread in an even layer. Layer pasta evenly with pesto sauce followed by an even layer of the provolone cheese followed by an even layer of sour cream. Pour remaining pasta over sour cream and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella cheese.
- Bake uncovered at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly and inside provolone is melted. Sprinkle with paprika and chopped basil and let sit 5-10 minutes before serving.