This week, I had a bag of curly baby kale and some fresh white button mushrooms in the fridge, and I wanted use them in a casserole of some sort. What resulted was an amazingly DELISH dinner...Chicken, Mushroom & Baby Kale Alfredo Casserole! Along with some other simple ingredients that I always have on hand, this came together quite easily...and the fresh mushrooms, cheese, and Alfredo sent this over-the-top in the flavor department! And the baby kale adds a nice texture...and it's healthy!
12 ounces mini penne pasta
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
16 ounces fresh white/button mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
15-ounce jar light Alfredo sauce (I love Bertolli brand)
Salt & pepper, to taste
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 cups curly baby kale, any thick stems removed and kale roughly chopped
A few splashes of low-fat milk (may be needed to thin Alfredo sauce mixture)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded Italian-blend cheese, divided
Prepare pasta according to package directions, adding a large pinch of kosher salt and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil to the pot of water when preparing. When pasta is done cooking, drain and rinse with cold water (to stop the cooking process), and drizzle with a bit of olive oil and toss (to help keep pasta from sticking together).
In a large sauce pan with deep sides, drizzle olive oil into pan and heat to medium-high. Add chicken, stirring occasionally. When chicken is almost cooked through, add mushrooms and garlic and continue to sauté and stir until the mushrooms are tender. Then add all seasonings (salt/pepper through paprika); reduce heat to medium and continue cooking and stirring occasionally to slightly reduce some of the liquid in the pan (which is from the chicken/mushrooms released their juices while cooking).
Reduce heat to medium-low; add Alfredo sauce and stir frequently. If sauce seems to be a bit too thick, add a few splashes of milk to thin to desired consistency. When sauce is warmed through, stir in baby kale; continue stirring until kale begins to slightly wilt. Remove from heat.
In a large bowl, add Alfredo mixture and cooked/cooled pasta and mix well. Stir in Parmesan cheese and half of the Italian-blend cheese; stir to combine.
Pour into a 9”x13” casserole dish that has been coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle the top with remaining Italian-blend cheese. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, or until cheese is melty and casserole is heated through. Enjoy!