Saturday, February 27, 2016

Spinach Dip Chicken Casserole

I've been on a freezer meal kick lately. It's very addicting when you find delicious recipes, even when you experience a few bad ones - you tend to want to have freezer meals on hand for those "I don't want to cook, but I don't want to spend hours at a restaurant" nights.  

Lets be honest,
it's really dangerous to freeze stuff because they can become freezer burnt or just taste funky or in some cases, I forget about them until there is no use trying to make them.

Spinach dip is one of my favorite dips.  I tend to stay away from it because I could probably eat an entire dish on my own.  I do also enjoy the cold version of spinach dip.  Yum.   Anyway, this is similar but with noodles and pan fried chicken added. 

Results:  It's a delicious recipe.  It froze really well and heated up just fine.  

Lessons learned:  So the original recipe called for a 2 quart pan and now that I'm thinking about it - I calculated wrong and essentially had more noodles for less sauce.  See what I did was I made the recipe with an entire box of noodles that they recommended, but didn't take into account that the box of noodles is twice the amount asked in the recipe.  Which explains why the noodles had absorbed most of the sauce.  It's not a big deal because I ended up making a double batch of chicken.  It was still delicious.  

Recipe adapted from:  Crunchy Creamy Sweet

This recipe is for freezer meal prep. 

Makes: 2- 8x8 casseroles (4 to 6 servings each)

1 box of penne rigate noodles (I used wheat)
4 chicken breasts
1/2 cup of flour
salt and pepper
1 cup sour cream
8 oz of cream cheese, (soften in microwave)
1/2 cup of milk (I had 2% on hand)
2 ranch dressing packets
10 oz. frozen spinach (thawed)
3 cups of mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese
2- 8x8 aluminum foil  pans

  1. Prepare the noodles as package says.  Keep warm until step 7.
  2. While the water is boiling, dice chicken.  Sprinkle salt, pepper and flour the chicken.  Mix the flour into the chicken, until all pieces are covered but not heavily coated.  
  3. Heat a large saute pan with 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil into the pan.  
  4. Once the oil is out, add the chicken slowly (it will pop).  Stir regularly. 
  5. Once chicken is cooked through set it aside. 
  6. Mix the sour cream, cream cheese, milk, dressing and spinach together. 
  7. Add the noodles and chicken. 
  8. Split mix into the 2 casserole dishes. 
  9. Cover the top with the cheese and sprinkle the parmesan cheese. 
  10. Cover with press and seal and 1 aluminum foil.
  11. Add instructions on top:
    1. Thaw Overnight, Bake (covered) for 400°F for 30 to 45 minutes; remove cover and bake another 15 minutes until cheese is melted
    2. Bake direct from freezer, Bake (covered) for 425°F for 30 to 45 minutes (or cooked through); remove cover and bake another 15 minutes until cheese is melted.

      (The chicken is already cooked so the goal is just to get it to the temperature you want it.)

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