Rigatoni and Chicken Bake with Artichokes – Round Two

By the time this is posted, we will be in full swing of the big move – the unpacking stage. The kitchen is going to require some work to get things just where I want them to be. The great thing about the new digs is that it has a huge bonus room, just off the living room. While this could be turned into a family room or media room, we have elected to create an actual dining room. (With no distractions – no electronics allowed!)

There is a breakfast nook just off the kitchen that could be used as the family dining area. However; that’s not the plan – I want to utilize the space with a big butcher block or other table (like an old farm table) and create a great “prep” area – with shelving and a low hutch for all my kitchen goodies. Room to stretch out and strut my stuff so to speak. The natural light in the room is amazing – can’t wait to set up the camera equipment and really get to cooking.

While I’m excited about all the possibilities, there are some draw backs. There is no pantry – it’s an older home, but still I know people kept food in the house, you would think a pantry would be a must. I am accustomed to the no-pantry concept, since the home we are leaving behind (also an older home) lacked an actual pantry as well. There, we used a large hutch as a pantry. The new place has two closets (down the hall and around the corner from the kitchen) with tons of shelving. There is something else in the hall built-ins that I don’t understand. There’s an actual cutting board – I’m not sure why someone would need a cutting board in the middle of the hallway, but there it is. Go figure –

Anyway, recently I shared a recipe very similar to this one, Pesto-Alfredo Pasta Chicken Bake a dish inspired by The Cooking Jar. Not only was this dish absolutely incredible, the leftovers were equally as delicious. Until things get settled in the new digs, we’ll be looking for meals that can stretch throughout the week, and my Rotini and Chicken Bake with Artichokes are just the ticket. Not only do we have a bag of cooked chicken in the freezer, but I still have an extra jar of Marinated Artichoke hearts from our 4th of July celebration. I wanted to make sure I had enough to make my Panko-Parmesan Marinated Artichoke Hearts with Lemon-Basil Aioli for everyone. I worry all the time about not making enough food, and as a result, there are “extra” ingredients for later. (If you would like the recipe, check out Hurray for The Red, White and Blue).

This is a dish I shared a few years back. With all this moving, it’s one I’m making again. Hope you enjoy.

Rigatoni and Chicken Bake with Artichokes
1 lb Rigatoni pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 orange bell pepper, chopped
2 cups shredded cooked chicken (about 1 roasted chicken)
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes Italian style
1 can (14 oz) Marinated Artichoke Hears, drained and quartered
6 oz sliced green olives (optional)
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
2 Cups Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
1/4 Cup White Wine (Optional)

Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain and set aside.

While the pasta is cooking, gather and prepare all your other ingredients.

Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Spray a 2-quart casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Heat oil in large deep skillet over medium heat until hot. Add onion and pepper; cook and stir about 1 minute. Add chicken, tomatoes with juices, pasta, artichokes and Italian seasoning; mix until combined.

Place half of the chicken mixture in prepared dish, sprinkle with half of the cheese. Top with remaining chicken mixture and cheese. If desires, pour a little white wine over the casserole before placing it in the oven.

Bake, 20-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Serve with warm bread and a simple salad for an easy weeknight meal.

Enjoy!

 

Crock Pot Pizza Pasta

Today would have been Brother Dear’s 60th birthday. Over the years since his surrender to cancer, I’ve shared some of his favorite dishes to honor and remember him by.  His most favorites were summed up nicely with links on Christmas Eve the year of his passing in my post Celebrating Life – A Collection of Brother Dear’s Favorite Recipes.

Over the years, I’ve served up his favorites when I felt the need to draw him near. But the world moves on, and so do I. Although Brother Dear never tasted Crock Pot Pizza Pasta, with my first bite I knew it would have received his stamp of approval. It’s a strange sort of marriage that works well – the texture of Lasagna (one of his favorites) with the flavor of Pizza (top in his book).

Here’s to you, Brother Dear. Happy Birthday.

Crock Pot Pizza Pasta
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 (8 oz) package Rigatoni Pasta
1 (16 oz) Package Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
1 (10 oz) can Condensed Cream of Tomato Soup
2 (14 oz) Jars Pizza Sauce
1 (8 oz) Package Sliced Pepperoni

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain and set aside.

Brown the ground beef in a skillet over medium-high heat. Drain off grease.

In a slow cooker, alternate layers of ground beef, pasta, cheese, tomato soup, pizza sauce and pepperoni.

Cook on LOW setting for 4 hours.

Serve with a salad and garlic bread to complete the meal.

No Muss, No Fuss Rigatoni with Meatballs

Of all the types of pasta on the planet – at lease those we’ve actually tried from the 350 or so in existence – Hubby’s favorite pasta has to be a toss-up between Penne and Rigatoni. If I had to pick between the two, I like Rigatoni for the ridges that seems to help whatever sauce used to cling to the pasta better.

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While we tend to think of pasta as Italian, noodles made with different kinds of grain have been a part of Chinese cooking for more than 7,000 years.

With a few simple ingredients that you might already have in your pantry, in the time it takes to boil noodles, a satisfying supper can be on the table. Add some warm garlic bread and a very basic salad of leafy green with tomato wedges, and the meal is complete.

What to do with leftovers? Spread this pasta dish out in a casserole dish, add more Italian tomatoes, cover and bake for about 30 minutes at 375 degrees. It’s two meals in one.

Rigatoni with Meatballs
1 bag (16 oz) Rigatoni Pasta
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 Bag Frozen Meatballs(Johnsonville makes a great Italian Meatball)
1 Jar Roasted Garlic Pasta Sauce
1 Can Dice Italian Tomatoes
1/4 Cup Red Wine, more if desired
1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese, more if desired (Not the powdery stuff in the green can)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt, stir until dissolved.

While water comes to a boil, empty frozen meatballs into a large stockpot. Pour pasta sauce over meatballs. Empty tomatoes, juice and all, over meatballs. Pour wine into the now empty jar of pasta sauce. Secure with lid, shake well to gather any remaining sauce into the wine. Pour into stockpot.

Bring meatballs and sauce to a low boil over medium-high heat. Lower heat and allow to simmer until ready to serve. (Meatballs need to simmer in a low boil for 20 minutes to heat through).

Once water is at a strong boil, add pasta and stir well to encourage “dancing about” in the water. Pasta should be cooked through while still firm to the bite in about 15 minutes.

Drain pasta and place in a large serving bowl. Pour meatballs in sauce over pasta. With a large serving spoon, gently mix sauce into pasta.

Serve with more grated Parmesan Cheese to pass at the table.

Rigatoni and Chicken Bake with Artichokes

The artichoke, specifically the globe artichoke, is actually the unopened flower bud of a thistle-like plant. These unopened flowers were a passion of Catherine de Medici in fifteenth-century Florence, Italy. Catherine became the wife of Henry II, king of France. King Henry excluded Catherine from the political arena. Upon his death, she became ruler of France through her sons, each of whom she outlived. Her favorite artichoke was brought to the United States in the nineteenth century, first to Louisiana and later to California. Today California, especially the area around Castroville, produces virtually the entire domestic crop. Artichokes are also grown in abundance in the Mediterranean region where they are a very popular vegetable. What does all this have to do with today’s recipe? Not much, I just found it interesting.

You can approach this recipe several way – you can cook up some chicken especially for this recipe; you can have a roasted chicken dinner earlier in the week (and roast a 2nd chicken for this recipe) or (like me) you can pick up a roasted chicken at the deli. Just make sure when you are strip the meat off that roasted chicken you keep everyone who might want to nibble on it out of the kitchen. (And try to resist the urge yourself!)

Beyond cooking up a chicken, the rest of the recipe comes together in a snap.

Rigatoni and Chicken Bake with Artichokes
1 lb Rigatoni pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 orange bell pepper, chopped
2 cups shredded cooked chicken (about 1 roasted chicken)
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes Italian style
1 can (14 oz) Marinated Artichoke Hears, drained and quartered
6 oz sliced green olives (optional)
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
2 Cups Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
1/4 Cup White Wine (Optional)

Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain and set aside.

While the pasta is cooking, gather and prepare all your other ingredients.

Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Spray a 2-quart casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Heat oil in large deep skillet over medium heat until hot. Add onion and pepper; cook and stir about 1 minute. Add chicken, tomatoes with juices, pasta, artichokes and Italian seasoning; mix until combined.

Place half of the chicken mixture in prepared dish, sprinkle with half of the cheese. Top with remaining chicken mixture and cheese. If desires, pour a little white wine over the casserole before placing it in the oven.

Bake, 20-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Serve with warm bread and a simple salad for an easy weeknight meal.

Enjoy!

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Rotini and Chicken Bake with Marinated Artichoke Hearts (1)

Gather and prepare ingredients for your bake while the pasta is cooking.

Rotini and Chicken Bake with Marinated Artichoke Hearts (2)

Saute onions and bell pepper in skillet large enough to hold ALL the ingredients.

Rotini and Chicken Bake with Marinated Artichoke Hearts (3)

Add chicken, tomatoes and artichoke hearts. Stir to blend.

Rotini and Chicken Bake with Marinated Artichoke Hearts (5)

Add pasta to the skillet, stir to blend. Divide mixture, layer with cheese. Add a little wine just before baking if desired.

Rotini and Chicken Bake with Marinated Artichoke Hearts (6)

Bake until bubbling and cheese has melted. Serve and enjoy.