Friday, June 19, 2009

Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo Pasta Bake

I got this recipe from my wonderful friend, Laura Knowles. She has lost over 100 pounds now and has her own cooking blog called "Health for the Heart." Macaroni Grill's Penne Rustica inspired her to make this recipe up with healthy ingredients and it's obviously much cheaper. :-) I made it tonight, and it was amazing! Even my hubby who doesn't like alfredo sauce enjoyed it (I didn't tell him what was in it). :-)

-13.25oz box whole wheat penne pasta
-1 jar Classico roasted red pepper alfredo sauce (So, I have been having trouble finding this particular kind at the store now, so... what I do is.... I get the roasted garlic alfredo sauce and buy a jar of sliced roasted red peppers. I dice 1/2 cup of the roasted red peppers and add it with the sauce. Yummy!)
-3 - 4 chicken breasts (I used 1 lb) cooked and chopped up to 1" pieces (she suggests sauteeing it in olive oil with Italian seasonings or using leftover chicken you have on hand. I just boiled my chicken)
-1 cup ham or smoked turkey sausage, chopped up (I used 7oz of turkey sausage)
-1 cup 2% shredded Parmesan cheese (I used reduced fat... or see bottom for variation with 1/2 the cheese)Directions
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and spray a glass 2 liter/2 quart baking dish. Cook the pasta according to the box directions until al dente. Stir pasta, chicken, ham or sausage, and Alfredo sauce together, and add to your dish. It will be very full. Spread Parmesan cheese on top, and bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown and bubbly. Serve with fresh rosemary sprigs and shredded Parmesan cheese.

I think next time I make this, I will use less Parmesan cheese. The dish was so full, it was hard to put a full cup of cheese on top. Even when I told Laura this, she said she uses a lot of just what she has on hand, and she estimated her amounts. I think next time I might try only half a cup of cheese and maybe mix some of it in the pasta before putting it in the dish. Either way, it's super yummy!

Variation: Tried this the other night.... use 1/2 cup total of Parmesan cheese. Mix 1/4 cup with the pasta/chicken/turkey sausage/sauce mix. Pour everything into a sprayed 9x13 dish, top with remaining 1/4 cup cheese, and bake for only 20 minutes. Super yummy!

Totally leave out the meat for a vegetarian option.

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