There’s been a recent resurgence of casseroles, and we can safely report: they are cool again! Try our simple cheesy chicken recipe cooked in a cream sauce that is a fantastic way to use up any chicken or veggie leftovers sitting in your fridge.
Sometimes, we don’t feel like cooking an elaborate dinner. And by sometimes, we mean usually.
That’s why we’re so happy that casseroles seem to be in the middle of a resurgence, and for good reason – they’re generally easy to make, transport, and bake for your family and friends.
Better yet, we like to freeze them for later, as you can do with this simple pasta casserole recipe, great for using up old chicken breast you cooked for dinner the night before.
Follow our simple recipe below to make this cheesy chicken and pasta bake we promise your family will love!
Creamy Chicken Pasta Casserole Recipe: A Simple Way to Use Up Leftovers
3 c. large shell noodles, uncooked
3 Tbsp salted butter
⅓ c. sweet red bell pepper, diced
1 cooking onion, peeled and finely diced
½ tsp seasoning salt
1 tsp chili powder
10 ¾ oz cream of chicken soup, condensed
1 ⅓ c. milk
3 c. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded, divided
⅓ c. parmesan cheese, grated
4 oz mild green chiles
3 c. cooked chicken, pulled from the bone
Preheat your oven to 375°F.
While you wait for your oven to preheat, bring a medium-sized pot of water to a boil. Cook the pasta shells al dente, according to the package directions, then drain the pasta and set aside.
Directly in your cast-iron casserole dish or a large stovetop skillet, cook onion and red pepper in butter over medium heat, ~5 mins or until tender. Stir in the salt and chili powder.
In a large-sized mixing bowl or directly in your cast-iron casserole dish, combine the soup, milk, 2 c. cheddar cheese, parmesan, and the cooked onion mixture. Mix well, then stir in chicken, pasta shells, and green chiles.
If not already in the casserole dish, spread the mixture into an oven-safe casserole dish and top with the remaining cheese.
Bake this chicken and pasta casserole recipe in your preheated oven for 30-35 mins until hot and bubbly on the surface.
Baked Chicken Pasta Casserole - FAQ
Do I need to use a cast-iron casserole dish?
You don’t need a cast iron casserole dish to make this recipe, but it certainly makes the cooking process much easier and is the best way to get those ooey, gooey, casserole edges perfectly crisp.
We love using our cast-iron dish to first cook the ingredients on the stovetop, toss in our other ingredients, and pop it right into the oven. Otherwise, you’ll need a few separate dishes to do the work.
If you don’t own a cast-iron casserole dish, you’ll need a skillet, a mixing bowl, and another casserole dish to make this meal!
Can I substitute another type of pasta?
Absolutely! If you don’t have any pasta shells on hand, any medium-sized pasta will work in their place for this chicken and noodles casserole. We often substitute for whichever pasta we have on-hand instead of making an extra trip to the grocery store.
Whichever noodle type you choose, make sure you cook your pasta al dente so that it’s still firm as the noodles will continue to cook in the leftover chicken pasta.
Can I swap out the chicken?
We love the taste of chicken in this cheesy chicken pasta, though its flavors adapt quite nicely to other proteins and ingredients, too. Baked pasta casseroles are a great way to use up any leftover meat you don’t want to eat for days on end – try swapping cooked ham or turkey for chicken.
You can also add extra veggies to your dish; just be sure they’re pre-cooked, so they don’t mess up the baking time.
How can I add a crispy topping?
If you want to make your chicken casseroles with pasta a little crispy on the top, you can whip up this super simple breadcrumb crumble.
To make, combine 3 Tbsp of panko bread crumbs with 1 Tbsp melted butter, and stir well. Sprinkle the mixture over the casserole after you add the cheese, and bake as directed. It creates the perfect balance of creaminess and crunch!
Chicken Pasta Casserole: Final Note & Storage Tips
This easy chicken pasta bake is pretty easy to store and reheat too! You can keep this casserole covered in the fridge for up to 3 days or toss it in the freezer in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.
You can freeze your cheesy chicken casserole baked or unbaked, but remember that the cooking times may be much longer, especially if cooking straight from frozen without thawing first. If you’re reheating an already-baked casserole from frozen in the oven, cover it with aluminum foil, so it doesn’t dry out.
Enjoy your cheesy baked chicken with pasta casserole! Bon appetit!
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