There is something about a warm, gooey pasta casserole that sparks cravings and makes you want to dig right in. While your oven cranks up the warmth and the perfume of home cooking permeates the house, you get the sense that wholesome, home-cooked meals are the best way to nourish yourself and your family. This chicken and penne parmesan casserole has loads of flavor, but is low in excess fat and calories. And did we mention the applause you’ll receive when you bring this dish to the table?
Ground chicken is an excellent and inexpensive source of lean protein, which makes this dish healthy, satisfying, and a great weeknight go-to. Tomatoes supply a hearty dose of lycopene, an important antioxidant, and vitamin C, an excellent immune booster. Parmesan cheese supplies a bit of calcium as well. We prepare this dish with extra virgin olive oil, giving it great taste while remaining heart healthy. We also chose whole wheat penne, a complex carbohydrate that adds a dose of fiber to your meal, filling you up, keeping your blood sugar stable, and aiding in weight loss.
Yields: 8 servings | Serving size: 1 cup pasta | Calories: 310 | Total Fat: 11 g | Saturated Fats: 4 g | Previous Points: 6 | Points Plus: 8 | Trans Fats: 0 g | Cholesterol: 59 mg | Sodium: 156 mg | Carbohydrates: 34 g | Dietary Fiber: 5 g | Sugars: 0 g | Protein: 19 g
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 pound lean ground chicken or turkey
- 1 (24-ounce) jar marinara sauce, no sugar added, store-bought or homemade
- 12 ounces (3-1/2 cups) uncooked whole grain penne
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, divided
- 3/4 cup grated (part-skim) mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup loosely pack parsley, coarsely chopped, for garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Boil a pot of salted water for the pasta and cook according to package directions, until the pasta is al dente.
Over medium heat, in a skillet, cook the ground poultry for about 8 minutes, or until cooked through. Season with salt and pepper. Add all of the marinara sauce and stir.
Mix the drained pasta with the sauce,1/4 cup of the Parmesan and the mozzarella cheese. Transfer the pasta to a baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray or greased with a small amount of olive oil. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan on top of the pasta then drizzle with 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil.
Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until a golden crust forms on top.
Let it rest for about 5 – 10 minutes. Garnish with chopped parsley just prior to serving, if desired.