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Full disclaimer, I tweaked Paula Deen’s chicken casserole recipe a little bit. I think her creamy chicken casserole is amazing, but to me it lacked a bit of color. Food looks so much better when it has color so I added red, green, and yellow bell pepper to it.
Let me tell you, not only is it better looking but it tastes amazing. Chicken pasta casseroles are a great way to feed your family a nutritious meal all in one dish.
This one has all the food groups represented and your family will absolutely love it. There are lots of easy chicken casserole recipes, but please try this one. It’s one of our favorites.
HOW TO MAKE PAULA DEEN’S AMAZING CHICKEN CASSEROLE
These are the steps you need to follow:
- Step number one is always preheating the oven. This takes a few minutes so do it before you begin cooking. Set it to 350 F.
- Spray a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish with cooking spray.
- Cook the chicken breasts in boiling water and dice it into small cubes (1 lb)
- At the same time, boil water to cook the pasta.Boil 16 oz short pasta, drain it, and set it aside.
- Chop the ½ cup onion, ¼ cup each (red, green, and yellow) bell peppers and 2 garlic cloves.
- In a medium-sized skillet, melt the butter with the olive oil and saute the chopped veggies until soft.
- Add 2 tablespoons of flour to the skillet and cook for about one minute.
- Pour in 1 ½ cups milk and ½ cup sour cream into the skillet and whisk until smooth.
- Season with 1 teaspoon oregano, ½ teaspoon chili flakes, 1 tablespoon of dried parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until the sauce thickens, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
- In a big bowl mix together the cooked pasta, sauce and chopped cooked chicken.
- Mix in 1 ½ cups of shredded cheddar cheese.
- Place mixture into the greased casserole dish, sprinkle the remaining ½ cup shredded cheddar on top and bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
1. Cook the pasta just until al dente (with a bit of a bite still to it), because it will go into the oven and cook a little more.
2. I recommend using a whisk to mix the milk and sour cream into the veggie/flour mixture so you don’t end up with a lumpy bechamel sauce.
3. Do not use pre-shredded cheddar if you can avoid it. Shred your own cheese. Pre-shredded cheese has anti-caking ingredients added that prevent it from melting properly.
4. Do not make your sauce too thick. I like mine a little on the runny side. Remember that the pasta will absorb some of it and as the dish cools down, the sauce will thicken a bit more.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH CHICKEN CASSEROLES
The beauty of making a casserole is that it has everything you need in a meal. This chicken casserole recipe has pasta (carbs), chicken (protein), bell peppers and onion (veggies), and milk, sour cream and cheese (fat and protein).
It is a complete meal in itself. But, if you want to add a bit more fiber to this meal you could serve it with a side of salad or steamed veggies. I think the acidity in the salad dressing works very well with the creaminess of the casserole.
HOW TO STORE AND REHEAT PAULA DEEN’S CHICKEN CASSEROLE
If you happen to have any leftovers, place them in an airtight container and into the fridge for up to 4 days, or freeze them for up to 4 months.
To reheat the leftovers, add a tablespoon of water and either place them in the microwave until heated through, or you can also reheat them in a 350 F until bubbly again.
If the leftovers are frozen, thaw them in the fridge the night before.
CAN I MAKE PAULA DEEN’S CREAMY CHICKEN AND PASTA CASSEROLE AHEAD OF TIME?
Yes you can. Follow all the steps until you have the casserole completely assembled. Do not bake it. Cover it with foil and two layers of plastic wrap and freeze for up to 4 months. When you are ready to bake it, place it in the fridge the night before to thaw and bake according to recipe instructions.
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- 2 cups boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
- 1 lb short pasta such as penne, cooked and drained
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- ½ cup onion, finely chopped
- ¼ cup each red, green, and yellow bell peppers, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cups milk
- ½ cup sour cream
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon chili flakes
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups freshly shredded cheddar cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Cook the chicken and cut into small dice. Boil the pasta, drain and reserve.
- Melt the butter with the olive oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat and saute the chopped onion, bell peppers and garlic until soft.
- Add the flour to the veggies and cook for about one minute.
- Pour in the milk and sour cream. Use a whisk to make sure no lumps are left in the sauce.
- Add the oregano, chili flakes, parsley, salt and pepper to taste and simmer the sauce until thick, about 2-3 minutes.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the cooked pasta, chicken and sauce. Mix everything until well combined.
- Blend in 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar.
- Place the mixture in a greased 9 x 13 inch casserole dish and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 522Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 103mgSodium: 398mgCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 3gSugar: 6gProtein: 32g