Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Lemon Chicken Bake

This week I bought a bag of lemons and had most of a leftover tub of ricotta, so this Lemon Chicken Bake is what I came up with. It's good. My five year old ate three helpings and so did the hubs, who usually is not a fan of cream-based pasta dishes. I, on the other hand, live for them. Yum.

Lemon Chicken Bake

1/3 pound small pasta, like mini bowties or mini penne
3 chicken breast halves, pounded to ½ inch for faster cooking
Salt and Pepper, to taste
2 T. butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup onion, diced
2 lemons
1 c. chicken broth
2 t. Italian seasoning
2 T. flour
½ cup half-n-half or heavy cream
½ cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated, plus extra for sprinkling
10 oz. fresh baby spinach
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
½ c. ricotta cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9X13 pan with cooking spray.
Cook pasta in salted water according to directions on package, al dente.
Meanwhile, heat butter in medium-high skillet. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Sautee until browned and just cooked through. Remove from pan, set aside, covered.
Add garlic and onion to pan and stir. Add chicken broth and scrape up browned bits. Squeeze the juice one whole lemon into pan, add Italian seasoning and cook 5 minutes.
Whisk in flour and half-n-half and cook one minute, stirring constantly.
Add parmesan, stir until melted.
Coarsely chop chicken and place in a large bowl with spinach, tomatoes, ricotta cheese and hot pasta.
Pour sauce over chicken mixture and stir gently. Pour into baking dish and sprinkle with more parmesan cheese. Squeeze one lemon over entire casserole.
Bake for 15 minutes until cheese is melted.

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