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Chicken, Spinach and Mushroom Pasta Bake

Chicken Spinach and Mushroom Pasta Bake
Days are shorter and chillier now so casseroles, stews and one pot meals have made a frequent appearance at my table for obvious reasons. They’re easy to make, they last longer and give me more time to enjoy the dwindling hours of daylight. This chicken, spinach and mushroom pasta bake is really perfect for days like these. It has six servings so for the two of us that means lots of leftovers. But just because it’s a casserole for a lazy day, it doesn’t mean it skimps on yummy goodness. Au contraire, it has a lot of yummy goodness! I really love the combination of spinach, mushrooms and cheese in this and the crusty broiled cheese on top.

Chicken Spinach and Mushroom Pasta Bake

Let’s take a moment to drool over all that cheese.

Cheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeese.

Okay, let’s talk cooking method. With a previous unsatisfactory attempt at baked ziti (2015 update: finally got made a good one!), I’ve come to realize that pasta used in casseroles should be cooked to the point where it’s just before al dente, or it’ll end up a soggy mess. This worked for me: If the instructions call for 12 minutes for rigatoni to al dente, cook it for 10 minutes instead. Then drain and rinse it under cold water to stop the cooking process. It’ll finish getting to al dente in the oven.  Since everything is already cooked, you won’t have to bake the casserole too long. Just enough to melt the cheese. You can also broil it for a few minutes to get the golden brown crust. I went with that of course. I’m sure you didn’t miss the golden layer of cheese. It’s hard to miss!

Chicken Spinach and Mushroom Pasta Bake

The important thing about casseroles with pasta in them is to reach a good balance of moisture so it isn’t too dry but isn’t soggy either. There’s three culprits here that can add too much moisture if not taken care of properly: the spinach, the mushrooms and the tomatoes. So drain the spinach of water as best as you can and cook the chicken and mushroom mixture until all the liquid from the mushrooms have evaporated. The moisture needed for the entire dish can be borrowed from the liquid of the canned tomatoes. If there’s too much moisture it’ll be a soggy mess. So rely on those tomatoes and they should see you through!

That’s it! Happy cooking!

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Chicken Spinach and Mushroom Pasta Bake

Chicken, Spinach and Mushroom Pasta Bake


  • Author: The Cooking Jar
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 40 mins
  • Yield: 6

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. rigatoni
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 10 oz. frozen spinach, cooked and drained
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 8 oz. portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 can (14 oz.) diced tomatoes
  • 1 tub (8 oz.) chive and onion cream cheese
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the rigatoni until just before al dente
  2. Saute the onions and garlic in olive oil over medium high heat until fragrant
  3. Add chicken cubes and cook until chicken is no longer pink
  4. Season with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning and toss to combine
  5. Add mushrooms and simmer until the mushrooms cook down and liquid evaporates, about 10 minutes
  6. Drain the pasta and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process
  7. In a large mixing bowl, combine the pasta, chicken mixture, tomatoes with their liquid, spinach, cream cheese and sugar. Mix thoroughly
  8. Transfer to a 9×13 casserole dish and top with cheese
  9. Bake in 375 degrees F for 15 minutes uncovered until cheese melts and is bubbly
  10. Broil for 2-3 minutes to get a golden crust
  11. Dish and serve hot

Notes

To substitute fresh spinach for frozen, cook it down with the mushrooms until all liquid has evaporated.

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48 Comments

  • Reply
    Navaneetham Krishnan
    November 5, 2013 at 8:58 PM

    Its awesome and I am attracted to the cheese layer. Still we seldom have it, you know that typical Asians who need to eat rice and noodles. My nephews usually come over and they will for sure jump up over this baked pasta.

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      November 7, 2013 at 2:25 PM

      Glad you like it! It’s good for leftovers as well as long as you microwave for 2 minutes or so.

  • Reply
    Man Ridwan
    November 6, 2013 at 8:34 AM

    I love baked pasta,sound and looks creamy and delicious !

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      November 7, 2013 at 2:25 PM

      Thank you Ridwan!

  • Reply
    Andy
    December 6, 2013 at 7:16 PM

    did i miss the part in the directions when you added the spinach?

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      December 6, 2013 at 10:01 PM

      No you didn’t, it is fixed now. Thanks for letting me know and pointing it out so nicely, Andy!

  • Reply
    ASBBeautyy
    March 1, 2014 at 5:30 PM

    Just did this recipe, it tastes amazing!

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      March 29, 2014 at 1:14 PM

      Thanks! Cheese makes everything wonderful.

  • Reply
    plasterer bristol
    May 7, 2014 at 11:08 AM

    I love chicken and pasta, never thought about adding spinach before, sounds delicious, thanks for sharing.

    Simon

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      May 7, 2014 at 7:49 PM

      You’re most welcome, Simon. I hope you like it.

  • Reply
    TT
    June 1, 2014 at 2:51 PM

    Just made this and it is delicious!!!! I hate to admit this but I’ve never cooked anything with spinach before. It’s one of those things I had a fear of but it was easy and sooooooo good! I will definitely be making this again. Thanks for sharing the recipe 🙂

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      June 1, 2014 at 7:05 PM

      I love hearing how people liked my recipes 🙂 Thanks for letting me know and I’m happy you got over your fear of cooking with spinach!

  • Reply
    Tahirah
    October 13, 2014 at 4:12 PM

    Just made this recipe! Beautiful combination of flavors in the mouth 🙂

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      October 14, 2014 at 4:00 PM

      Thanks for saying that, Tahirah! And thanks for taking the time to cook my stuff and coming back to let me know how you liked it!

  • Reply
    sarah
    October 24, 2014 at 11:42 AM

    I need to substitute the tomatoes for something.. any suggestions? 🙂

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      October 29, 2014 at 2:36 PM

      Maybe try some red bell peppers if you really want something in place of it? You can omit it though. But since the tomatoes lend moisture to the pasta bake, I suggest borrowing the moisture from the mushrooms. So don’t let them cook down and keep that mushroom juice!

  • Reply
    Melanie
    November 18, 2014 at 11:59 AM

    Can this recipe be made the day before and baked the next day.

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      November 18, 2014 at 3:07 PM

      Good question, Melanie! I suppose it could although I’m unsure if the liquid from the tomatoes might make the pasta a little soggy if it sits overnight. That’s my only concern! Let me know how it went if you do try it?

  • Reply
    Barb knudson
    January 23, 2015 at 6:04 PM

    If I need to serve 8, which ingredients would you suggest I add more of, other than the chicken?

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      January 23, 2015 at 6:20 PM

      I would say a little more pasta, cream cheese and mozzarella cheese. And of course, more chicken. The mushrooms, spinach and tomatoes should stretch well unless you have a mushroom loving crowd. Good luck!

  • Reply
    Tricia
    March 3, 2015 at 9:58 PM

    Left out mushrooms and onions (didn’t have any), but will add next time. Also left out sugar, and did part mozzarella and part fresh parm. Super tasty. Hubby and kids loved it.

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      March 4, 2015 at 7:32 PM

      Isn’t it great how you can adapt what you have (or don’t have) to a recipe and still have it turn out good? Can’t do that with baking! 😉 Thanks, Tricia!

  • Reply
    Brit
    August 11, 2015 at 2:36 PM

    I don’t usually do this, but I wanted to leave you a comment saying that this recipe was AWESOME! My 13 month old, hubby, and I all loved it. I made a few minor changes. I used a regular block of cream cheese, fresh spinach, onion powder instead of fresh onion, omitted the sugar, added a splash of white wine when simmering the mushrooms, and drained most of the juice from the can of diced tomatoes. Turned out amazing and was super easy and fast. Thanks so much!

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      August 15, 2015 at 5:01 PM

      I really appreciate you coming back to let me know, Brit! Wonderful substitutions and that’s the beauty of cooking, you can tweak things a little and still get away with it. Thanks again for trying something new by leaving a comment. It makes a difference! 🙂

    • Reply
      shelley
      November 28, 2015 at 10:49 AM

      If I use fresh spinach, do I put it in raw at the same spot in the recipe?

      • Reply
        The Cooking Jar
        November 30, 2015 at 2:53 PM

        Heya Shelley! Yup, I think it’ll work. The spinach will cook in the oven just fine while you’re melting the cheese. Happy cooking!

  • Reply
    Dawn
    January 9, 2016 at 10:35 PM

    We loved it, even my picky 12 year old went back for seconds. I made a couple of small changes, I used fresh spinach and cooked it with the mushrooms and added tomatoes with green chilies and artichoke . Thank you for a do again recipe. 🙂

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      January 11, 2016 at 1:26 PM

      Artichoke will go really well with the spinach, that’s a great idea! I’m glad your family enjoyed this. The chilies weren’t too spicy for your 12 year old?

  • Reply
    Nicole
    January 18, 2016 at 3:12 PM

    I usually just look at recipes online and never attempt to try them. But your picture caught my attention. My first time trying an online recipe and it was DELICIOUS!!! I will definitely look for more of your recipes. Thank you for sharing

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      January 25, 2016 at 10:57 PM

      Thanks for making me the FIRST recipe online you tried!!! I love it! I do hope the other recipes live up to this one. Happy cooking, Nicole 🙂

  • Reply
    Heather
    March 24, 2016 at 2:39 PM

    I just made this casserole today . Followed and Used the recipe Exactly except What kind of Pasta I used, and I accidently dumped a ton of Italian seasoning on the chicken, but This Casserole WAS AMAZING. I had about 3 helpings. THANK YOU THANK YOU for this wonderful Recipe

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      March 29, 2016 at 4:58 PM

      I think you can get away with a little more Italian seasoning on the chicken. As long as there’s no salt in seasoning, there’s always a little wiggle room. I’m glad you enjoyed it and you are very welcome!

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