Rachel Cooks

Chicken and Kale Casserole with Whole Wheat Pasta

This Chicken and Kale Casserole is perfect if you want an easy weeknight meal or want to bring it to a family would needs a bit of help with meals.

Chicken-Kale-Casserole-text

You all know that I believe in the mantra “everything in moderation,” and I believe in balance.

In other words, you gotta have a little CHEESE with your kale. Can I get an “Amen?”

This chicken and kale casserole fulfills that requirement. Plenty of cheese, plenty of pasta, but plenty of kale and lean protein too. My husband loved this dish (and he’s not a huge cheese fan–aka crazy), and my daughter ate it too.

Well, she didn’t actually eat the kale–just the pasta and chicken. But she’s a two-year-old who dips jicama sticks in hummus so I’m not worried. We’ll get there.

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When I make a recipe, I try to type it up immediately into a Google doc so I don’t forget any important steps. At the bottom of this recipe, I added this note: “You may prepare ahead of time and store in fridge until ready to bake. This would be a great meal to prepare for another family (illness, baby, etc.), because everything is cooked, and all they need to do is warm it through.”

The crazy thing is, I didn’t remember that until I was finishing up this guest post for Meagan of A Zesty Bite and inserting the recipe. I didn’t realize how perfect it was. Now I just need someone to actually make this and drop it off at Meagan’s house for me. Meagan’s mom has had a brain tumor for a number of years and they just found out that the tumor doubled in size and turned from a benign tumor to a grade 4 glioblastoma. While Meagan is spending this precious time with her family, I wanted to help in the only way I knew how–by providing some content for her blog.

If you’re close enough to bring an actual casserole, this one is great. If you’re looking for something else, try these:

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Used in this recipe:

Chicken and Kale Casserole with Whole Wheat Pasta

Yield: 10 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

This Chicken and Kale Casserole is perfect if you want an easy weeknight meal or want to bring it to a family would needs a bit of help with meals due to life's curveballs.

Ingredients:

  • salt and pepper
  • one 13.25 ounce box of whole grain pasta shells
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced small
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1.5-2 bunches of kale, tough stems and ribs removed, torn or chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 3-4 cups of cooked, chopped or shredded chicken (I used a 1 ½ pound package of boneless skinless breasts)
  • 30 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • ½ cup loosely packed parsley, finely chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and return to pot, or dump into a very large bowl.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until onion is softened, stirring frequently (2-3 minutes). Add kale, cover and cook for about five minutes or until kale is tender.
  4. Transfer to pot or bowl with pasta.
  5. Add chicken, cheeses, lemon zest, and parsley. Stir until ricotta and all other ingredients are evenly distributed.
  6. Spread into a 9x13 pan, and bake for 30 minutes or until heated through and golden brown.

Verdict: This was great! Filling, flavorful and delicious. The lemon zest gave it the perfect touch of brightness that it needed.
Husband’s take: Loved it!
Changes I would make: None.
Difficulty: Pretty easy!

chicken and kale casserole nutrition label

Actual nutrition may vary depending on how recipe is prepared.

This Chicken and Kale Casserole is perfect if you want an easy weeknight meal or want to bring it to a family would needs a bit of help with meals. Get the recipe on RachelCooks.com!
   
When you make a recipe from my site tag it with #RachelCooks!
I love to see what you're creating!

19 Responses to “Chicken and Kale Casserole with Whole Wheat Pasta”

  1. Colleen @ What's Baking in the Barbershop?! — March 28, 2013 at 8:41 am

    Cheese is definitely a must! This combination sounds great. Love love love easy weeknight meals like this!

  2. Tieghan — March 28, 2013 at 9:08 am

    This combo is great! I love kale and those cheesy noodles are calling my name!! Excites to go check the recipe out!

  3. Cassie | Bake Your Day — March 28, 2013 at 9:25 am

    This sounds so good, Rach! I love kale and I love how creamy this looks.

  4. Nutmeg Nanny — March 28, 2013 at 9:59 am

    This pasta dish looks great! I’m so sorry to hear about Meagan’s mom. I’m off to show some love!

  5. Samantha @FerraroKitchen — March 28, 2013 at 11:22 am

    First of all…Amen! haha Even though I’m doing this weight watcher thing, I am NOT giving up REAL eggs with yolk (yes people freak out about it) and cheese! haha so I totally agree!! 🙂

  6. Alaina @ Fabtastic Eats — March 28, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    This sounds so great Rachel!! I love it!

  7. Bree {Skinny Mommy} — March 28, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    Absolutely my kind of dish-lots of veggies, lots of cheese, and lots of carbs. YUM!

  8. claire @ the realistic nutritionist — March 29, 2013 at 9:53 am

    Love me some casserole comfort food!

  9. Ashley Bee (Quarter Life Crisis Cuisine) — March 29, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    Oh that is so very sad 🙁 I just started following her blog and love it… that must be so hard. I remember the abundance of casseroles that showed up at my house when my Dad died and while it was kind of funny seeing them all stacked up like that, it really did help my family not have to worry about cooking food all week. And this would be an amazing thing to bring as well.

  10. carrian — March 29, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    She’s totally a great eater even though she skipped the kale. That’s awesome!

  11. Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking — March 29, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    Such a great weeknight meal idea! This looks so scrumptious, Rachel!

  12. addie | culicurious — March 31, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    Looks great. Anytime I can get kale and cheese in the same dish, I consider it a victory! 🙂

  13. Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust — March 31, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    I’ve never eaten kale, but I just bought some for green smoothies. I want to make this pasta!

  14. Pam — March 1, 2015 at 10:44 pm

    do you people ever think of the people who cannot have cheese?!
    AKA Dairy! Having dairy for some people is like having a Bad
    stomach bug! or worse. Can you give a recipe with and an alternative to
    dairy with it?

    • Rachel Gurk — March 4th, 2015 @ 3:17 pm

      I’m sorry to hear you’re not able to have cheese! However, my family, along with many others, are able to enjoy cheese. Since we do eat the food I cook, I include some recipes with cheese. I also have lots of recipes without cheese too. If you search the categories or recipe index on my site, you’ll find lots of dairy-free recipes. Here’s another recipe with kale — we love this one: http://www.rachelcooks.com/2015/02/06/pancetta-and-white-bean-soup-with-kale/

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