Chicken and Kale Casserole with Whole Wheat Pasta
This chicken and kale casserole is perfect for an easy weeknight meal or bring it to a family who needs a bit of help with meals.
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 loves this dish (and he’s not a huge cheese fan–aka crazy), and my daughter enjoys it too.
Well, she doesn’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.
If you’re not crazy for kale, try spinach instead.
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, chicken and kale casserole is great. If you’re looking for something else, try these:
- Pepperoni Pizza Lasagna Rolls
- Healthy Stuffed Pepper Casserole
- 20 Minute Italian Turkey Bean Soup
- Slow Cooker Marsala Beef Stew
- Stuffed Shells Recipe
- Chicken Tortellini Soup with Kale and Pesto
Used in this recipe:
- one 13.25 ounce box 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
- salt and pepper
- 3-4 cups of cooked, chopped or shredded chicken (I used a 1 ½ pound package of boneless skinless breasts, cooked)
- 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
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and return to pot, or dump into a very large bowl.
- 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. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Transfer to pot or bowl with pasta.
- Add chicken, cheeses, lemon zest, and parsley. Stir until ricotta and all other ingredients are evenly distributed.
- Spread into a 9×13 pan, and bake for 30 minutes or until heated through and golden brown.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1 of 10
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 572Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 167mgSodium: 442mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 3gSugar: 2gProtein: 59g
RachelCooks.com sometimes provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as they are not calculated by a registered dietitian. Please consult a medical professional for any specific nutrition, diet, or allergy advice.
Verdict: This chicken and kale casserole is great! Filling, flavorful and delicious. The lemon zest gives it the perfect touch of brightness.
Husband’s take: Loves it!
Changes I would make: None.
Difficulty: Pretty easy!