Homestyle Chicken Penne Casserole


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Chicken Penne Casserole isn’t just a dish—it’s a warm embrace from the kitchen, a reminder of cozy family gatherings where laughter echoes and memories are made. In the heart of the Midwest, this casserole is a beloved staple, weaving together simple ingredients into a comforting meal that feels like home. Passed down through generations, this recipe holds a cherished spot in family cookbooks, especially when the crisp air of autumn whispers through the windows, urging us to gather around the table for something hearty and heartwarming.

Imagine diving into tender chunks of chicken and al dente penne pasta, all smothered in a creamy sauce and topped with a golden, cheese-laden crust. It’s the kind of meal that pairs perfectly with a crisp green salad, some steamed veggies, and, of course, a slice of homemade apple pie to keep those Midwestern roots honored.

Homestyle Chicken Penne Casserole

Servings: 6 generous portions

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces penne pasta
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, diced
  • 1 can (10.5 ounces) cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

Directions:

Prepare Your Workspace:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish with butter, setting the stage for the deliciousness to come.

Cook the Pasta:

Boil a large pot of salted water and cook the penne until al dente. Remember, the pasta will cook further in the oven, so keep it a bit firm.

Mix the Ingredients:

In the same pot, combine the drained pasta with the cooked chicken, cream of chicken soup, sour cream, milk, garlic powder, onion powder, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper to your liking.

Layer the Casserole:

Pour half of the pasta mixture into your prepared dish, sprinkle with half of the cheese, then add the remaining pasta mix. Top this layer with the rest of the cheese to create a cheesy blanket.

Add the Topping:

Mix the breadcrumbs with melted butter and sprinkle this over the cheese for a crispy finish.

Bake:

Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until the casserole bubbles around the edges and the top turns a lovely golden brown.

Rest and Serve:

Let the casserole sit for a few minutes after baking. This patience pays off, allowing everything to set perfectly.

Variations & Tips:

Add Veggies: Feel free to stir in some mushrooms, peas, or even spinach for an extra touch of color and nutrition.

Spice It Up: A sprinkle of red pepper flakes can add a nice heat if you like a bit of spice.

Use Leftovers: This casserole is ideal for using up leftover rotisserie chicken, making it an even quicker option for busy nights.

Gluten-Free Option: Swap in gluten-free penne pasta to accommodate dietary needs without compromising on taste.

Freezing Instructions: If you want to prep ahead, assemble the casserole, wrap it tightly, and freeze. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and bake as directed for a fuss-free meal.

This Chicken Penne Casserole is more than just food; it’s a tradition, meant to be savored and shared. Whether it’s a weeknight dinner or a special occasion, this dish is sure to bring smiles to the table. Enjoy crafting this casserole as much as you enjoy eating it!

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