This is another great back to school casserole. This is a Semi Homemade dish that you can cut down on the prep time by using jarred sauce and frozen chicken nuggets. Now, you can definitely use your own sauce and cooked chicken breast but I liked the easy open and pour method too. The addition of the homemade “cheese sauce” makes the dish seem a bit more special than regular pasta and sauce.
I would make the base the night before baking it or the morning I wanted it for dinner and have it refrigerated until I want to bake it. The great thing is that my kids are now old enough to bake the dishes I leave in the refrigerator if I am at a meeting when the dish needs to go in the oven!
At first my children were skeptical about this but in the end they really liked it. They suggested that next time we cook the chicken strips (they wanted me to use the crispy ones not the batter ones I used) first and add them with the cheese in the last 10 minutes to the top of the dish so they don’t get soggy.
Serve this with a nice green side salad and a vegetable for a complete meal!
Chicken Macaroni and Cheese Parmesan
A pasta dish with lots of flavor.
- 1 pound pasta (elbows, penne, etc… work well)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 1/2 cups half and half
- 2 oz cream cheese, softened
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced finely
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 jar (24 Oz. Size) Spaghetti Sauce
- 13-½ ounces, weight Frozen, Precooked Chicken Nuggets
- 8 oz mozzarella, shredded
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Boil pasta according to package instructions but subtract a couple minutes from the cooking time. You want the pasta slightly under- cooked.
- Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle the flour over the butter and stir continuously until a thick paste is formed. Add milk and continue stirring until it thickens.
- Add cream cheese, garlic, and nutmeg. Continue stirring until cream cheese is melted. Turn off the heat.
- Put 1 cup of spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan and spread evenly. Spread 1/2 of the pasta on top of the sauce. Pour all of the milk/cream cheese mixture over the noodles. Then the rest of the noodles over the cheese sauce. Top with the remaining spaghetti sauce.
- Place chicken nuggets on top of the casserole in an even layer and sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top (or bake them separately on a baking sheet for 20 minutes. Adding the to the top of the casserole which has been baking for the last 10 minutes with the cheese on top.) . Bake for 30 minutes.