Happy Tuesday or Wednesday or whatever day it is wherever you are! It’s the middle of the week and this week has been rough! You know why? I’ll tell you why, 3 words, that’s why.
Daylight Saving Time!
Why oh why do we have to have daylight saving time? I’m OK when we gain an hour but when we lose an hour well my life turns upside down. Not to mention the poor dog. You think I have a hard time getting out of bed on the Monday after daylight saving time? I’m nothing compared to my dog. You have to pull at her, pet her, sing to her, bribe her with food, pour water over her face, and after all this still nothing! She just raises her head, looks at you like what the heck do you want, don’t you know what time it is, then puts her head back down completely ignoring you and starts snoring again. Yep, that’s my girl! But I can’t blame her, I know how she feels, and I don’t have to go pee outside!
On the bright side, it does feel like the days are longer, and when I get home from work I actually get a couple hours of daylight. It kind of feels like we’re getting out of hibernation.
Enough about that, let’s talk food my friends.
Do you or do you not like casseroles? I for one could go both ways here. I like them because they’re easy and you have lots of leftovers, unless you have a huge family, in which case it’s probably all gone in one sitting. One eating? Whatever, you know what I mean. That’s kind of the same reason I’m not crazy about them either, because we don’t have a huge family, just me and the hand model here, oops I forgot the dog, but we are the type of people who don’t do leftovers. I know a lot of you are probably yelling at me right now, but I’m just being honest here. I love fresh food, that’s it. I’ll eat leftovers, but usually only once, then I get tired of eating the same food and it usually goes to waste. Just saying.
And I want to love leftovers, I have great intentions every time I make a huge casserole like this. I say to myself that I will have lunch all week. But who wants to eat the same lunch every day. And to this day I have not yet learned how to cut a recipe in half, you know why? Because I don’t usually cook from a recipe, I cook from my head and what I have in the fridge and the pantry. I start by throwing things in there and before you know it I have a whole lot of food. Every single time the hand model looks at me and says “I told you to cut the recipe in half”.
Anywho, besides the huge amount of portions in this casserole, this is such an easy weeknight dinner. You guys want more easy dinner for a weeknight well here it is. You want your kids to eat more veggies, well here is your answer. You’ve got peppers, onions, zucchini, chicken, all great healthy ingredients that you want to feed to your kids. If you want this even healthier I would use whole wheat elbow pasta instead of the white.
Oh I almost forgot, this casserole is yummy, it’s cheesy, it’s great comfort food, easy weeknight dinner and a lot of leftovers for lunch.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb elbow macaroni cooked according to package instructions
- 1 medium white onion chopped
- 1 red bell pepper chopped
- 1 small zucchini chopped
- 2 chicken breasts skinless and boneless and cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 cup half and half
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese grated
- 1 cup Mozzarella cheese shredded
- 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- salt and pepper to taste
- chopped parsley for garnish
Preheat oven to 400 F degrees.
In a large skillet heat the olive oil and add chicken. Cook chicken for about 5 to 10 minutes until slightly browned, and cooked through. Add chopped onion and bell pepper and cook for another 3 minutes or until onion is tender. Sean with salt and pepper. Add zucchini and stir.
Add half and half, marinara sauce, cooked macaroni and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese. Stir and cook for 5 minutes.
Pour half the macaroni mixture in a 9x13 baking dish. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the Mozzarella cheese. Add the remaining macaroni and sprinkle with remaining Mozzarella cheese, then top with the remaining Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle the Panko breadcrumbs over the cheese to add a crunch to the casserole.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
Garnish with chopped parsley.