This Chicken Pasta Casserole is the perfect simple and freezable weeknight dinner. It’s delicious, loaded with nutritious veggies, and finished off with a crunchy and cheesy breadcrumb topping.
I’m a big casserole advocate. They’re so comforting and not to mention easy to put together. A casserole like this is also great for customization! This recipe is a great way to use up some ingredients hanging out in your fridge or pantry. Feel free to get creative and mix in any of your favorite ingredients.
This is a type of meal that also freezes really well! Make a few batches, freeze, and throw the casserole in the oven for an effortless dinner when you’re pressed for time. Dinner can’t get any easier than this!
This recipe is made with staples from your pantry and fridge. I’m sure you have almost everything you need waiting at home!
- Olive oil – You can use any other type of mild-flavored oil that you have handy.
- Elbow macaroni – You can use other small shapes such as penne, rotini, farfalle, etc.
- White onion – You can use red or yellow onion as well.
- Bell pepper – I used red, but you can use any type of bell pepper you want.
- Zucchini – Eggplant or yellow squash can be used if you can’t find zucchini.
- Chicken breasts – Thighs or ground chicken will work as well.
- Half & half – This is half milk, half cream. It’s usually around 10%. Coffee cream, regular milk, or heavy cream can be used in its place.
- Marinara sauce – Use your favorite type! You can also use homemade sauce.
- Cheese – This recipe calls for Parmesan and mozzarella.
- Breadcrumbs – I used panko for some extra crunch but any type of breadcrumb you have will work.
- Salt and pepper – Season to taste.
- Parsley – I love to use some chopped fresh parsley to garnish.
How to Make Chicken Pasta Casserole
- Cook the pasta: Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
- Cook the chicken & veggies – Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and add the chicken. Once it has cooked, add the onion, bell pepper, and cook until softened. Season with salt and pepper then add the zucchini.
- Finish the casserole – Add the half & half, marinara, cooked macaroni, 1/2 cup parmesan, and cook for 5 minutes. Pour half the macaroni mixture into a casserole dish, top with 1/2 the mozzarella, remaining macaroni mixture, then top with the remaining parmesan and breadcrumbs. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Garnish with parsley and serve.
What Else Can I Mix Into My Casserole?
This casserole is really easy to mix up and customize depending on what you need to use up in your fridge. Give some of these a try!
- Ground beef or turkey
- Chopped carrots
- Cabbage or kale
- Black beans
How to Store Leftovers
Let the casserole cool down to room temperature. You can either wrap the pan up with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, or you can transfer everything to an airtight container. This casserole will last 3-5 days in the fridge.
Heat up either in the oven or in the microwave until heated through.
It’s best to freeze this casserole before baking, but, of course, you can freeze cooked leftovers. Layer everything in the baking dish and wrap it well with both plastic wrap and aluminum foil before storing it in the freezer to avoid freezer burn. This casserole will last 2 months frozen.
Reheat in the oven at 400F covered for 40 minutes, then uncovered for 20 minutes or until heated through.
Did You Love This Recipe? Try These!
- Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole
- No Peek Chicken Rice Casserole
- Easy Tuna Noodle Casserole
- Chicken Gloria
- Baked Penne with Italian Sausage
- One Pot Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole
- Carbonara Mac’n Cheese Souffle
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Chicken Pasta Casserole
- 1 pound elbow macaroni uncooked
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound chicken breasts skinless and boneless and cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 red bell pepper chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 small zucchini chopped
- 1 cup half and half
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese grated
- 1 cup Mozzarella cheese shredded
- 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- fresh parsley chopped, for garnish
- Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
- 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 the chopped onion and bell pepper and cook for another 3 minutes or until onion is tender. Season with salt and pepper. Add the zucchini and stir.
- Add in the half and half, marinara sauce, cooked pasta and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese. Stir and cook for 5 minutes.
- Pour half the macaroni mixture in a 9×13 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 bit of a crunch.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Garnish with chopped parsley.
- Storing Leftovers: Let the casserole cool down to room temperature. You can either wrap the pan up with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, or you can transfer everything to an airtight container. This casserole will last 3-5 days in the fridge. Heat up either in the oven or in the microwave until heated through.
- Freezing: It’s best to freeze this casserole before baking, but, of course, you can freeze cooked leftovers. Layer everything in the baking dish and wrap it well with both plastic wrap and aluminum foil before storing it in the freezer to avoid freezer burn. This casserole will last 2 months frozen. Reheat in the oven at 400F covered for 40 minutes, then uncovered for 20 minutes or until heated through.