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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Baked Pasta Casserole

When one is on the edge of finishing a major project at work, everything else seems to fall to the side.  Drying your hair before you go to work?  Nah, I'll save twenty minutes if I just rock a ponytail.  Plus, my hair dryer is broken.  Go to the gym after getting home from the lab?  At nine o'clock at night, nah, I'd rather have some dinner and go to sleep.  Make and eat dinner?  That too sounds like a lot of work, I'll have cereal.

In the weeks leading up to Tuesdays post, I was insanely busy.  I would spend most of my waking hours in the lab, trying to finish my molecule.  After a week of eating cereal for dinner I decided that had to stop.  First, my pants were starting to fall off from lack of food.  Second, you wake up ravenous in the middle of the night when you only eat cereal!

I actually made this dish one saturday morning while I got ready to go to the lab.  It was quick and easy and made a ton of food.  Plus, it was kinda healthy.  Or at least it was, until I added in all that cheese.  Feel free to cut down on the mozzarella cheese, I was being a little crazy.

Baked Pasta Casserole
Adapted from Everyday Pasta

1 cup elbow macaroni
1/2 lb chicken, cubed
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 glove garlic, minced
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
2 cups shredded mozzarella
1/3 cup flat leaf parsely, chopped
1/3 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 tbsp butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 400 and butter an 8-inch square pan.

Cook macaroni for 5 minutes in boiling, salted water.  Drain and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

In a medium pan, heat a few tbsp olive oil and cook chicken for 3 minutes.  Add onion and garlic and cook until chicken is cooked through and onion is soft.

Add chicken to pasta.  Add tomatoes with juice, mozzarella cheese, parsley, salt and pepper.  Pour into prepared pan.  Top pasta with parmsan cheese and panko bread crumbs.  Top with small pieces of butter.

Bake dish for 30 minutes, until the top is golden brown.
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