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Italian chicken zucchini casserole sounds a lot more complicated than it actually is. As a matter of fact, it is super easy to make for any size crowd. Whether you’re cooking dinner for your family or bringing it to a potluck, it’s sure to quickly disappear.
Since the Costco rotisserie chickens are so large, I can get several meals out of one of them for my husband and me. That’s why I’m always on the lookout for a new dish to prepare. I just happened to have some leftover zucchini, some shredded cheese, and half a box of penne pasta on hand. All I needed was some Italian sauce. At first, I thought I’d have to go to the store and buy some. But I discovered a jar of it in the back of my pantry.
When I purchase a rotisserie chicken, I often plan several meals in advance. Another of our favorites is this chicken casserole with rice. We also enjoy making chicken salad sandwiches. The list of what you can do with these chickens is unlimited. In fact, almost anything you can cook with ground beef can be cooked with chicken instead.
Healthy One-Dish Meal with Chicken
I love cooking one-dish meals that provide something from every food group. Not only are they easier to cook, but also they’re easier to clean up afterward.
This meal has chicken for the protein, zucchini for the vegetable, cheese for the dairy, and penne for the grain. If you are vegan or dairy free, you can substitute other proteins and substitutes for the chicken and cheese.
Regular or Gluten-Free Italian Chicken Zucchini Casserole
Since I have to follow a gluten-free diet, I use gluten-free pasta. Even though my husband can have the regular pasta, he says he can’t tell the difference. I used to prepare separate dishes, but that became time-consuming. So now I make one version, and he’s fine with it. In fact, he got seconds.
What You Need for Italian Chicken Zucchini Casserole
Based on the name of this dish, you’ve probably figured out that you’ll need chicken, zucchini, and penne. I also used a jar of Italian sauce, Italian seasoning, and cheese. I had some frozen chopped onions and diced peppers, so I added those as well.
If you want, you can substitute another vegetable for the zucchini. Some that are good include eggplant, broccoli, kale, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts.
How to Make This Italian Chicken Zucchini Casserole
Sauté the zucchini until it is fork tender. Don’t cook it too long, or it’ll become too soft, and the texture isn’t as appetizing. This is when I add the Italian seasoning.
Add the onions and peppers. Sauté those until the onions are translucent.
Mix in the chopped chicken. You can also add other meat or meat substitutes if you prefer.
Pour the entire jar of Italian sauce over the mixture and stir it well. At this time, turn down the heat so it can simmer on low while you prepare the penne.
After you cook the penne according to the directions on the package, pour it into a casserole dish. Pour the chicken and zucchini mixture over it. Top it with cheese and bake it until the cheese melts and begins to turn a light golden brown.
Serve it by itself or with a side salad and crusty bread.
Health Benefits of Zucchini
I enjoy adding zucchini to a lot of my one-dish meals because it’s so nutritious. Here are some of the health benefits you’ll find in this delicious vegetable:
- Zucchini contains vitamin C, beta-carotene, manganese, and lutein that all promote good vision.
- It also has quite a bit of potassium, riboflavin, and other essential nutrients for good health.
- It’s loaded with antioxidants that help slow down many of the effects of aging.
- Zucchini is an excellent source of fiber, and it contains quite a bit of water. For this reason, it is excellent to include in a weight management program.
Another thing I like about zucchini is that it is super easy to grow in your backyard. I don’t currently have a vegetable garden, but when I did, I always had zucchini.
Cooking with Penne Pasta
I enjoy using penne pasta because the sauce gets inside the tubes to provide an even stronger explosion of flavor. And if you’ve ever tasted any of the other recipes I’ve posted, such as the cheesy zucchini ham bake or the layered Mexican salad with black beans, you know I love a lot of flavor.
If you’re looking for a fun, simple, and delicious dessert, try the pineapple upside down cake that you can actually make in your rice cooker. Another dessert you might enjoy is the mug cake so everyone in the family can have their flavor.
- 1 cup of chopped cooked chicken
- 2 medium zucchinis cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 jar of red Italian sauce
- 1/2 cup of chopped onion
- 1/2 cup of diced bell pepper
- 3 cups of penne pasta
- 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
- 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray medium casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- Sauté the zucchini until fork tender. Sprinkle the Italian seasoning over the zucchini.
- Add the onions and bell pepper and sauté until the onions are translucent.
- Add the chicken and Italian sauce. Stir well and simmer.
- While the sauce is simmering, boil the penne until it is al dente.
- Drain the penne and pour it into the casserole dish.
- Pour the sauce over the penne until it is covered.
- Sprinkle both of the cheeses over the top.
- Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until the mixture bubbles and the cheese is golden.
Serve with a side salad and Italian bread.
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Amount Per Serving Calories 172 Total Fat 6g Saturated Fat 2g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 3g Cholesterol 23mg Sodium 208mg Carbohydrates 20g Fiber 2g Sugar 3g Protein 11g