Sara and I may or may not have shared the story about how this blog came to be, but if we have, it was a long time ago and I’m sure there are some of you who haven’t heard the story.
My husband and I got married as broker-than-broke college students, so the summer after we got married, we went to Seattle, his hometown, so he could paint houses and we could save up some cash. The whole time we were there, I kept hearing about this magical Sara who went to church with my husband’s family, only she was living in Brazil at the time.
Well, fast-forward a few years when my husband’s little brother was dating Magical Sara, only she was doing an internship in California. I still hadn’t met her, but after a long weekend with my brother-in-law, I felt like I did because he literally did not stop talking about her the whole time.
Well, Sara and my brother-in-law broke up and married other people and I didn’t really hear about Magical Sara for awhile. A few years later, when my oldest was a few months old, I started posting occasionally on a mommy message board. There was a girl there who had pretty much the exact same taste in recipes that I did; we even had nearly identical recipes that we had each made up. Well, one day we started chatting a little and I realized she was Magical Sara (and she realized who I was; there was no one-way stalking here, although I will say that my internet stalking skills are exceptional). Over the course of a few years, we became good friends and recipe buddies and bam, a blog was born. I’m just glad it ended up being her and not some creeper with a taste for lime and garlic.
Anyway, the reason why I’m telling you all this story is because there are so many times when we each work on a recipe, post it on the calendar that we share, and realize that we have something nearly identical due to post within a week. Our brain-sharing is a gift. And a curse.
Take, for instance, Sara’s Baked Chicken Penne that she posted a few months ago. That recipe and this one were scheduled to post within literally one week of each other. They’re different enough to stand alone as their own recipes, but still, I didn’t think y’all needed 2 baked chicken Alfredo dishes in a 7-day period, you know?
One really great thing about this dish is that you can use up a whole bunch of leftovers all at once. Leftover grilled chicken?
Made too much bacon (hey, it could happen!)? Have some cheese leftover from pizza night? Bought one of those double-packs of green onions at Walmart and the rest are about to go bad? You’re taken care of!
But if you don’t have all that stuff, just marinate some chicken breasts in a little Italian dressing for a few hours before grilling it, heat up your oven for some bacon, and you’re good to go.
My other favorite thing about this is that it can be made ahead of time and either refrigerated or frozen until you’re ready to serve it. If you don’t plan on eating it immediately, cover tightly with plastic wrap and aluminum foil. If you cook it from the refrigerator, preheat oven to 400 and bake for 45 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly and the pasta is heated through. If you’re cooking it from the freezer, bake at 400 for about 90 minutes.
8 oz. penne or bowtie pasta
1 recipe Guiltless Alfredo Sauce (1 16-oz. jar would work in a pinch)
2 chicken breasts, grilled and chopped (about 2 c. chopped chicken)
6 oz. (1/2 package) cooked bacon, chopped
1 14-oz. jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/2 c. chopped green onions (about 1 decent-sized bunch)
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
Salt and pepper, to taste
So yummy! I can't wait to try that. Hope calories don't count if you close your eyes!
thanks for the fantastic, healthy recipe! if i have it in the fridge first for a few hours, should i cook it for the 40 minutes covered with foil or uncovered? thanks!!
Mmmm try this with sun dried tomatoes and mushrooms 🙂
My whole family loves this recipe! Great job!
How many people will this recipe feed? I want to make this for a crowd (65 people) on Monday. Just wondering how many times I should x's the recipe to make enough? Thanks!
Delish! Made it with intentions of putting it in the freezer for a rainy day… and it didn't make it past dinner time. My husband and daughter gobbled it up. good work!
Misty, you must have missed this part of the post- here you go 🙂
"My other favorite thing about this is that it can be made ahead of time and either refrigerated or frozen until you're ready to serve it. If you don't plan on eating it immediately, cover tightly with plastic wrap and aluminum foil. If you cook it from the refrigerator, preheat oven to 400 and bake for 45 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly and the pasta is heated through. If you're cooking it from the freezer, bake at 400 for about 90 minutes."
Made this GF (gluten-free) and it was a hit with everyone, not just my GF husband. I used potato flour in the sauce and GF noodles. Best recipe I've tried lately!
my family and i really liked this a lot. very easy to make, and lots of leftovers – very filling. i added creole instead of the salt and pepper to taste and it brought out all the right flavors.
E- that just means season with salt and pepper to taste. Just add a little and taste and if it needs more, add more! How much you add depends on your personal preference.
Sara, this recipe looks great and right up my alley because I can make it ahead of time for a dinner I want to have since I am a beginner cook 🙂 How should I season when you say: Season to taste. I don't want to over do it or have it bland, what should I use and which amount?? Thanks!
Wow! This could be one of my favorites from your website (and I have made a lot of them)!!! We really enjoyed it! I did use marinated artichoke hearts like you suggested. Thanks for all the great recipes!
Sarah–I kind of prefer the marinated ones because I think the tanginess kind of offsets any potential heaviness from the sauce and cheese, but it's TOTALLY a personal preference. Not a whole lot of help, am I? 🙂
I prefer plain artichoke hearts, can I use those or do i need the flavor from the marinade?
I made this Monday since I had chicken in the freezer, green onions in the fridge that I didn't really know what to do with and leftover bacon from Sunday morning breakfast. It was the perfect recipe to use up all those things in one shot AND it was a HUGE hit! This will definitely go into regular rotation at my house! Thanks for sharing this awesome recipe!
i made this pasta this weekend for my family and it was amazing! a huge hit! and even better the second day! yummy leftovers! i love so many recipes on this blog and all of them always turn out fabulous! hugs!
This recipe sounds wonderful!
But I do have to say that in all of my 45 years, 38 of them spent cooking, I have never ONCE had any leftover bacon!
I made this on Friday and it was an instant hit!! Thanks for the great recipe.
This sounds delish and I think my picky son would eat it too.
Love the story, this dish sound yummy and I really don't think it is possible to make too much bacon, but it was a cute joke . .
My kids will definitely like this! They love chicken a lot!
dining room table
This looks so good. Who needs Macoroni Grill. Can't wait to make! Especially awesome that it is a "light" version. P.S. Sara, you were always a bit magical in the "hood" 🙂
I found your blog 3 days ago and have been completely hooked since! Pudding pop, mini pies, easy pesto, I think I'm in love.
I don't know why I've never thought of Alfredo and Bacon before… sounds delicious!
Have you tried freezing this one?
What a great story. It's a small world, isn't it?! This pasta dish looks fantastic. You had me at Bacon Alfredo. 😉
Haha, I'm liking the "Magical Sara" nickname. I think I might have people start calling me that, lol.
My family loved this pasta- and with cheese and bacon my kids didn't even notice things like onions and artichokes. It was so so yummy!
Alfredo? Bacon? Random assortment of leftover veggies at the bottom of my drawer? Made ahead of time? This is my kind of meal! Thanks 🙂
This looks so yummy…I love how you don't have to use any condensed soups or jarred sauces (if you choose)!
My son's favorite pasta is one slathered with alfredo sauce. I can't imagine how much he'd like it with bacon too!