Baked Chicken Penne {Freezer Meal!}

We get a lot of emails requesting ideas for freezer meals.  This is another great one to make for a Valentines Day dinner.  I make a pasta dish quite often that is almost identical to this, only I use my Guiltless Alfredo sauce.  It’s actually become a Valentines Day tradition for my husband and I.  This version is a bit naughtier, and richer and completely delicious.  And the bonus is that it makes enough for 2 pans, one to eat and one to freeze.  It takes more time to make than my quick guiltless version so I like that when I put in the time to make it I get two meals out of it!  It’s a creamy cheesy sauce with penne pasta, sundried tomatoes, and mushrooms.  I don’t even like mushrooms and they’re fantastic here.

To begin, boil penne pasta in some salted water.  You’ll want to cook it just a couple minutes short of al dente.  Check the back of the box and it will tell you how long to cook until the al dente stage and just knock a couple of minutes off of that.

While the pasta is boiling heat up a skillet with a little oil in it.  Season your chicken with salt and pepper and then pop it in the skillet to sizzle up.  It will be done in about the same amount of time as the pasta.  After it cools for a minute, slice it up.

Since your skillet is already hot and oiled, toss the mushrooms in there to saute for a few minutes

Now you’ll start making the sauce.  It begins with a roux.  That may sound like a scary word, but it’s not, I promise.  In a large pot you’ll melt some butter and then add some flour (to thicken) and some minced garlic (because everything is better with garlic)

As you whisk that together to cook you’ll add in milk and bring it to a simmer to form the sauce.  Then you’ll throw in the mushrooms as some sundried tomatoes.

I seriously LOVE sundried tomatoes.  Just had to get that out.  Then off the heat you add in a mixture of parmesan and provolone cheeses, some salt and pepper, and  your chicken.    It’s that easy!

Pop it into 2 dishes.  One to eat and one to freeze, or two to freeze, or two to eat.  You’re the boss, you pick.

If your going to eat one now, then sprinkle more cheese on top.  If you’re going to freeze it, then put it in a baggie.

To eat immediately, just bake it for about 25 minutes so all of the flavors melt together and the cheese gets all bubbly



We hope you all have a wonderful Valentine”s day!  Make sure to tell all of your loved ones that you love them! (Oh, and eat lots of chocolate 🙂

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Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. I made this last night and it was RIDONKULOUSLY delicious! Oh my, will make this one again and again

  2. this was such a hit w/adults and kids alike. this will definitely become part of our regular meals…I compare it to a baked ziti, except w/a white sauce (instead of red) and chicken (instead of sausage). yum! thanks! any tips of finding cheaper sun-dried tomatoes? I could only find them for $5/6 oz…so I left those out.
    oh, and I made the paninis today too…such a hit w/everyone!
    ([email protected])

  3. This sounds amazing minus the mushrooms which I am allergic too. I'm adding to the the new recipes to try list.

  4. no need to apologize! Always a good reminder to avoid exploding chicken!

  5. Sara @ Our Best Bites said…

    knitwych- If you read the instructions, it tells you to use a disposable foil pan for the dish going in the freezer. Don't worry, they don't explode 🙂

    Ah – I missed that line when I was reading the recipe. Must've been when the cat was doing her "I want mah dinner" march back and forth across my computer. Sorry.

  6. So good. I tried it last night because I needed something new for dinner. So, so delicious. Husband ate nearly all of it! Thanks for the recipe!

  7. knitwych- If you read the instructions, it tells you to use a disposable foil pan for the dish going in the freezer. Don't worry, they don't explode 🙂

  8. This sounds like a great recipe, and I can't wait to try it. However, I question placing a casserole dish from the freezer into a pre-heated oven. This is precisely how the dish known as "Exploding Chicken" was created at my best friend's house. I've had casserole dishes and Pyrex shatter on me in the oven, and it's not fun to clean up the mess. I would place the frozen dish in a cold oven and then turn on the heat, letting the temperature rise gradually, rather than shove a frozen dish into a hot oven.

  9. This is fabulous! My entire family devoured it, including my almost 2-year old son who currently eats only applesauce, yogurt, oatmeal, and bananas. I can't wait to cook the one sitting in my freezer. 🙂

  10. I made this for dinner last night and it was a hit! My husband can't wait to eat the leftovers!

  11. I love freezer meals. For some reason, I always seem to freeze soups, but very few other dishes. Thanks for the reminder that other stuff can be frozen, too. Love this recipe!

  12. How funny I just made a very similar dish for dinner tonight – the only difference is that I used tomatoe and basil sauce and mixed goat cheese and mozarella cheese with turned out incredible!

  13. just had this for dinner and it was SO yummy! everyone loved it. i'm making it this week for a lady from church who needs some meals. thanks again for another good one!

  14. This looks similar to my favorite pasta at Macaroni Grill! Great idea to make two and freeze one!

  15. OMG! That sounds so-o good. I'm going to have to try it! I didn't know about the magnifying glass. Thanks for sharing that!

  16. Thanks for the response Sara. I just realized that you already wrote about the cheese and I probably should have read the rest of the recipe! 🙂

  17. Margot- check out this link about sundried tomatoes:

    CrazyJay- yes, you could totally substitute roasted red peppers, that would be yummy!

    JKbandy- you're right, provolone can be hard to find. I normally don't encourage the use of pre-shredded bagged cheeses, but in this recipe I've used a *good* quality one, like Sargento, and it's turned out great. Actually in this batch I used Sargento's Provolone/Mozzarella mix. It's often mixed with other white cheeses and that's totally fine. The other option is to go to the deli department where you can buy sliced cheese. Just ask for a big chunk and you can grate it yourself.

  18. This looks DEE lish! Can't wait to make it. Thanks for sharing! I do have one question… Would I be able to substitute sliced provolone for the shredded? I can't seem to find shredded or even a block that I could shred myself.

  19. oh this looks soooo yummy!! i can't wait to try it!! 🙂

    also thank you for pointing out the search engine! it's so obvious everyone missed it! lol

  20. I didn't know what that magnifying glass was for! I'm so glad you have that—but I have become very familiar with the index. love it all!

  21. The first thing that caught my attention was the word FREEZER. Then I noticed the MUSHROOMS, and finally SUN DRIED TOMATOES – I am definitely going to give this one a try!

    Thanks so much for sharing the recipe.


  22. Oh, and thanks for pointing out the magical magnifying glass! Now, that you mention it, that icon makes total sense for a search engine, one that I have wished you had many times! Now I know it was always there!

  23. We are having this for dinner! One question though… could you substitute roasted red peppers for the sundried tomatoes? My husband is not a fan of tomatoes and I was wondering if you thought that might be a suitable sub? Otherwise, he may just have to deal with it 🙂

  24. This looks and sounds wonderful! I have only purchased sun-dried tomatoes once in my life but love them in meals I've had elsewhere. I noticed at the store that they come packed in a couple different ways. Is there any type that is better to purchase than another? Is there any form that is easier to work with?

  25. Looks divine! And thanks for the tip on finding your freezer meals all in one spot. I made a froze chili-lime steak and it was delish!