Sunday, April 12, 2015

Easter Leftovers, Part 2



Here is another recipe I found to help me use up my leftover Easter ham. I have since made it twice (first, as originally written, and second, slightly lightened up). Be sure to read my notes to see what I changed to create a lighter version.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta Recipe


3 cups uncooked penne pasta
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened and cubed
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese, divided
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 cups sliced cooked chicken breast
3/4 cup crumbled cooked bacon
3/4 cup cubed fully cooked ham
3 tablespoons dry bread crumbs


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook pasta according to package directions for al dente; drain.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat cream and cream cheese over medium heat until smooth, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1 cup Swiss cheese, onion powder, garlic salt, and pepper until blended.

In a large bowl, combine chicken, bacon, ham, and pasta. Add sauce; toss to coat. Transfer to a greased 13x9-in. baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese; top with bread crumbs. Bake, uncovered, 18-22 minutes or until heated through.

Yield: 6 servings.

Nutrition information: 1 1/2 cups equals 826 calories, 56 g fat, 249 mg cholesterol, 1,093 mg sodium, 33 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 47 g protein.

Source: Taste of Home. You can find it here.

Notes: This was really good. Baking it takes away a bit of the creaminess, however. It is fantastic baked, but if you want a really creamy pasta, I would suggest skipping the baking process and just serving it after tossing the chicken, bacon, ham, pasta, and sauce together. I've tasted it both ways and can tell you that it is great baked and unbaked.

My lightened version: To lighten this recipe, I substituted two 12 oz cans of evaporated milk for the cream. I also substituted Neufschatel cheese for the cream cheese. Honestly, it tasted almost exactly the same.

The only other change I made was that I added a lot more pepper. I would suggest adding the onion powder, garlic salt, and pepper to your taste.

This is also freezer friendly. Once you toss the chicken, bacon, ham, pasta, and sauce together, then top with cheese and bread crumbs and put in an aluminum baking pan, cover with foil, and place in the freezer. When you are ready to eat it, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and bake as directed. If you would like to bake it from frozen, keep it covered and bake until thawed. Remove foil and continue baking until hot and bubbling and cheese on top is melted.

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