At our house, we don't like to use processed, pre-packaged foods. We don't like the chemicals and extra sodium usually found in prefabbed food. But sometimes schedules are such that moms need an extra hand. I was drawn to the Progresso Recipe Starters sauces first for the package design (I am an art director at heart) but also for the opportunity to cut down on time during a weeknight. We bought a few to try, and were surprised at how natural tasting they were. They don't taste (or behave like) overly processed foods and worked well with our creations. They actually helped us get creative with what we had on hand. For this dish, I used the fire roasted tomato starter.
4 Cheese and Chicken Rotini Bake
using Progresso "Fire Roasted Tomato" Recipe Starters Cooking Sauce
1 can Progresso "Fire Roasted Tomato" Recipe Starters Cooking Sauce
1 Tbsp. pesto sauce
1 large shallot, equal to 1/4 cup, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 chicken breast, cut into small chunks
3/4 cup cottage cheese, drained slightly
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Ground pepper to taste
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 cup torn up mini Bocongini cheese
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
13 oz. whole wheat rotini, cooked according to package directions, drained and set aside
Dried parsley and extra grated Parmesan for garnish
Preheat oven to 375˚.
In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Cook the shallot and garlic until softened. Add the chicken and cook until golden on all sides and no longer pink at the center.
Meanwhile, mix the cottage cheese with the egg, ground pepper and Parmesan cheese. Set aside.
Back to your chicken, add the Progresso sauce and cook for 7 minutes. Then add the pesto sauce and cook for another three minutes, stirring gently. Add the cooked pasta and mix in the sauce. Take off the heat.
Spray a large 12 " oblong casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. Pour the rotini-chicken mixture into the dish. Spoon the cottage cheese mixture on top of the pasta. With the back of the spoon, push and nestle the cheese into the rotini in places. Next, sprinkle the torn up bocongini on top of the cottage cheese. Next, sprinkle the mozzarella evenly on top. Then sprinkle dried parsley on top, as well as extra grated Parmesan if you have some.
Bake pasta at 375˚ for 30-40 minutes, uncovered, until hot and bubbly with cheese well melted.
Let cool for a few minutes before dishing out the delicious.