Quick & Easy Orecchiette with Brussels Sprouts!

Orecchiette is an easy one pot pasta dish that you can get on the table fast! Bacon, brussel sprouts, and orecchiette pasta are tossed in a quick creamy sauce to create delicious dish.

It’s a quick-and-easy pasta recipe that can easily be served as a meal. For a heartier dish, top with a diced oven baked chicken breast and a side of garlic bread.

What is Orecchiette?

Orecchiette is pasta in the size and shape of tiny saucers and  translates to “small ears”.

The indented shape cups and holds sauces and anything it is cooked with, making it ideal for combining with other ingredients. As you cook orecchiette, the starches also slightly thicken and meld with the sauce it’s in to produce a wonderful creaminess.

Prepping Brussels Sprouts

For this recipe the brussels sprouts are thinly sliced and pan fried in a bit of bacon fat. I use a knife to cut them but you can also use a mandolin.

Some grocery stores sell shaved/sliced brussels for brussel sprout salad or slaw. Those will work great in this recipe.

How to Make Orecchiette and Brussel Sprouts

This dish comes together in no time flat, it really as easy as 1, 2, 3!

  1. Cook pasta and bacon (see recipe below).
  2. Reserve the bacon fat to cook sliced brussel sprouts.
  3. Add broth, wine and cream and briefly simmer.

Crumble bacon on top and serve hot. With all of the fresh brussel sprouts mixed right into the pasta this dish is best served with a slice of garlic bread or cheesy breadstick!

Other Delicious Additions

  • Vegetables: Lots of other vegetables can be used instead of, or in addition to the brussel sprouts. Try shredded broccoli florets (or broccoli slaw), or broccoli rabe. Sundried tomatoes provide it some welcome tartness and texture. Chopped zucchini or yellow squash are other terrific options.
  • Cheese: Bump up the flavors with grated cheese such as parmesan, romano and asiago.
  • Meat: Turn orecchiette with brussels sprouts into a one-pot meal by adding meat. It’s a terrific way to use up and stretch any poultry or meat left over from last night’s dinner. Diced chicken, ham or Italian sausage are excellent choices.

The Best Sides for Orecchiette

Serve orecchiette with brussels sprouts with cheesy pull apart garlic rolls or 30 minute rolls. A zesty tossed cucumber tomato salad or a simple tossed salad with balsamic vinaigrette can also complete the meal.

Delicious and easy orecchiette with brussel sprouts is a filling and flavor packed dish that’s sure to satisfy your family.

More Creamy Pastas

 

Orecchiette with Brussels Sprouts

An easy one pot pasta dish that you can get on the table fast.

  • 8 oz orecchiette pasta
  • 8 oz brussels sprouts
  • 4 slices bacon (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese (grated)
  • parsley for garnish (optional)
  • 1/2 lemon (optional)
  1. Cook pasta al dente according to package directions. Drain while reserving 1 cup of pasta water.
  2. With a sharp knife or mandoline, slice brussels sprouts very thinly.
  3. Cook bacon over medium heat until browned and crisp. Remove from pan and set aside reserving drippings. Add garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook just until fragrant, about 1 minute.

  4. Stir in white wine and chicken stock. Simmer until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.

  5. Stir in lemon zest and heavy cream. Simmer 5 additional minutes. Add brussels sprouts and 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese and cook for 2 minutes. Add pasta and heat through (add pasta water if needed).

  6. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Then sprinkle with bacon, parmesan, and squeeze half a lemon over top (optional). Serve immediately.

Orecchiette with brussels sprouts topped with parmesan cheese and crumbled bacon in a serving dish.
Orecchiette with brussels sprouts topped with parmesan cheese and crumbled bacon in a serving dish.
Top photo - Close up of orecchiette with brussels sprouts in a frying pan. Bottom photo - Close up of orecchiette and sliced brussels sprouts in a frying pan prior to tossing together.

Taco Stuffed Pasta Shells (Freezer Friendly)

Taco stuffed pasta shells are a great twist on classic stuffed shells Jumbo pasta shells are filled with a creamy seasoned beef & vegetable mixture and topped with cheese. 

All you need to add to this delicious taco inspired casserole is a simple tossed salad, or some roasted broccoli!

A serving of taco stuffed shells on a plate garnished with parsley.

What Pasta To Use

Jumbo shells are sold with the pasta and are available in most supermarkets (or online at Amazon).  They often come in a box (to keep them from breaking) next to the lasagna. They are called conchiglie, because they resemble conch shells.

If you can’t find them, try substituting for the smaller shells and creating a casserole (layered like I do with my baked ziti), rather than stuffed shells.

How To Make Taco Stuffed Pasta Shells

To make these stuffed pasta shells:

  1. Cook the pasta shells to al dente (they’ll cook a bit more in the oven).
  2. Brown the ground beef and onions and drain fat.

Two images showing taco stuffed shells filling in a pan then mixed and combined with cream cheese.

  1. Add tomatoes, taco seasoning, water, and veggies (per the recipe below). Cook until all of the water is evaporated.
  2. Fill each pasta shell with a few tablespoons of the beef mixture. Add them to a casserole dish.

Two images showing jumbo pasta shells being filled with the taco mixture and then lined up in a casserole dish.

  1. Top with salsa. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes. Then, add cheese and bake an additional 10 minutes to melt the cheese.

You bet, these are even freezable! You can prepare these up until step 5, and store them in the fridge for up to 24 hours or freeze them (more on that below).

Two images showing taco filled pasta shells on a casserole dish topped with sauce and then with shredded cheese.

To Make This a Freezer Meal

This meal can be made ahead of time and frozen.  Prepare as directed but don’t add the cheese on top and don’t bake it. Ensure the filling is cooled and cover tightly with plastic wrap and then wrap in foil.

To Cook: Remove it from the freezer the night before and refrigerate overnight.  By dinner time the next day it’s ready to top with cheese and bake.

Storing and Reheating The Leftovers

Have leftovers? No worries! They will last about 3 days in the fridge, covered.

These reheat pretty well. To reheat this stuffed taco casserole, microwave for a couple minutes, or reheat in the oven at 350°F for about 10-12 minutes.

More Tasty Taco Takes

We love traditional ground beef tacos and often cook the meat up in batches for meals. Add taco meat to your regular ground beef dishes to spice them up like taco lasagna or taco casserole.

Leftover meat is also great on Taco Salad or in a taco soup recipe!

Taco Stuffed Pasta Shells

Taco Stuffed Pasta Shells. Jumbo pasta shells filled with a creamy seasoned beef & vegetable mixture and topped with cheese.  This is the perfect weeknight meal and fun twist on Taco night!

Filling

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 onion
  • 2 envelopes taco seasoning
  • 1 14.5 oz can of ((low sodium) diced tomatoes with juice)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped veggies ((red, yellow or green peppers, corn, zucchini… whatever you have on hand))
  • 1 package ((8 ounces) cream cheese, cubed)

Other

  • 24 uncooked jumbo pasta shells
  • 2 Cups Salsa
  • 2 Cups grated cheddar and/or monterey jack cheese
  • Sour cream for serving
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Cook pasta shells al dente according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.

  3. Brown ground beef and onion in a large pan until no pink remains.

  4. Add in undrained tomatoes, taco seasoning, 3/4 cup of water and veggies. Cook 5 minutes or until liquid has evaporated. Stir in cream cheese until melted.

  5. Fill each pasta shell with about 2-3 tablespoons of the beef mixture. Place into a casserole dish.

  6. Top with salsa. Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle cheese on top. Bake an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

To Make Ahead: Prepare up to step 5. Refrigerate or freeze overnight.

To Cook Frozen Shells: Defrost in the fridge overnight and proceed with baking as directed.

 

 

Taco Stuffed Pasta Shells served on a white plate.
Taco Stuffed Pasta Shells served on a white plate.
Top Photo - Taco Stuffed Pasta Shells served on a white plate. Bottom photo - Pasta shells in a casserole dish.

Easy One Pot Chicken Fajita Pasta!

Chicken Fajita Pasta is one meal your family won’t want to miss. A creamy fajita sauce is tossed with bell peppers, seasoned chicken, and pasta for a delicious, filling and a quick weeknight meal.

Loaded with all your favorite parts of chicken fajitas, this one pot wonder is also the perfect balance of comfort and fresh seasoned with homemade fajita seasoning.

Close up of Chicken Fajita Pasta in a pan, garnished with parsley.

What’s In Fajita Pasta?

Pasta of course and all of the flavors of our favorite fajita recipe!

  • Seasoning: I use homemade seasoning but you can use store bought or even use taco seasoning in a pinch.
  • Fajita Veggies: We use a combination of bell peppers for color; red, green, yellow and orange can be used interchangeably.
  • Meat: I love chicken fajitas so I’ve used chicken breast in this recipe but it’s great with shrimp or even leftover steak!
  • Pasta Sauce: A little bit of cream (I use half and half), a sprinkle of cilantro and of course, lots of cheese!
  • Pasta: Any medium pasta will do. I’ve used penne but other great choices include rotini or cavatappi (corkscrew pasta).

Overhead view of ingredients in Chicken Fajita Pasta.

To Make Fajita Pasta

Just a few easy steps are all it takes to pull this meal together in minutes.

  1. Cook the pasta al dente and set aside.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, brown the seasoned chicken and then add the sliced veggies (see recipe below).
  3. Stir in the cream and cheese and toss with pasta to serve.

Two images, left image shows chicken fajita mixture with sauce and right image shows creamy chicken fajita mixture with pasta.

What to do with Leftovers

Chicken fajita pasta can be stored in the fridge for a quick lunch or supper. Or frozen for an easy weeknight dinner!

  • To refrigerate, cool then place in an airtight container. It will keep in the fridge for up to four days.
  • To freeze, cool then store in freezer containers, leaving an inch of headspace for expansion. It can be stored in the freezer for up to four months.
  • To reheat, take directly from freezer and place in microwave on a low setting on short cooking cycles, gently stirring between cycles until it is hot through and through.

More Fajita Favorites

Creamy Chicken Fajita Pasta

Chicken tossed in homemade fajita seasoning, cooked with bell peppers, pasta and mixed in a creamy sauce.

  • 1 pound chicken breast ((boneless, skinless) 1/2 inch diced)
  • 2 tablespoons fajita seasoning (homemade or store bought)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper (seeded and thinly sliced)
  • 1 green bell pepper (seeded and thinly sliced)
  • 1 yellow bell pepper (seeded and thinly sliced)
  • 1 medium yellow onion (peeled and thinly sliced)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 cup half and half ((or cream) )
  • 1/2 cup Monterey jack cheese (shredded)
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro (minced)
  • 8 ounces pasta (cooked al dente)
  1. Combine chicken breast and fajita seasoning in a medium bowl.

  2. Heat olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat and cook chicken for 7 minutes or until almost fully cooked.

  3. Add in the peppers and the onion. Cook until the chicken is completely cooked and peppers and onion are slightly softened, about 4 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant.

  4. Pour in the half and half and the shredded cheese, stir to combine until slightly thickened.

  5. Add cilantro and cooked pasta and stir to combine.

  6. If not thick and creamy continue to cook until it reaches desired consistency.

Close up of Chicken Fajita Pasta in a pan, garnished with parsley.
Close up of Chicken Fajita Pasta in a pan, garnished with parsley.
Top image - close up of Chicken Fajita Pasta in a pan, garnished with parsley. Bottom image - creamy chicken fajita mixture with pasta

Try this Easy Chicken Alfredo Bake Tonight!

chicken alfredo bake plated

This Chicken Alfredo Bake is make-ahead friendly and perfect for busy weeknights. Made with pasta, a creamy Alfredo sauce, and chicken breasts, this baked pasta dish is perfect for the freezer too!

Having Lasagna, Spaghetti Casserole, or a dish of Chicken Alfredo Pasta in the freezer to simply pop in the oven when we’re short on time is a lifesaver. The whole family loves it and the leftovers are great for lunches!

chicken alfredo bake in casserole dish

How to Make Chicken Alfredo

We love easy pasta recipes like this Chicken Alfredo Bake for a number of reasons. Although it can seem like a little more prep may be required with pasta bakes, it pays off in the end when you have a hearty meal in the fridge or freezer and almost no dinner time clean up.

  1. Chicken: This recipe calls for cooked, chopped chicken and is great for using up leftovers from a whole chicken or shredded chicken. If you don’t have any leftover, simply make some baked chicken breasts and chop them up.
  2. Pasta: Cook in boiling, salted water until al dente. Don’t overcook the pasta as it will cook further in the oven! Use any short cut of pasta you like, and white or whole grain will both work just as well.
  3. Sauce: This chicken Alfredo recipe includes a homemade sauce. Let me say that Chicken Alfredo sauce from scratch is definitely worth the extra time! However, if you’re short on time and need to cut something out, use a store bought Alfredo sauce and skip this step, with zero guilt!
  4. Combine: Stir it together and refrigerate, freeze, or bake.

Prep is done and you decide when to serve the chicken Alfredo!

chicken alfredo bake close up

Can I Freeze Chicken Alfredo?

You can store it in the fridge for 2-3 days, in the freezer for 3 months, or you can bake and enjoy right away. There are a few secrets to freezing this Chicken Alfredo Bake, but it can be done and it can be done well!

  • Don’t overcook your pasta: As it freezes, thaws, and is baked, the pasta will become softer. If freezing this casserole, undercook pasta by 1 or 2 minutes.
  • Use higher fat dairy: High fat dairy suffers less from separation after freezing. So opt for whole milk in the sauce instead of low fat.
  • Seal well: Cover the chicken Alfredo with plastic wrap and foil as it helps to create a good seal and prevents freezer burn. Or store in an airtight container.
  • To bake: For best results, thaw the chicken Alfredo casserole at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator before baking. It can be baked right from frozen, but the pasta can become even softer as it requires a longer bake time from frozen.

chicken alfredo bake plated

What to Serve With Chicken Alfredo

The best part of this baked chicken Alfredo recipe is that it is perfect on it’s own. But you can never go wrong with a slice of homemade garlic bread and a delicious side of caesar salad! Don’t forget to make an easy strawberry shortcake for dessert!

More Pasta Recipes You’ll Love:

Chicken Alfredo Bake

Made with pasta, homemade Alfredo sauce, and chicken breasts. It's make ahead and freezer friendly, so it's perfect for busy weeknights.

  • 1 pound chicken (cooked & chopped (about 3 breasts))
  • 5 cups short pasta (about 12 ounces (340 grams), cooked al dente)
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese (shredded)
  • 2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese

Alfredo Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon garlic (minced)
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (1-2%)
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  1. In a 9×13″ baking dish or two 8×8″ baking dishes, place chicken and pasta. Set cheese aside for topping.

Make the Alfredo Sauce:

  1. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.
  2. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Stir in the flour until absorbed, and cook 1-2 minutes.

  3. Gradually whisk in the milk and cream until combined and smooth. Stir in the salt, Italian seasoning, pepper and Parmesan cheese.
  4. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking frequently, until thickened and smooth.
  5. Pour over pasta and chicken in baking dish and top with mozzarella and Parmesan.
  6. Follow directions in post above to store for later, or cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes until hot and bubbly, then broil to brown the cheese if desired. Serve.

Chicken Alfredo in a white baking dish.
Chicken Alfredo in a white baking dish.
Top photo - Chicken Alfredo in a white baking dish. Bottom photo - a serving of chicken alfredo on a white plate.

Chili Mac Skillet (One Pan Meal)

Supper never fails to satisfy when you serve this Chili Mac Skillet. This cheesy, meaty meal combines ground beef, macaroni, and cheddar cheese in a thick tomato sauce enriched with beef broth.

Make this your go-to recipe when you need to stretch your food budget and still put a smile on everyone’s face! Serve this hearty meal with a light tomato cucumber salad and a slice of garlic bread to soak up every last drop!

Chli Mac in a skillet topped with a sprinkle of cheddar cheese

What is Chili Mac?

Chili Mac is a fresh take on an American Goulash recipe, with a flavorful Tex-Mex flair, thanks to the addition of chili powder and herbs. Make it on the stovetop in a pot for an easy meal that’s a breeze to prep!

Ingredients for Chili Mac

Not only is the shopping, prepping and cooking for this homemade one pot meal super easy, but cleanup is a breeze too. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  •  Base: ground beef, beef broth, elbow macaroni
  • Toppings: cheddar cheese
  • Veggies: crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, onions, garlic cloves
  • Sugar & Spice: parsley, basil, oregano, chili powder, beef bouillon cube, sugar

Substitutions

If you prefer, substitute ground turkey or chicken for the beef and use chicken broth and bouillon. Penne pasta, rotini or shells will also serve in place of the macaroni. Add canned black beans, bell peppers or corn to stretch this recipe even more.

For maximum flavor and bite, use extra sharp cheddar. Pepper jack or Colby also work well in this recipe. Consider giving chili mac more of a Mexican vibe by getting creative with cumin powder, jalapenos, or chopped cilantro.

Ingredients to make Chili Mac in a large skillet

To Make this One Pan Skillet Meal

Follow these simple steps and you’ll have dinner on the table in a flash:

  1. Brown the ground beef with onion and garlic and drain off any fat.
  2. Add all the ingredients to the same pan (per recipe below) expect the cheese.
  3. Cover and cook until the macaroni is tender, stirring occasionally.

Once cooked, adjust seasoning, top with shredded cheddar, a sprinkle of green onion or cilantro and serve.

An overhead image of chili mac ready to serve

Don’t Forget the Sides!

The beauty of one pot meals like this is that you don’t have to fuss too much with sides. Serve chili mac with tortilla chips or tangy panzanella salad for a welcome crunch.

Baked corn on the cob or tomato avocado salad are also tasty and light sides that will complement the stick-to-your-ribs heartiness of chili mac.

How to Reheat It

This is a terrific meal to make in advance to allow the flavors to deepen and develop. Chili mac will keep in the fridge for up to four days, or in the freezer for up to four months.

To reheat, thaw and then pop into the microwave until steaming hot. Or you can take it straight from the freezer to the oven and bake until bubbling hot throughout.

Macaroni Madness

Chili Mac Skillet

Creamy tex-mex infused pasta skillet!

  • 1/2 small onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 3/4 pound dry macaroni noodles
  • 28 oz crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon each dried parsley, basil and oregano
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 3/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese (shredded)
  1. Finely dice the onion (or grate with a cheese grater). Add onion, beef and garlic to a pan over medium heat. Cook until no pink remains. Drain any fat.

  2. Add remaining ingredients except cheese. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and cover.

  3. Stirring occasionally, let cook 13-17 minutes or until macaroni is cooked through (add a little bit of water if needed).

  4. Season with salt & pepper to taste and serve warm topped with cheese.

 

Chili Mac Skillet served in a white bowl and garnished with shredded cheddar and fresh parsley.
Chili Mac Skillet served in a white bowl and garnished with shredded cheddar and fresh parsley.
Top photo - Chili Mac Skillet served in a white bowl and garnished with shredded cheddar and fresh parsley. Bottom photo - Chili Mac cooked and ready in the skillet.

Italian Pasta Salad

Italian pasta salad is one of my favorite cold pasta salad dishes!  Fresh and colorful vegetables, cheese, salami, and Italian vinaigrette are tossed with your favorite pasta to create an unforgettable dish for just about any summer occasion.

Pasta salads are one of my go to potluck dishes from easy and fresh Greek Pasta Salad to a delicious Caesar Pasta Salad and of course my famous Dill Pickle Pasta Salad! Not only does everyone love them, pasta salads are super easy to make and  they’re even better when made ahead of time!

A bowl full of colorful Italian Pasta salad ready for a potluck!

Potluck Perfect Pasta Salad

Whenever summer rolls around, we always seem to be headed to barbecues, potlucks, and patio parties. Of course I’m always asked to bring a big pitcher of Classic Mojitos (it’s the drink I’m known for) but I almost always bring a cold pasta salad recipe along too!

This Italian Pasta Salad recipe is a really fun twist on a classic pasta salad because it’s loaded with so many goodies. It travels well and goes with pretty much anything.

Big Bold Flavors

This easy pasta salad recipe is loaded with flavor, you can add in your own favorite Italian inspired ingredients; diced artichokes and sun dried tomatoes also make great additions! 

Ingredients for pasta salad:

  • Bold Flavors: cheese, salami, olives and Italian seasonings add a big punch of flavor
  • Crunch: Bell pepper adds great  for color, crunch and flavor
  • Veggies: I love the juicy tang tomatoes add, throw in some cucumbers or any veggies you have on hand

A small serving of colorful Italian Pasta salad ready for a potluck!

Noodles for Pasta Salad

Tri-color rotini does an amazing job at holding the cheese and Italian dressing in the crevices for max flavor, but you can use shells, or whatever medium noodles you happen to have handy!

Cook the pasta al dente so it isn’t mushy and it holds up well to the dressing.

Tips to Make the Perfect Italian Pasta Salad

  • Cut your veggies small: Cutting your vegetables into pieces slightly smaller than bite-sized will ensure that you get a taste of everything in each bite!
  • Don’t overcook your noodles: Overcooking will make a mushy pasta salad as the acids from the dressing will break down the starches farther. Shock your noodles once they are cooked al dente in cold water for best results!
  • Cool your pasta before adding the toppings: You don’t want to begin to cook your vegetables while you toss everything together!
  • Let your pasta salad sit before you serve it: This gives the dressing a chance to really permeate your veggies and pasta, resulting in a more flavorful and delicious Italian pasta salad!
  • Keep it colorful: If you are adding some extra veggies you have on hand, keep your pasta salad fun and colorful! I love adding things like artichokes, shredded carrots, sun-dried tomatoes, peppers, etc.

A bowl full of colorful Italian Pasta salad ready for a party!

Italian Pasta Salad Dressing

To make this recipe quick and easy, I use a bottled Italian dressing but of course homemade Italian Dressing is amazing if you have the ingredients on hand.

Make ahead… The best thing about this pasta salad recipe is that it gets better as it sits and the flavors blend! It’s the perfect make ahead side dish, it takes 20 only about minutes to prepare. What could be better than that?

As this Italian pasta salad sits in the fridge, the acids in the dressing actually work to help break down the starches in the pasta and the proteins in the veggies, resulting in a more flavorful and tender pasta salad (so be sure not to overcook your noodles)!

To Make Homemade Italian Dressing combine the following:

Favorite Pasta Salad Recipes

Italian Pasta Salad

Tender pasta, ripe juicy tomatoes, crisp bell peppers, salami and mozzarella cheese are tossed in an Italian dressing for the perfect make ahead side dish.

  • 16 oz tricolor rotini
  • 1/2 green bell pepper (diced)
  • 1/2 orange bell pepper (diced)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper (diced)
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes (halved)
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese (cubed)
  • 1/3 cup red onion (diced)
  • 8 oz salami (chopped)
  • 1 cup bottled Italian vinaigrette dressing
  • 1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley (chopped)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
  1. Cook pasta al dente according to package directions. Rinse under cold water.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Add dressing and toss.
  3. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

Repin this Super Summer Salad!

Italian pasta salad is one of my favorite cold pasta salad dishes!  Fresh and colorful vegetables, cheese, salami, and Italian vinaigrette are tossed with your favorite pasta to create an unforgettable dish for just about any summer occasion. #spendwithpennies #summersalad #pastasalad #easysidedish #easyrecipe #pastarecipe #healthyrecipe #freshsidedish

One Pot Pasta with Chicken (Tomato Cream Sauce)

Chicken Pasta dishes can be ready in no time at all and this easy one pot recipe goes straight from the stove to the table in less than 30 minutes. An flavorful combination of chicken, cheese, and tomatoes in a tomato cream sauce all made with just one pot! 

While a full meal on its own, this pasta dish tastes delicious served with a side of homemade garlic bread or a light side salad.

Close up of one pot chicken pasta.

What’s in Chicken Pasta?

This dish is full of creamy cheeses, chicken, and a combination of savory flavors like garlic, tomatoes and Italian seasoning…all blended together for this hearty entrée that even makes great leftovers!

This easy recipe has a tomato cream sauce and is topped with cheese for an easy meal.

How to Make This One Pot Pasta

This recipe is super easy and versatile, with just one pot! Using the basic recipe, you can add your favorite flavors to make it your own!  

  1. Cook the chicken and set aside.
  2. Add seasoning (per recipe below), tomatoes and cream. Stir in uncooked pasta and simmer until pasta is tender.
  3. Add cheese and enjoy!

It’s that easy!! The pasta is cooked right in the sauce meaning no extra pots or strainers for cooking. Depending on the brand of pasta you have, you may need to add a bit more broth or water towards the end to cook the pasta. Add about 1/2 cup at a time as needed.

Overview of one pot chicken pasta.

Can You Make This in Advance?

One pot chicken pasta can definitely be made in advance, just keep it in a covered container and then pour it all into a skillet and reheat on low on the stovetop.

When you reheat it you may need to add a splash of milk or cream if the pasta has soaked up a lot of the sauce.

More One-Pot Meals

One Pot Chicken Pasta

If you’re looking for something simple to put together in just a few minutes, you’re going to LOVE this! Super easy and versatile, with just one pot!

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound chicken breast (diced into 1/2" cubes)
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/2 cup onion (diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
  • 14.5 oz diced tomatoes (drained)
  • 3 cups chicken broth (+ 1/2 cup extra if needed)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 12 oz penne (or medium pasta)
  • 2/3 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup parmesan (divided)
  1. Season chicken with salt & pepper. Heat olive oil over medium heat and cook chicken until no pink remains. Set aside.

  2. Add onion and garlic to the pan. Cook until onion is tender, about 3 minutes.

  3. Add seasoning, parsley, 3 cups broth, tomatoes and cream and bring to a boil. Add pasta. Let simmer for about 15 minutes or until tender and thickened. If you need, add 1/2 cup broth till pasta is cooked. Mix in 1/4 cup parmesan cheese.

  4. Add the chicken back to skillet, top with mozzarella cheese and remaining 1/4 cup parmesan, then broil 2-3 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden.

Overview of One Pot Chicken Pasta.
Overview of One Pot Chicken Pasta.
Top image - overview of one pot chicken pasta, bottom image - chicken pasta ingredients in a pot.

Cajun Chicken Pasta

This creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta is a simple and flavorful homemade ready in under 30 minutes.  Made with chicken breast, pasta, and plenty of fresh, colorful veggies with Cajun Seasoning is an easy meal!

This Cajun Chicken Pasta recipe is one of my family’s favorite meals all-year ’round.

Cajun Chicken Pasta on a white plate

Easy Chicken Pasta

This pasta dish has a creamy cajun sauce that coats every bite.

Pasta for Cajun Chicken: 8 oz of your favorite medium pasta is perfect in this recipe, I like to make mine using Penne pasta (like Chili’s Cajun Chicken Pasta penne dish). Linguine is another a popular option to make this Cajun Chicken Pasta tasty! You can also substitute whole grain or whole wheat pasta for added nutritional value!

Cajun Chicken Pasta in a blue skillet

How to Make Cajun Chicken Pasta

My favorite part about this Cajun chicken pasta dish is that it’s easy to make.

  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions and set aside.
  2. Season chicken, cook through, and remove to a plate to rest.
  3. Cook veggies and add sauce ingredients. Cook until the sauce reduces and thickens.
  4. Add cheese, return chicken to the pan, and add pasta.

To Prep Chicken: I prefer to cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces before cooking so the chicken has a lot of great flavor (as more surface area is covered with seasoning than if you seasoned/cooked the whole breast).

You could alternatively season and cook the chicken breasts whole, keep them removed from the pan after cooking, and then mix all of the other ingredients together and serve the chicken over your cooked pasta.

What should I serve with Cajun Chicken Pasta?

We often eat this creamy Cajun Chicken recipe without anything on the side, it’s a great stand alone meal. However, this time of year we also enjoy it with lighter side dishes including Caesar Salad, Corn on the Cob, or Corn Salad.

Jalapeno Cornbread will also make for a good, heartier, side! And will help scoop up any Cajun chicken  sauce left in your bowl too!

A blue skillet full of cajun chicken pasta

Can I make Cajun Chicken Pasta in Advance?

If you don’t wish to serve this dish right away, you can make it in advance to serve later, and in fact the flavors will develop even more as it sits!

Keep in mind that the pasta will absorb a lot of the sauce, so your dish will be less creamy if you make it in advance and store all the ingredients together.

Another alternative would be to prepare everything except for the pasta, and then to cook the pasta fresh when you are ready to serve and add it to your other ingredients after re-heating them.

Keep your Cajun Chicken Pasta refrigerated in an airtight container until ready to enjoy.

More Chicken Pasta:

What is Cajun Seasoning Made of?

I have the perfect homemade cajun seasoning recipe! It’s a great option to use in this Cajun spice or seasoning contains tasty spices such as garlic powder, onion powder, seasoning salt, oregano, and thyme.

To give it its world famous kick, my Cajun seasoning contains chili flakes, black pepper, and cayenne pepper, and smoky paprika!

Cajun Chicken Pasta

This creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta is a simple but incredibly flavorful homemade dinner that can be on the table in under 30 minutes.  

  • 8 oz penne pasta (cooked according to package instructions and drained)
  • 3 Tablespoons butter (divided)
  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast (cut into 1" pieces)
  • 4 teaspoons Cajun seasoning (divided)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (divided)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper (divided)
  • 1/2 yellow onion (diced)
  • 1 red pepper (sliced)
  • 1 green pepper (sliced)
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/3 cup fresh parmesan cheese
  1. Place 2 Tablespoons of butter in a large pan over medium-high heat until melted.
  2. Meanwhile, combine 3 teaspoons Cajun seasoning, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a Ziploc bag. Add chopped chicken, zip closed, and shake until chicken is coated.
  3. Transfer chicken to heated pan and cook until chicken is browned and just cooked through. Remove to a plate and set aside.
  4. Add remaining Tablespoon of butter to pan and allow it to melt.
  5. Add peppers and onion and cook until beginning to soften (about 3-5 minutes).
  6. Add heavy cream, smoked paprika, basil, garlic powder, 1 teaspoon cajun seasoning and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, cooking until sauce is thickened.

  7. Add parmesan cheese and stir until melted. Return cooked chicken and add cooked pasta, stir well and serve.

REPIN this Easy Pasta Recipe

Cajun Chicken Pasta served on a white plate

More Recipes You’ll Love

Slow Cooker Cajun Bean Turkey Soup Recipe

a ladle of Cajun Bean Turkey Soup in the crockpot

Skillet Orange Chicken Recipe

orange chicken in white skillet

 

Classic Baked Spaghetti

Classic Baked Spaghetti is the delicious casserole version of the traditional pasta and meat sauce. With multiple layers of cheesy buttered noodles, melted mozzarella cheese, and garlic beef sauce you’ll want to make this a new family favorite.

If you’re looking to add more pasta casseroles to your collection then try out this Chicken Parmesan Casserole, or this Cheesy Cheddar Chicken Spaghetti Casserole. Don’t miss this similar version of Baked Cream Cheese Spaghetti Casserole either.

Classic Baked Spaghetti

Classic Baked Spaghetti

Whether you’re hitting up a pot luck luncheon or in need a casserole to feed the entire family this classic baked spaghetti is always a favorite option. Simple and satisfying are the main qualities of this classic comfort meal that boast a large number of servings.

With simple no-fuss ingredients such as spaghetti, pasta sauce, and cheese you’ll find this easy to prepare dish is one everybody will love.

Classic Baked Spaghetti

How to Make Baked Spaghetti

There are three main steps to the assembly and prep of this classic baked spaghetti starting with the prep of the noodles. Cook them according to the package directions, and once you’ve drained them you’ll toss them with the butter, parmesan cheese, and egg mixture.

As the noodles are cooking prepare the meat sauce layer by browning the meat and onions and then stirring in the pasta sauce.

Layer it all together starting with the noodles, then the cottage cheese. Place the meat sauce on top and sprinkle with mozzarella. Repeat! Bake it all together and you’ve got one delicious meal that will last for days.

Classic Baked Spaghetti

Which Cheeses to Choose?

As with most casserole recipes, there are several ingredients that are optional or interchangeable. There is no hard line on the types of cheese you choose for your baked spaghetti, however, one that melts easily is mostly usually your best option. Cheeses such as mozzarella and cheddar are my personal favorites.

The cottage cheese layer can also be swapped for ricotta cheese or changed entirely to something like a parmesan. Use your favorite types of cheese and you’ll be happily satisfied.

Classic Baked Spaghetti

What to Serve with Baked Spaghetti?

The casserole itself can be considered a complete meal, however, if you’re looking to diversify your dish a bit then you can certainly add some flair with side dishes. Bread or rolls, such as these easy parmesan knots are an obvious choice, but if you’re looking for a healthier option try a salad such as this grilled caesar salad.

Classic Baked Spaghetti

Looking for More Easy Casseroles? Try these…

Classic Baked Spaghetti

Classic Baked Spaghetti is the delicious casserole version of the traditional pasta and meat sauce. With multiple layers of cheesy buttered noodles, melted mozzarella cheese, and garlic beef sauce you'll want to make this a new family favorite.

  • 16 ounces Spaghetti Noodles (1 package)
  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • 1 medium Onion (chopped)
  • 24 ounce Pasta Sauce Jar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 1/3 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 5 tablespoons Butter (melted)
  • 2 cups Cottage Cheese
  • 4 cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1 tablespoon Fresh Basil (chopped)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare the spaghetti noodles in boiling water according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.

  2. In a large skillet brown the ground beef and chopped onion over medium-high heat until the meat is no longer pink. Drain and remove from heat. Season with salt and stir in the pasta sauce; set aside.

  3. Whisk the eggs, parmesan cheese, and melted butter together in a large bowl. Add the spaghetti to the mixture and toss to coat.

  4. Grease a 13×9 baking dish with oil and place half of the spaghetti on the bottom. Layer 1 cup of the cottage cheese on top of the noodles and then place 1/2 of the meat sauce on top. Sprinkle 2 cups of mozzarella cheese on top and repeat the layers with the remaining ingredients. Cover with foil and place the dish in the oven to bake for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and cook an additional 20 to 25 minutes more.

Greek Broccoli Pasta Salad

Greek Broccoli Pasta Salad combines tender fusilli pasta with fresh vegetables and a tangy herb dressing. Broccoli florets are briefly cooked, chilled and then tossed with noodles, tomatoes, bell peppers, red onions, olives, and feta cheese. A wholesome side dish to serve with grilled meats, pack for a picnic or barbecue.

If you’re looking for more nourishing vegetarian salads then try Farro Caprese Salad, Summer Corn Salad, or Strawberry Spinach Salad.

Greek Broccoli Pasta Salad

Greek Broccoli Pasta Salad

Add a Meditteranean twist to a typical pasta salad with just a few key ingredients. By combining fresh vegetables, kalamata olives, and creamy feta cheese to al dente fusilli pasta, it adds delicious Greek elements to each bite.

I’m always looking for ways to sneak in wholesome vegetables into each meal, and broccoli is one of the stars of this dish. Briefly cooking the broccoli ensures that each piece is tender and easy to eat.

To bring all of the ingredients together, a simple yet flavorful dressing is whipped up. An easy red wine vinegar dressing is whisked together and then drizzled all over the salad. The tangy and herbaceous flavors infuse into the pasta and vegetables for an irresistible appetizer or side dish.

How Do You Make Broccoli Pasta Salad?

  • Blanch the broccoli florets in boiling water for 2 minutes, and then chill in ice cold water.
  • Drain the broccoli before adding to the salad.
  • Cook the pasta in the same boiling water until al dente then drain and rinse under cool water.
  • In a large bowl combine the pasta, broccoli, tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, and olives.
  • Sprinkle with feta cheese.
  • Make the salad dressing by whisking together the vinegar, mustard, honey, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper. Drizzle in the olive oil until the dressing is thickened.
  • Add the dressing and toss to combine with the pasta salad, or serve on the side.

cooking broccoli

How Do You Cook the Broccoli?

Broccoli is loaded with health benefits. However, can be extremely fibrous in texture and have a sulfurous taste when eaten raw. For this pasta salad recipe, I like to use a simple blanching method for cooking broccoli. It just takes 2 minutes to tenderize the vegetable, making it more palatable and sweeter in taste. Make sure to “shock” or chill the broccoli in an ice water bath to stop the cooking process. I often use this process when making broccoli salad.

What Type of Pasta is used?

Fusilli pasta is a corkscrew shape that allows the dressing to stick on to the noodle. Any other type of pasta can be used like farfalle, rotini, or Gemelli works well too.

Greek Broccoli Pasta Salad ingredients

What Ingredients are added to the Pasta Salad?

A colorful mix of fresh vegetables is added to the salad. There are different types of broccoli that can be used, I selected calabrese which is the most common found in the grocery store.

Sweet cherry tomatoes add a burst of flavor, but any vine-ripened type would be delicious. Green bell peppers and chopped red onions add a nice crunch. Kalamata olives are essential in Greek cuisine, as well as tangy Feta cheese.

How is the Dressing Prepared?

The red wine vinegar is vigorously whisked with the mustard, honey, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper to infuse the flavors together. Make sure to very slowly add the olive oil, so that the dressing becomes thickened and emulsified. If making the dressing ahead of time whisk again right before serving.

How Long Will the Broccoli Pasta Salad Last?

The pasta salad will last for about 3 days covered and refrigerated. It’s best to add the dressing right before serving for the best flavor and so that the pasta does not become soggy. You can prepare the components ahead of time and then toss with the dressing.

close up of Greek Broccoli Pasta Salad

Looking for more Greek recipes? Try these ones!

Greek Broccoli Pasta Salad

Greek Broccoli Pasta Salad combines tender fusilli pasta with fresh vegetables and a tangy herb dressing.

Broccoli Pasta Salad-

  • 7 quarts of water (divided)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 4 cups ice
  • 4 cups broccoli florets (cut into 1-inch pieces (8 ounces))
  • 1 pound fusilli pasta
  • 1 ½ cups cherry tomatoes (cut in half)
  • 1 cup diced green bell pepper (1/2-inch dice)
  • ½ cup diced red onion (¼-inch dice)
  • ½ cup kalamata olives (sliced)
  • ¼ cup crumbled Feta cheese

Dressing-

  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  1. In a large pot add 6 quarts of water and 1 tablespoon salt, and then bring water to a boil over high heat.
  2. Add the broccoli florets and cook until bright green in color and crisp-tender, about 1 to 2 minutes. Do not discard the water.
  3. Transfer broccoli to a bowl filled with 4 cups (1 quart) water and 4 cups ice to stop the cooking process, about 5 minutes. Drain the broccoli well.

  4. Return water to a boil, add pasta and cook, stirring as needed until tender, about 9 to 11 minutes.
  5. Drain pasta and rinse with cool water for 10 seconds, leaving the noodles slightly wet.
  6. In a large serving bowl toss together pasta, broccoli, tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, and olives.

  7. Sprinkle crumbled feta on top of broccoli pasta salad.
  8. In a medium sized bowl whisk together red wine vinegar, mustard, honey, garlic, oregano, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper.

  9. Slowly drizzle in olive oil and whisk until a thickened dressing is formed. If not using right away, which again before adding to the salad.
  10. Toss pasta salad with dressing or serve on the side.