Ziti-Chicken-Zucchini Pasta Bake (Lasagna Wannabe– Sort Of!)

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This maybe doesn’t look like the traditional lasagna, but its taste is SO similar!   A friend, Bruce, gave us plenty of Pepper Jack cheese; Pam’s garden gave us the zucchini; and some left-over pieces of rotisserie chicken were just waiting to be used in………….. something.   This recipe used all of that.
INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 lb. box of ZITI or PENNE PASTA (uncooked)
  • 2 of 23.5 ounce jars of your favorite pasta sauce
  • 1 medium onion, chopped medium-fine
  • 10 oz. Pepper Jack cheese, grated
  • 2-4 chicken breasts, cooked and diced (I used some left-over rotisserie chicken).  If need be, I’m sure you could get by with just one cupful of small pieces of chicken.
  • 1 and 1/2  OR 2 cups shredded zucchini

If you used a larger/deeper baking dish, I can see putting a thin layer of cottage OR ricotta cheese in here, too.  Also, mushrooms and various other vegetables.

DIRECTIONS:
Cook dry pasta in boiling water until “medium soft” (I boiled mine for 11 minutes).  Drain.  Set aside.
In a 9×13″ baking dish that’s been sprayed with non-stick oil, layer the ingredients as follows.  While layering, I VERY LIGHTLY salted and peppered each individual layer(s) of pasta, and the zucchini:
  • Spaghetti Sauce
  • Chicken
  • Onion
  • Pasta
  • Spaghetti sauce
  • 1/2 amount of grated cheese
  • Zucchini
  • Pasta
  • Spaghetti sauce
  • Remaining amount of cheese

 

My dish was VERY full.  In fact, after I added each layer of the cooked Penne pasta, I needed to press it down a bit.  When I was done “layering”, I took a spatula and gently moved ingredients a little away from around the edges so that the sauce would have more room as it heated.  Then, to be “kinder” to my oven, I set this dish on a dark kind of shallow baking sheet for… just in case it bubbled over.   But,… it didn’t.

 

I baked this 9×13″ batch for about 45 minutes
(at 350-degrees) when I saw little bubbles around
the edges.  Before serving, let set for
about 10 minutes before dishing up.

Source Recipe: http://milkmaidrecipebox.blogspot.com

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