Baked Rigatoni and Chicken with a twist


Yesterday I posted about chicken empanadas, luckily for me I had some leftovers. I wanted to put the mixture to good use because it was so good. So, if you're like me and had some chicken mixture left over, just follow these simple directions to enjoy a delectable baked pasta dish. 
For those of you who did not make empanadas the night before, the ingredients are simple and included below:
  • 3 cups chopped, cooked chicken
  • 1 (8-ounce) package shredded Colby and Monterey Jack Cheese blend  (I used Colby Jack and it turned out great)
  • 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper (I actually chopped an entire bell pepper)
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
Added ingredients for pasta dish:
  • Box of rigatoni 
  • extra cheese (preferably colby jack)
Now, onto the delicious baked rigatoni:
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F
  • Cook the rigatoni  (I used about half to three - quarters of a box of dry pasta)
    • in a large pot, bring to a boil approximately 5 quarts of salted water (to taste)
    • add pasta and return to a boil for 10 to 11 minutes, stirring occasionally
    • remove from heat and drain well
    • add just a touch of sauce to coat the cooked noodles
  •  In a greased baking dish, pour a layer of the pasta, then add a layer of sauce (as much or as little as you like) to cover the pasta, then add a layer of the chicken mixture. Repeat this at least two times (and then as much as your greased baking dish will allow).
  • Shred some additional cheese to lightly coat the top of the dish
  • Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until cheese is melting and pasta is cooked to taste.
If you wanted, you could add a piece of garlic bread - it would go very well with this dish. I chose not to because the pasta itself was filling enough!

Until next time, remember that leftovers don't always have to be a drag!!