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Baked Pasta with Pumpkin, Roasted Veggies, & Chicken

by Courtney on September 25, 2010

So how’s everybody’s Saturday going??

My Saturday turned out to be pretty fantastic, despite a less-than-stellar turnout for our garage sale today. Even though we only ended up making $15.00 (a full $100 LESS than yesterday!), we still have a way to get rid of almost ALL of our leftovers, thanks to Jay’s mom. Thank GOODNESS…and good riddance!! :-D

After closing up shop at the sale, I decided to pop in our wedding video and watch that. I’ve been wanting to watch it for a while now, and boy I’ll tell ya…that video gets me every time. This resulted in a good hour and a half of my afternoon with me simultaneously laughing and balling my eyes out. Happy tears of course! :-D

After an unexpected afternoon nap (which I hardly ever do, but think I need to try it more often) it was time to start making some dinner.

And let me tell you…tonight’s dinner was, in one word: epic.

While getting things prepped in the kitchen, I sipped on a fab glass of vino. In my opinion, it’s the best way to cook. ;)

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And apparently, it also helps in the creation of one phenomenal meal…

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Had I anticipated this becoming such a great concoction, I probably would have taken some photos of my prep, but unfortunately that didn’t happen. Here’s how things went down…

-Earlier in the day, I roasted up a big batch of veggies under the assumption they would probably be used tonight. I just wasn’t sure how.

-Then, I realized we had a big pack of chicken breasts in the fridge that needed to be separated and frozen, so I figured that I would incorporate some of that too.

-Then a commercial for Olive Garden came on television, and a huge hankering for pasta came swarming over me…

-aaaaand the rest is history. :)

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I think one of my favorite parts about this meal is that it was created entirely without a recipe. I was a free woman in the kitchen, and I LOVED IT. I wish I had that confidence all the time!

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And do you want to know the best part of this meal?? It even incorporated my current food obsession: pumpkin!! :shock:

(Jay still doesn’t know there was pumpkin in the recipe…mwaaahahaha!) ;)

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Check out the stringy cheese…mmmmm. :-P

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I really didn’t do too much measuring of anything, but I have a pretty good idea; so without further ado, let me share with you my fabulous creation for…

Baked Pasta with Pumpkin, Roasted Veggies, & Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 8-10 oz. Carba Nada pasta (I eyeballed it…any pasta would be fine)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large boneless & skinless chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups roasted veggies (I used zucchini, yellow squash, broccoli, & carrots)
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
  • 2/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1-1 1/2 cups part skim mozzarella, freshly shredded
  • 1/3 cup reduced-fat parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • Salt & pepper

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta al dente, drain & set aside. Heat olive oil in a pan. Saute chicken pieces a few minutes & then add onion & garlic. Cook for a few minutes until almost cooked through.

In a large bowl, toss the drained pasta with the roasted vegetables, cooked chicken mixture, marinara sauce, pumpkin, cheeses, peas, dried basil, salt, pepper. Using a wooden spoon, gently mix, until all the pasta is coated with the sauce and the ingredients are combined.

Pour the pasta into an11x7 inch pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Top with a light sprinkling of mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. Bake until top is golden and cheese melts, about 25 minutes.

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I served our baked pasta dish with some simple mixed greens, drizzled with a little Ken’s Light Balsamic Vinaigrette. It turned out to be the perfect accompaniment!

And better yet, my “wing-it” portions ended up leaving us with tons of leftovers…which is A-OK with me! :)

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Jay and I are planning on spending the rest of our evening low-key, on the couch, catching up with our DVR, and enjoying a little dessert that came our way today…

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Jay’s parents took a trip out to Vermont today, and on their way back, stopped by to drop off some goodies they picked up for us. Jay got a box of his favorites, chocolate-covered cherries, while I got an assortment of various caramel-filled chocolates. Ummm, could it get any better???

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Actually, it did…when I realized there was a whole bottom layer in the box. :shock:

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Looks like a perfect way to end my Saturday!

Question for the Night:

Do you ever use pumpkin in savory dishes?

I need to try this more often!

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jen September 25, 2010 at 9:15 pm

I had a chicken pumpkin pasta dish as well for dinner. We went to the Old Bryan Inn in Saratoga and I ordered the Chicken and Pumpkin Walnut Sauté. It was grilled chicken with broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and mushrooms in a light sherry sauce over pumpkin and walnut ravioli! I highly recommend it if you are up that way!

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2 Hillary [Nutrition Nut on the Run] September 25, 2010 at 10:10 pm

Pumpkin soup is a yummy one!

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3 Lauren (Healthy Delicious) September 26, 2010 at 12:36 am

oooh, I love the chocolate barn!!! the pasta looks great too.

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4 CaSaundra September 26, 2010 at 9:01 am

Wow, impressive job on the pasta dish–sounds delish!!

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5 Stephanie September 26, 2010 at 9:11 am

Love pumpkin in savory dishes! I came up with a Baked Ziti w/ Pumpkin & Chicken Sausage recipe using evaporated milk/pumpkin to make a “cream” sauce last year that was so good! That reminds me, I should totally make that again :)

Here’s the link http://cookinfanatic.wordpress.com/2009/12/13/pumpkin-pasta/

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6 Kelly September 26, 2010 at 10:55 am

That pasta bake looks delicious! Good for you for winging it. I almost always use a recipe but it feels so good not to sometimes!

I’ve had pumpkin in savoury dishes a couple of times – once in a stuffed pasta and most recently I made a turkey chilli that had pumpkin in it. It was pretty delicious!

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7 Christina @ Food.Fun.Fabulous. September 26, 2010 at 1:53 pm

I’ve never used pumpkin in a savory dish. I just don’t know what to expect!

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8 Jean@RoastedRootsandPumpkinSpice September 26, 2010 at 3:07 pm

Pumpkin enchiladas are delicious!

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9 Chicago Cuisine Critique September 26, 2010 at 3:27 pm

This dish looks fantastic. I love the addition of pumpkin. Yum!

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10 Lele September 26, 2010 at 5:23 pm

It was seriously a pivotal moment in my life when I realized you could mix pumpkin with pasta and make… unbelievable deliciousness.

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11 Exercise and Eat September 26, 2010 at 5:34 pm

I really think people underestimate pumpkin ravioli! Ravioli with veggies, like the pasta you created, is simply delicious!

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12 Liz @ Blog is the New Black September 26, 2010 at 7:03 pm

Dinner looks yummy. The chocolates were a nice surprise! :)

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13 Jason@Baked Chicken Recipe April 12, 2011 at 9:46 am

I didn’t know you can cook great pasta food with pumpkin! Thanks for sharing this

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14 Jenn April 28, 2011 at 11:48 am

I use pumpkin to make cake mixes. Mix the cake mix and pumpkin (NO Other ingredients) together until the mix is completely dissolved in the mix. Bake. You would NEVER know it wasnt made the “normal” way. Of course, if you use vanilla, or some other light colored mix, then it looks orange.

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