My sister is still going strong with her vegetarian lifestyle which is starting to become a real challenge for me. I’m not a veggie lover and for me the more meat in a meal the better. I love that her new lifestyle choice has made me step outside my comfort zone and try different recipes. With this baked ziti I was able to split the casserole between two dishes adding the chicken

Ingredients(*Optional-skip if making vegetarian)

For Chicken:

  • 2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts*
  • 2 T. Olive Oil*
  • 2 T. Butter*
  • 1 t. Garlic Powder*
  • 1 t. Onion Powder*
  • 1 t. Kosher Salt*
  • 1 t. Cracked Black Pepper
  • 1 Bunch Asparagus (tips only)
  • 1/2 C. Frozen Peas
  • 4-6 oz. Sliced Baby Bella Mushrooms
  • 2 C. Shredded Mozzarella Cheese (separated into 1 C. measurements)
  • 1/2 C. Shredded Parmesan Cheese

For Sauce:

  • 2 T. Olive Oil
  • 1 T. Butter
  • 3 Cloves Garlic (minced)
  • 2 Roasted Red Peppers (diced)
  • 4 T. Flour
  • 1/2 t. Onion Powder
  • 1/2 t. Garlic Powder
  • 2 t. Cajun Seasoning
  • 1 1/2 C. Vegetable Broth
  • 1 1/2 C. Skim Milk
  • 1 C. Shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/2 C. Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • Kosher Salt


Prepare chicken first:

  1. Butterfly chicken breasts and cut into bite size pieces.
  2. Heat olive oil and butter in a large pan.
  3. Add in seasonings.
  4. Add in chicken and cook for about 5-7 min until golden brown.

Prepare your pasta and Veggies:

  1. Cook Pasta noodles al dente according to box instructions, strain then set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  3. Steam your asparagus and mushrooms for about 5-7 min until tender.
  4. Use cooking spray to grease a deep casserole dish and set aside.

Next Make your sauce:

  1. Heat Olive Oil and butter in a large dutch oven.
  2. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant (about 1 min).
  3. Whisk in flour and continue to whisk until a past forms.
  4. While continue to whisk add in broth, milk and peppers.
  5. Add in garlic and onion powder.
  6. Bring to a simmer.
  7. Mix in parmesan and mozzarella cheese and continue to stir until thickened.
  8. Season with salt and pepper if necessary.

Bring it all together:

  1. In dutch oven stir in noodles and chicken until coated with sauce.
  2. Add in frozen peas, asparagus and mushrooms and stir until combined.
  3. Pour half of the mixture into the bottom of the greased casserole dish.
  4. Top first layer of noodles with one cup of mozzarella cheese.
  5. Pour remaining half of mixture on top of the cheese layer.
  6. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese.
  7. Place in the oven and bake uncovered for about 20 min.
  8. Turn on broiler to give the cheese a golden brown crust, only cook for a min or two until golden.
  9. Enjoy!

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