I’M BACK!

And with food to boot! Specifically a pasta back filled with the richness and goodness of grandma’s cooking.

Last August, I said I was back in action, ready to report to you with food and photos and feedback on life. Unfortunately, I bit off more than I could chew and choked through a semester of difficult classes, two jobs, and student organizations, leaving all my free time for sleeping (and maybe a bit of Netflix). But here I am again, hoping this New Year’s Resolution sticks better than previous ones!

So today let’s just focus on food. FOOD. If you’re like me and are just coming back to college, getting back into cooking-mode can be a bit of a struggle. First, you come back to your apartment and there’s no food. So you haul your booty to the store and buy way too many groceries without any idea what you’re going to make from all these random bits and pieces. Then you sit in your apartment for three days, munching on toasted bread because you have no motivation to actually cook after three weeks of being spoiled with home-cooked meals. And then finally — finally — on day four you become desperate and you find yourself with a few empty hours and you COOK. BAM.

Or if you’re like every other non-college student on earth, you cook like normal and wonder why we students complain so much.

Anyway, I’m a college cook so congrats to me for forcing myself to be productive and cooking something! This was a pretty simple recipe but filled with lots of different ingredients and plenty of leftovers to keep me well fed. If I had all the time in the world, I would have used all fresh ingredients but instead — let’s reiterate — I’m a college student and am as lazy and broke as a sloth (yes, think about it, sloths are broke too).

So, without further ado…. Cheesy Chicken Pasta Bake!

STEP 1: You guessed it – ingredients! As always, we begin with all those puzzle pieces that make up this delicious meal. If you are feeling ambitious, feel free to use all fresh ingredients and save the world from a few more cans, but until I have days to cook and hundred dollar bills to just toss around, I shall continue with cans:

  • 1 and 1/3 uncooked pasta (I recommend: penne or spiral shapes)
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 jar (aka 14.5 oz) spaghetti sauce
  • 1 can (aka 14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (aka 14.5 oz) corn
  • shredded cheese

STEP 2: P-p-p-prep time! Luckily this recipe has extremely little pre-cooking preparation needed. Make sure to cut your chicken breasts into bite-size pieces and finely chop your basil if you use fresh leaves like I did. Other than that, just drain your diced tomatoes and corn to avoid any excess water and we can get cooking!

prep

STEP 3: In anticipation of later steps, heat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

STEP 4: Cook your pasta as directed on the package. Usually this involves boiling some water and tossing in your pasta for anywhere from 7-11 minutes. Once cooked, drain and set aside.

pasta

STEP 5: In a large (and I mean large) pan, heat your olive oil on a medium-high heat and toss in your chicken and basil. Mix and turn the chicken pieces frequently for even cooking and let cook for about 3 minutes.

chicken basil

STEP 6: Turn the heat low and add in the diced tomatoes and spaghetti sauce. After mixing it all up, turn the heat back up to medium-high or high and bring the mixture to a boil.

tomato

STEP 7: Finally, add the corn! (Easiest step ever, right?)

corn

STEP 8: If you’re smarter than me and actually have a giant pan, mix your pasta from earlier into the chicken-tomato-corn mixture. Then pour the whole mixture into a casserole-type dish, sprinkle a bit of shredded cheese over the top, and stick it in the oven! It may look like not everything will fit in your casserole pan but I promise it will! Bake for about 20 minutes.

pasta bake 1

cheese

STEP 9: After making sure the cheese is well melted (but not burnt), pull your pasta bake out and DIG IN!!

final

Now you have plenty of food to stave off hunger until you can regain the motivation to cook again! Here’s to hoping you’ll hear from me again extremely soon! In the meantime, NOM ON!!

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