Twice-Baked Chicken Pasta
-Nonstick cooking spray
-1.5 lbs. thawed, boneless chicken
-1/4 cup shredded roasted red peppers
-1 cup orange juice
-1/4 cup honey
-1 tsp. garlic powder
-1 tsp. onion powder
-1/2 tsp. paprika
-1/2 tsp. thyme
-salt/pepper to taste
-water (for boiling pasta)
-1 Tbs. cooking oil
-2 cups elbow macaroni or other small pasta
-1-1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 9″x13″ glass baking dish and place about 1.5 lbs thawed, boneless chicken in the bottom. Top chicken with about 1/4 cup roasted red peppers, hand-torn into small pieces.
In a large measuring cup, combine about 1 cup orange juice with 1/4 cup honey and mix well. Stir in: 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, and salt/pepper to taste.
Once spices are stirred into juice mixture, pour the sauce over the raw chicken in the dish and refrigerate. You can marinate for as little as 15 minutes, or as long as overnight, depending on how much time you have.
While chicken marinates in the fridge, bring a large pot of water to boil with about 1 tablespoon of cooking oil and a little bit of salt. Once rolling boil is achieved, reduce heat and throw in about 2 cups of uncooked elbow macaroni (or any other pasta you prefer). Simmer until al dente, remove from heat and drain. Leave drained macaroni in the pot until needed later.
Meanwhile, pop the now-marinated chicken into the preheated oven and allow to cook until internal temperature of 165 is reached. Oven time will vary from 15-30 minutes, depending on whether you’re using whole breasts, tenderloin strips, or whatever else, so keep an eye on it. Test a piece for doneness by cutting through it with a knife and fork at the thickest part of its center.
Remove cooked chicken from oven and reduce heat to 350 degrees. Use fork/knife right there in your glass baking dish to cut meat into large bite-sized chunks. The marinade by this time should be starting to thicken in the bottom of the casserole dish.
Dump drained, cooked pasta over the cooked meat and sauce. Mix well, gently lifting portions of the meat/pepper/sauce to the top of the pasta in different places around the pan for a good distribution of ingredients.
Sprinkle the pasta and chicken with about 1-1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese and place whole casserole (uncovered) back in the oven. Bake approximately 12-15 more minutes, or until cheese begins to melt and brown slightly.
Spoon into dishes and serve immediately, or refrigerate leftovers. While dishing up the servings, be sure to use a non-slotted spoon to grab some of the sauce from the bottom of the pan and drizzle over the pasta.