>> December 24, 2008

For any veggie-conscious readers out there, you know that the holidays can be such a drag! Or maybe you have a vegetarian coming over for Christmas dinner... you don't have to skip all the fabulous recipes.

Just this year I found a new hit. So if any of you are drumming your fingers, searching the web for a creative (but easy and quick) last-minute holiday dish - your search is over. Of course, it isn't fat-free... but there are some sacrifices we simply must make on Christmas! (And hey, it DOES have spinach!) You can easily make a non-vegetarian or vegetarian version of this crowd-pleaser.

Chik'n Artichoke Bake
8 oz dried bow tie pasta
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 tbsp olive oil
2 eggs
1 1/4 c milk
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
2 c chopped Worthington brand "Fri-Chik" (or cooked chicken if you prefer)
2 c shredded Monterey Jack cheese (8 oz)
1 14-oz can artichoke hearts (drained & quartered)
1 10-oz pkg frozen chopped spinach (thawed and squeezed to drain)
1/2 c oil-packed dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 c soft bread crumbs
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tbsp butter, melted

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook pasta until tender, and then drain. In a medium skillet saute onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

2) Whisk in a bowl: eggs, milk, Italian seasoning, salt, red pepper. Stir in Fri Chik, Monterey Jack cheese, artichoke, spinach, tomatoes, half of Parmesan, cooked bowties, onion and garlic. Pour into large casserole dish.

3) Bake covered, 20 minutes. While baking combine a topping of remaining Parmesan, bread crumbs, paprika, and melted butter in a small bowl. Remove casserole from oven and sprinkle topping over pasta. Bake uncovered for 10 minutes more, or until golden brown.


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