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Tonight’s Dinner: Pesto chicken penne

Chicken tenders are always a big hit with the kiddies, creamy baked pasta is another winner, but put the two together and you’ve got a home run for kids and adults.

Pesto penne bake

I’ve always been a big fan of chicken tenders. They’re easy to make, always delicious, and my son adores them. Another easy go-to dinner choice is baked pasta, especially when it’s cold and rainy outside. Its heavy creaminess just warms my soul. Unfortunately, my toddler’s not quite as big a fan.

I never considered putting them together since they’re so perfect on their own, but thankfully Taste of Home did. If I hadn’t found that recipe, I never would’ve had this scrumptious dinner that’s the perfect answer to “What do I do with that half box of penne on the shelf and those five or 10 chicken tenders left in the freezer?”

Baked pesto chicken penne recipe


  • 13-ounces penne pasta
  • 10 to 12 frozen chicken tenders
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup prepared pesto
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, separated
  • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted


  1. Cook penne and chicken tenders according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine cheddar cheese, yogurt, ricotta, cream, pesto, and Parmesan cheese.
  2. Chop up chicken tenders and drain penne; add both to cheese mixture and toss to coat; transfer to a 3-quart baking dish. Combine bread crumbs and butter and sprinkle over top.
  3. Bake, uncovered, for 25 to 30 minutes, or until heated through and golden brown. Serve immediately.

More pasta recipes

Lasagna with béchamel and meat sauce
Sausage, cheese & sun-dried tomato pasta
Spaghetti carbonara

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