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Zucchini and Fennel Chicken Penne Gratin


Good Wednesday late night everyone, we’ve made it through half the week already, woo hoo!

Ok, so check this out. I got this fun package in the mail from Prego that they call the Prego Challenge. In my box was a package of dry penne noodles, Prego’s new pasta sauce, parmesan cheese, garlic powder and a can of green beans. Prego wanted me to put together a delicious and nutritious dinner that the whole family could enjoy for ten bucks. I knew I was up for the challenge and got right to work creating this idea I had for a hearty pasta gratin

(A dish that is topped with cheese and heated under broiler until golden and crispy). It is chock full of veggis that the kids won’t even notice, just use your trusty kitchen scissors to chop theirs (and maybe your husbands if he is a stinker too) up into tiny bitesize pieces. The red sauce covers them oh so nicely. We ate the green beans on the side with a little garlic powder, nothing fancy.

Let me tell you how pleasantly surprised I was with Prego’s new pasta sauce. I am crazy picky when it comes to store bought sauce and we devoured this stuff. Go and get your hands on a jar of their new sauce. It’s full of great flavor.

Take a peek and enjoy!!

Zucchini and Fennel Chicken Penne Gratin

1 lb Penne Pasta

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced or chopped

1 large zucchini halved then sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 large chicken breasts, cubed

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon McCormick’s California Garlic Powder with Parsley

¼ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper

26 oz jar 100% natural Prego “Chunky Garden” Tomato, Onion and Garlic Sauce

¼ Cup Kraft grated Parmesan Cheese

2 Cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Place oil into a large rimmed skillet or other pot over medium heat. Saute fennel and zucchini for 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in garlic and chicken breasts; season with salt, garlic powder and pepper . Stir and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in Prego sauce and cooked pasta. Pour into a 9×13 inch baking dish. Top evenly with parmesan cheese and mozzarella. Place under oven’s preheated broiler until cheese just starts to brown. Watch carefully, it happens fast! Remove and serve.


Get a load of my 3 year old who I caught dressing up in his baby clothes with his buddy last week. I haven’t laughed this hard in a long time.

Have a happy Halloween everybody!

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59 Responses | Comments RSS

  1. 1
    Barbara Bakes says:

    I have found a store bought pasta sauce I really liked yet. I’ll have to give this one a try. It looks delicious!

  2. 2
    Emily says:

    Jenny, Jenny, Jenny, I have long wanted to make something with fennel ever since you posted your first recipe utilizing this veggie that has NEVER seen the inside of my kitchen! I am determined to no wmore than ever! I have been craving pasta like crazy and now know my purpose in cooking this week! Thank you for another inspiring recipe! Have a fabulous Halloween!!!

  3. 3
    HoneyB says:

    This sounds delicious! I will have to look for the new Prego sauce!

  4. 4
    Mandy says:

    Hahaha! I love the too-small clothes and the cute smile!
    I’ve had pasta on the brain, I was wanting some more ways to change it up. I will give this a try!

  5. 5
    carol says:

    That dish looks so warm and ooey-gooey good! I’ll have to check out that pasta sauce for sure!!!
    Love the picture of your little man…your boys are gonna have the girls lined up at the door one of these days!!!!

  6. 6
    Tasty Trends says:

    this pasta looks delicious! i love chicken and pasta!

  7. 7
    The Blonde Duck says:

    That looks really good! Yum!

  8. 8
    Beth says:

    A Great autumn meal. Shame I can’t get prego sauces over hee!

  9. 9
    Lisa says:

    Wow, you dress things up so nicely!

  10. 10
    Katherine Aucoin says:

    Your pasta looks so good. I am a fiend for pasta dishes. Your 3 year old is too cute. I guess sometimes they want to be babies again.

  11. 11
    Anne says:

    Your little boy is cracking me up- too cute! That pasta looks delicious and I love sneaking in veggies that way. Great job!

  12. 12
    Lucy says:

    Loving the flavors going on in this pasta dish, absolutely great!! I must try this soon 😉 Your little guy is too cute!!!

  13. 13
    *Priscilla* says:

    this looks soo good! i love pasta. your little boy is so cute in those clothes…i love too small clothes (baby clothes my Mom has saved) to try on. i know, i am so weird.:)

  14. 14
    Mary Ann says:

    This pasta dish looks amazing and your son is absolutely killing me with his outfit. How funny is that? So fun that you get to try all these yummy products, well, I guess it is fun when they actually turn out yummy.
    I made your mummy dogs last night and they were a huge hit with the kids and the others that were here! Thanks for all the great recipes and ideas!

  15. 15
    CookiePie says:

    That pasta dish looks delicious, and so does your little boy! Too adorable!!

  16. 16
    Heather says:

    Look at you, Prego Girl! That is pretty cool to get special packages. Thanks for my special package, the book are very nice and cute. I too don’t care for jarred sauce, maybe this one will make the cut.

  17. 17
    DandL says:

    mmmmm….I love pasta and I have never cooked with fennel! Can’t wait to try out this recipe!!

  18. 18
    Candy says:

    I’ll have to try that. Love chicken and pasta.

  19. 19
    Pam says:

    The pasta bake looks and sounds great. You son cracks me up. What a cutie.

  20. 20
    Bob says:

    Uhm yeah. That will do. Heh. Looks awesome, I love almost anything covered with cheese and broiled. Even if it does have zucchini in it… 😀

  21. 21
    Mary says:

    Great recipe, Jenny. Your little guy is a piece of work! That is such a cute age.

  22. 22
    Katrina says:

    I should break down and try fennel sometime, too. My problem is I hate onions and aren’t they in the onion family, wait that’s leeks I’m thinking of–at any rate, the pasta looks yummy!
    CUTE boy! Too funny.
    AND–I made the banana biscotti (again, after burning it the first time). It’s good. It’s a bit of a different texture from crunchy biscotti, because of the banana, it’s kind of hard/chewy, but I love the flavor. It’s nice to have used bananas for something besides my weekly muffins though! Thanks Jenny.

  23. 23
    Patsyk says:

    We discovered our boys like fennel a few months ago, but I haven’t tried making anything with it at home. I love how you turned this into a one-dish gratin! Yum! You are so creative!

  24. 24
    Maria says:

    we just made pasta too! Yours looks excellent. Glad you liked the sauce. And what a cute kid!

  25. 25
    Sara says:

    Yummy! I love pasta. This looks absolutely delicious, and because there are noodles, my kids will definitely eat it. I may have to puree the veggies, but whatever it takes to get the goodness in them from this dish is worth it. Thanks!

  26. 26
    Michele says:

    anything tastes good with penne! I haven’t purchased jarred sauce in ages. I’ll look for the new Prego and give it a try.

  27. 27
    Birdie says:

    The pasta looks great, and such a good way to hide the veggies! I love your new look, not sure if I’ve already said that or not, but I think your site looks great!

  28. 28
    Rachel says:

    This looks so good. Do you think it would work without the fennel? I’m not sure how my husband or kids would like it. Looks delicious.

  29. 29
    Satisfying my Sweet Tooth says:

    How fun! I never buy pasta sauce from a jar, but I’ll try this if you say it’s worth it. Looks like a great meal!

  30. 30
    Live.Love.Eat says:

    How funny, I just got my Prego package yesterday and it’s sitting on the floor next to my desk at work. I also didn’t know what I was going to make for dinner tonight so maybe I will use it. PAUSE Oh wait, hubby just called. it’s Mexican night. Ha ha. But anyhoo, this looks great!!!!

  31. 31
    Theresa says:

    Jenny, I made this for dinner tonight. This dish is great! I have to admit though, I didn’t use the Prego sauce, I used my own. I just can’t use sauce from the jar. I no likey.

  32. 32
    Scott and Andrea says:

    I’m excited you posted this! I just happen to have all the ingredients and needed an idea for dinner tonight!

  33. 33
    The Inexperienced Foodie says:

    wow that looks delish i love anything with zuccini in it!

  34. 34
    Bunny says:

    This is perfect for me, I love to have sauce, chicken and cheese…it’s one of my favorite meals! This looks fantastic Jenny!

  35. 35
    Erica says:

    Wow! How much fun is this! Dinner looks great and who wouldn’t love that? Your family is beautiful by the way 🙂

  36. 36
    Meal Makeover Mom says:

    Jenny, I’ve roasted fennel before (with sliced carrots, fresh thyme, evoo, and grated Parmesan cheese) but have never used it in a pasta dish. Great idea. I’m impressed your kids gobbled it up. I guess those handy kitchen scissors did the trick!
    I love your son’s “Halloween” costume!

  37. 37
    Emiline says:

    The pasta challenge sounds fun. I wish I had pasta delivered in the mail. That would be a surprise.

    I think it sounds great!

    That’s funny about your kid. I remember doing the same thing when I was little.

  38. 38
    Girl Japan says:

    OH my I wish I would have seen you biscotti recipe before.. I just made some the other day…. dipped in white chocolate. I followed you from friends blog.. = ) I am so glad I did. Your colors in contrast are beautiful and so is the food!

    I am blog rolling you = ) Cheers!

  39. 39
    That Girl says:

    fennel is totally underrated!

  40. 40
    hot garlic says:

    Looks great Jenny! Sweet hook-up! You’re big-time!

  41. 41
    Helene says:

    What a great challenge. You did an amazing job.

  42. 42
    Nazarina A says:

    Thanks, I shall definitely try it, hope mine comes out as good as yours!l Love your biscotti

  43. 43
    alexandra's kitchen says:

    i love baked pastas, and I don’t make them nearly enough. this looks perfect for a crowd. and chock full of veggies, too? yum!

  44. 44
    Sophie says:

    What a tasty challenge! Your creation looks and sounds delicious :).

  45. 45
    Erin says:

    Thanks for another great recipe! It looks SO good! Don’t you just love when your kids do stuff like that? I wonder what goes through my kids heads everyday!

    Happy Halloween!

  46. 46
    Aggie says:

    Oh this pasta sounds awesome! Great combo of flavors!

    Your little boy is so cute! Don’t kids do the funniest things! Love it!

  47. 47
    Deborah says:

    Delicious! And luckily, I don’t have to cut up the veggies too small because my hubby and I like them!

  48. 48
    PheMom says:

    ve been stalking but had to pipe up – that picture of your little boy is hilarious! I will have to try this pasta – it sounds heavenly!

  49. 49
    Meg says:

    Your little one is adorable. I love the pasta! I have never tried fennel before, but I am now inspired!

  50. 50
    dona says:

    i can never get enough of,this looks sooo yummy!

  51. 51
    PaniniKathy says:

    I know I can always find something delicious to make on your site, Jenny! Thanks for the tip about using kitchen scissors to chop up food for the little ones – it hadn’t occurred to me before, but now that mine is eating “regular food” that’ll be really helpful. SO funny about the baby clothes dressing!!

  52. 52
    Lori Lynn says:

    Your pasta looks delicious. I’ll keep an eye out for the Prego Sauce, it’s nice to have some on hand.
    Your little guy is a hoot!

  53. 53
    Annie says:

    Mmmmm….this looks so good! I’m trying it tonight!

  54. 54
    Ashley says:

    I’m planning to make this next week. I’m not exactly sure what fennel is though. Where would I find it?

  55. 55
    Kimberly says:

    I can also claim to never have used fennel until I made this recipe tonight.

    I actually made this at the last minute, it was quick and easy–my kind of recipe with 4 kids running around.

    I used what I had on hand, Prego Pasta Sauce with Sausage, zucchini from our garden, fennel, 1 pound of smoked sausage (I forgot to thaw the chicken), and pizza cheese blend instead of mozarella.

    The result? It tasted like a great sausage pizza. 3 of my 4 kids ate it without even blinking.

    Thanks Jenny!

  56. 56

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  57. 57

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Jenny Flake

Welcome to Picky Palate, my online kitchen! You'll usually find me with a cookie in one hand and a salad in the other. It's all about the balance :) The recipes you'll see are my creations. The Picky Palate Cookbook is now available. Enjoy!