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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58 Responses
  1. Meal Makeover Mom

    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!

  2. Erica

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

  3. Bunny

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

  4. Scott and Andrea

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

  5. Theresa

    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.

  6. Live.Love.Eat

    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!!!!

  7. Satisfying my Sweet Tooth

    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!

  8. Rachel

    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.

  9. Birdie

    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!

  10. Michele

    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.

  11. Sara

    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!

  12. Patsyk

    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!

  13. Katrina

    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.

  14. Bob

    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… 😀

  15. Heather

    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.

  16. Mary Ann

    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!

  17. *Priscilla*

    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.:)

  18. Lucy

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

  19. Anne

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

  20. Katherine Aucoin

    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.

  21. carol

    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!!!!

  22. Mandy

    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!

  23. Emily

    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!!!

  24. Barbara Bakes

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

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