This creamy chicken and pasta casserole with peas and a cheesy homemade sauce took me back to my childhood in the old order Amish community. We ate a lot of casseroles, especially casseroles that were easy to toss together and filling, during the summer months when we were very busy with gardening an canning. This cheesy chicken and pasta casserole comes together in minutes and is perfect for those times where you just need a quick meal that you know the whole family (including toddlers) will love. The original Amish chicken and pasta casserole has been adapted to be made in the slow cooker for this recipe, which makes this Amish casserole from scratch a great prep ahead dinner option and cuts back on prep time! If you enjoy Amish casseroles you may also enjoy Amish Dairy Casserole, Amish Country Breakfast Casserole, or Amish Sausage and Cabbage Casserole.
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Amish Chicken & Pasta Casserole (adapted to slow cooker)
- 4 quart slow cooker (linked below)
- large saucepan (linked below)
- Whisk (linked below)
- measuring cups (linked below)
- 8 oz. penne pasta
- 2 cups shredded, cooked chicken *see note
- 1 1/2 cups frozen peas
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (divided)
For the sauce:
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups whole milk
- 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 3/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder optional
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan, then whisk in the flour until smooth. Add milk and chicken broth, then bring to a boil while whisking rapidly. Reduce heat and simmer for several minutes, or until thickened (continue stirring frequently to keep the sauce from burning). Stir in seasonings, parmesan cheese and one cup shredded cheddar cheese, then remove from heat.
- Place the uncooked pasta and shredded chicken into a 3-4 quart crockpot. Pour sauce over top and cover with lid.
- Cook on low for 3-4 hours until the pasta is fully cooked through. After 2 hours of cooking, stir peas into the pasta, ensuring the pasta gets stirred well to cook evenly. Continue cooking until the peas are soft and pasta is cooked through, then add additional shredded cheese on top (optional) and allow to melt. Serve and enjoy!
Equipment needed for this Amish Chicken and Pasta Casserole:
- 4 quart crockpot I like to use my 4 quart crockpot for the amount of chicken and pasta casserole this recipe makes. You can also use a 5-6 quart crockpot, but the casserole may cook faster in a larger crockpot.
- Large saucepan I recommend using a 2-3 quart sauce pan for the amount of sauce this recipe makes. The sauce can cook over if it gets too hot, so the safest option is to use a larger saucepan.
- Whisk A whisk is needed to whisk the butter, flour and wet ingredients together for the sauce.
- Measuring cups You will need several measuring cups for this recipe. I like to use dry measuring cups for the chicken, cheeses and peas, then a wet measuring cup for the milk and chicken broth.
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Ingredients needed for this Amish chicken and pasta casserole: Whole milk, chicken broth (I used homemade broth, but store bought works well too), butter, frozen peas, shredded chicken, garlic powder, pasta, flour, grated parmesan cheese and shredded cheddar cheese. Salt and pepper can be added to taste and are not shown in the photo.
In my personal opinion, all the cheeses are what makes this chicken and pasta casserole so delicious. But, you can reduce the amount of shredded cheddar cheese added. You can also switch up the cheddar cheese with shredded Colby cheese, taco style cheese, mozzarella cheese, etc.
Step 1: Melt the butter in a large saucepan, then whisk in the flour until smooth. Add milk and chicken broth, then bring to a boil while whisking rapidly. Reduce heat and simmer for several minutes or until thickened (continue stirring frequently to keep the sauce from burning). Stir in seasonings, parmesan cheese and one cup shredded cheddar cheese, then remove from heat.
Step 2: Place the uncooked pasta and shredded chicken into a medium sized crockpot.
Cooking pasta can be an art to learn in the crockpot, but also skips the step of having to precook and drain the pasta. I have made this casserole in the slow cooker before by precooking the pasta and placing it into the crockpot, then adding cold shredded chicken and peas, then pouring sauce (which was reduced to about 3/4 of the amount) over top. I cooked the casserole for an hour on low to heat up the chicken and peas, then kept it on warm for another hour until we were ready to eat. Penne pasta is also more forgiving in the crockpot than macaroni or bow tie pasta, which is why I recommend using Penne.
Step 2 continued: Pour the creamy sauce over the chicken and pasta, then cover.
Step 3: Cook the casserole on low for 2 hours, then add peas and stir well to ensure the pasta cooks evenly. Cover again and continue cooking for another hour or more until the pasta is cooked through and the peas are soft. When the casserole is cooked through, add additional shredded cheese on top and allow it to melt.
Pasta in a creamy sauce tends to stick to the edge of the crockpot and harden before the middle pieces are cooked through. Which is why I definitely recommend stirring the casserole half way through slow cooking. You can also use a crockpot liner if you wish to make the clean up process easier.
Serve and enjoy!
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