This is a wonderful recipe from Matt's mom. We have made it using both chicken and turkey. With the little blast of cold weather we have had around here lately, a nice casserole always helps warm you up! This freezes really well and makes a good amount (so you can have it for leftovers or lunches).
Cook and drain a box of pasta (we prefer bow tie but you can use any kind)
-see note on cooking the pasta below
Have ready the equivalent of 4 chicken breast halves cooked and cut into bite size pieces
-remember you can use either turkey or chicken
-about the amount that you would want in a typical casserole pan
Saute these ingredients together:
butter or olive oil for sauteing
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped bell pepper
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped or sliced black olives (we usually add more)
small can of mushrooms (drained)- although fresh would probably be great
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 box of Velveeta cheese cut into cubes (we have also used the reduced fat and it turns out fine)
Stir and cook until melted.
At this point we usually add frozen peas or other veggies to add extra texture and nutrition.
Combine veggies/sauce, meat, and pasta. Mix well. Pour into a 9x13 casserole dish.
Top with 1 cup grated Parmesan.
Bake for 20-30 minutes in a 350 degree oven, until hot and bubbly.
Note: I usually do not cook pasta al dente. I like my pasta on the softer side. The one exception to that is when I am cooking the pasta further in a pasta bake or casserole. The pasta will get incredibly mushy and soft if you cook it too far. So...under cook the pasta just a bit!