Vegetable-Stuffed Casserole Prepped in 30 Minutes

Carrots, snap peas, mushrooms, tomatoes, and peppers combine in this veggie-filled casserole that also features chicken breast and cheeses. It requires just 30 minutes of hands-on time.

Looking for an easy casserole that's brimming with vegetables? Try this tortellini and garden vegetable bake. Cheese tortellini is tossed with chicken breast, a rainbow of colorful veggies and a flavorful creamy sauce for a delicious make-ahead dinner. Let's begin by cooking the tortellini. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add 10 ounces of dried cheese filled tortellini. You can also use 2 9-ounce packages of fresh tortellini if you prefer. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. In the last 5 minutes of cooking, add 1 thinly sliced medium carrot. With 1 minute left, add 1-1/2 cups of sugar snap peas that have been halved crosswise. Drain the pasta and vegetables and set them aside for now. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Now we'll get started on the chicken. Melt a tablespoon of margarine or butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat and add a cup of sliced, fresh mushrooms and 1 pound of skinless boneless chicken breast that have been cut into bite-sized pieces. Cook and stir the chicken and mushrooms until the chicken is no longer pink- about 5 minutes. Remove them from the skillet and set them aside. To make the sauce, place 1/3 cup of chicken broth in a screw top jar and add 2 tablespoons of snipped fresh oregano. You can also substitute dried oregano here if you'd like- just 1-1/2 teaspoons. Add 2 teaspoons of flour, 3 quarters of a teaspoon of garlic salt and half a teaspoon of pepper. Cover the jar and shake it until the liquid is smooth. Pour it into the skillet and add 1 cup of milk. Whisk the sauce and cook it over medium heat until it's thickened and bubbly. Now you'll add an 8-ounce package of cream cheese that you've cubed and softened. Feel free to use light cream cheese here. Cook the sauce stirring in the cream cheese until it's smooth. Remove it from the heat and then stir in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Then add the pasta mixture, the cooked chicken and mushrooms, one cup of quartered cherry tomatoes and 1 small red or green pepper that you've coarsely chopped. Toss the mixture until it's evenly coated. Transfer it to a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish or a shallow 3 quart casserole dish. Cover the pan and bake it in the oven until it's heated through about 30 to 35 minutes. If you'd like to make it ahead of time, cover and refrigerate it for up to 24 hours. Take the casserole out of the oven and give it a good stir. Lastly, sprinkle it with 2 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese. And there you have it- tortellini and garden vegetable bake either for a potluck or a family dinner. It's a nice change from the usual casserole and sure to be a hit.