This Italian chicken meal prep casserole comes together with just 7 ingredients! Tender chicken, juicy tomatoes, spinach, and Italian seasoning come together in a delicious, family friendly, gluten free meal. There’s a vegetarian option in the recipe notes!
This posted is sponsored by Ello Products. They know how to meal prep and I am grateful for the opportunity to use their products in this meal prep recipe!
Hi friends! As you can tell, it’s meal prep casserole week on Cotter Crunch. First, vegan cauliflower bake. Next, this Italian chicken. If you eat a lot of chicken (like we do at our house), coming up with chicken meal prep ideas is a must. This Italian chicken recipe is one of my favorites, simply because it is so easy to make ahead. Plus, it’s healthy and flavorful. The fact that I love meal prep recipes in general isn’t a bad thing either. Meal prep saves SO. MUCH. TIME.
What chicken is best for meal prep?
When I make chicken casseroles like this one, I like to use any leftover chicken that I have in my fridge. If you don’t have any cooked chicken leftovers on hand, you can get a rotisserie chicken, or cook a couple of boneless chicken breasts.
Using white meat is generally a healthier choice for my Italian chicken recipe. But, if you are making low carb or keto chicken meal prep recipes, dark meat, which is high in fat, could also be a great option.
How to store chicken meal prep recipes
Making meals ahead is fantastic on its own, but secretly, my favorite thing about meal prep are the containers. I love the variety! Granted, not all of the meal prep containers on the market are good quality. In fact, some are seriously NOT winner winner chicken dinners.
Here’s what I look for in good quality meal prep containers:
- Easy to wash
- Oven safe
- Pretty enough to serve meals from
Guess what?! Ello products are safe to use, AND they are “clean and green”! You know what I mean? (Haha, see what I did there? It’s rhyme time!)
Seriously, the meal prep containers from Ello are good for the environment. The company’s mission is to replace single-use food and beverage containers with products that help you feel good and look good. Based on what I’ve seen in the Ello DuraglassTM Meal Prep Line, the mission is accomplished.
About Ello Products
I have some important reasons to love these products.
- Portable – The Ello DuraglassTM food storage containers are perfectly portable. They fit easily inside of lunch bags and backpacks.
- High quality construction – Each container features a crystal clear Tritan lid. Oh, and they are airtight and leak-proof. Which means they keep food fresher for longer. Plus, they are perfect to take on-the-go. Work, school, potlucks and tailgate parties.
- Functional – The containers have a durable silicone sleeve that serves two purposes. It acts as a built-in trivet and it protects the glass from scratches and cracks. One of my favorite features of the containers is that they can go from freezer to oven to table, all without removing the silicone sleeve!
- Environment-Friendly – Every part of the containers are dishwasher safe and BPA free.
If you want to make things super convenient and equally awesome, Ello makes a 10-piece meal prep set. It comes in really cute color combinations too.
How to make the chicken meal prep casserole
You seriously need next to nothing to make this recipe. Aside from the chicken and fresh veggies, the ingredients are basic pantry staples.
- Cooked chicken – Like I mentioned earlier, this meal prep recipe is the perfect use for leftovers.
- Sour cream OR paleo mayo
- Zucchini – You can even use frozen zucchini noodles if you want to.
- Tomatoes – Fresh cherry tomatoes or canned diced tomatoes, your choice!
- Italian seasoning – Buy it pre-made or make your own blend.
Assembling the Italian chicken casserole (VIDEO)
To assemble the casserole takes about 5 minutes (watch video above). You just need to layer the ingredients into a greased casserole dish and top it with a bit of optional Parmesan cheese. Place it into the oven for enough time to heat everything through and dinner is done!
MEAL PREP TIP for MULTIPLE CONTAINERS
When I am cooking this chicken casserole for the sole purpose of meal prep, I usually prep all the ingredients, then divide the ingredients into 3 smaller glass (reheatable) meal prep containers. I have found that one 8×4 casserole fills 3 medium glass containers or 4 small containers. If you don’t have glass meal prep containers, simply bake the casserole in a glass 8×12 or 9×13 glass dish (Ello has a great duraglass baking dish!), then once baked, divide into containers of choice.
If you want to make this italian chicken dish as a make ahead meal, simply prep the ingredients, layer into a large glass casserole dish, then place in refrigerator until ready to bake. The casserole should stay fresh in the fridge for up to 3 days before baking.
That being said, if you end up having just a smidge of chicken casserole leftovers (shocking, I know), then I highly recommend you repurpose them in a salad!
Italian Chicken Casserole Lunch bowl!
- Spinach on the bottom
- Leftover casserole on top
- A few extra herbs, spices, parmesan, tomatoes.
- Italian dressing!
- Bam –> NO LEFTOVERS behind!
We used the Ello 5 cup Lunch bowl for this awesome use of leftovers. Which is perfect for salads, grain bowls or leftover pasta.
Other chicken meal prep ideas
- Za’atar Chicken Bowls with Tomato and Cucumber Raita (Paleo Meal Prep)
- Anti-Inflammatory Diet Meal Prep Recipes Challenge
This Italian chicken meal prep casserole is a great use for leftover chicken or rotisserie chicken. It’s simple to make ahead and very kid friendly.
- 1 lb cooked chicken or uncooked boneless chicken strips (to be cooked in 1 tbsp olive oil) – see notes
- 1/3 cup cultured sour cream or paleo mayo
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning or blend of spices, preferably with garlic powder and oregano included.
- 1 to 2 cups zucchini, sliced or spiralized (pressed with paper towel to remove extra water)
- 2 cups spinach leaf (torn)
- 1.5 cups fresh cherry tomatoes, diced. Drain excess tomato juice before using. (If using canned tomatoes, use 14 oz can Italian herb flavor)
- Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
- Optional: grated parmesan cheese for top of casserole
Before you begin – See blog post for multiple meal prep dish prep! TO AVOID EXCESS WATER in casserole, you can lightly bake zucchini slices in oven at 400F for 10 minutes before adding them to the casserole. This will remove excess water.
- Preheat oven to 350F and oil your casserole dish/meal prep container. If meal prepping without baking, skip preheating oven.
- Toss chicken in sour cream or mayo. Mix in Italian seasoning. Set aside.
- Next, layer zucchini and spinach at the bottom of the casserole dish. Save extra spinach for top. If you are using zucchini noodles, be sure to drain excess liquid from the noodles before layering at the bottom.
- Place chicken mixture on top of spinach and zucchini.
- Lastly, spoon diced tomatoes on top of the chicken. Add any extra spinach on top.
- If desired, add grated Parmesan to top of casserole. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes or until top is golden brown. If using for meal prep, cool the baked casserole before freezing. (Freeze for up to 3 months)
- Oven safe meal prep casserole dish I use.
- If using uncooked chicken strips, first heat skillet on medium high heat with 1 tbsp oil. Place chicken strips in pan and cook, flipping every 2-3 minutes, until chicken is cooked, about 10 to 15 minutes, or until center is no longer pink and internal temperature reaches 165F. Place cooked chicken strips in a bowl and shred with fork, then mix in sour cream and Italian spices.
- Quick Cooked Meat Options – chicken sausage or gluten free Italian sausages (cooked and chopped) may also be used to replace boneless chicken.
Vegetarian Option – For a vegetarian option, simply make the recipe as shown, but leave out the chicken. Or, swap the chicken for pressed tofu or diced hard boiled eggs.
- Category: dinner
- Method: bake
- Cuisine: Italian
- Serving Size: 1 cup (includes cheese topping)
Keywords: Keto, paleo, meal prep recipes, Italian chicken, healthy, low carb, chicken meal prep
Keep up with the compassionate, eco-loving Ello Products on social media. They are full of gluten free inspiration!
Alright my friends! I hope this inspires you to meal prep more! I know it did for me. Also, only a few more weeks left of the anti-inflammatory kick start plan. If you want to win some of these ELLO products, then be sure to tag us in any recipes! @cottercrunch! Or post in our meal plan FB group! Cheers to 2020 and meal prep goals!