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Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Pasta Bake



This is one casserole I make that Todd doesn't mind eating pasta in. Probably because it is off-set by plenty of broccoli, chicken and cheese!  And of course there is that tasty sauce!


This is a bit different than most chicken and broccoli casseroles out there in that you are not going to be using sour cream, mayonnaise or creamed soup.  Everything here is totally un-processed and I might add very yummy!


I use whole wheat pasta because I am a type 2 Diabetic and whole wheat pasta is more diabetic friendly and considered a healthy carb, or low GI.


I also tend to use low fat cheese and milk in this. There are plenty of other flavours going on that you won't miss the full fat versions of anything.  Trust me on this.


But of course, if you are not bothered about fat, calories or glucose, by all means use full fat ingredients and regular pasta!


Myself, I am rather fond of it just the way it is.  I quite like whole wheat pasta.



The sauce is very simple . . .  a simple bechamel, cream type of sauce, flavoured with garlic and Dijon mustard.  There are also some herbs, seasoning and of course cheese.  Don't be tempted to use the already grated cheese.  They add a starch to it to keep it from sticking together and you won't get the same velvet  texture to your sauce. I always grate my own for just this reason. This time I did use a mix of white and orange cheddars, mostly for colour.



*Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Pasta Bake*
Serves 6 
 
 
Cooked chicken along with whole wheat pasta, and our favourite vegetable, broccoli, bake together in a delicious cheesy sauce!  

 
500g whole wheat pasta shapes (1 pound)
two chicken breasts, cooked and coarsely torn up
2 cups broccoli florets
2 TBS butter
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 TBS flour
450ml milk ( 2 cups)
salt and black pepper to taste
1 TBS Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp Italian herbs
1 tsp dry parsley flakes
245g grated strong cheddar cheese, divided



Preheated the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.  Butter a large shallow casserole dish.  Set aside. 


Cook the pasta according to the package directions to al Dente, adding the broccoli florets the last two minutes of cooking time. Drain well and rinse. Toss together with the  chicken in a bowl. 


Melt the butter in a saucepan.  Add the garlic and cook stirring over medium low heat without browning until quite fragrant.  Whisk in the flour and Dijon mustard.  Slowly whisk in the milk.  Cook, whisking constantly until the mixture bubbles and thickens.  Whisk in the paprika, parsley flakes and Italian herbs.  Stir in 3/4 of the cheese and stir to melt. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.  Pour this mixture over the broccoli and chicken, tossing together to coat.  Pour into the prepared baking dish and scatter the remaining cheese over top. 


Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes until heated through and bubbling.  Let stand 5 minutes prior to serving.

A few notes: 
  • Low fat ingredients can be used successfully
  • Recipe can successfully cut in half
  • Leftovers freeze well. (I freeze it in single serving size containers.)  I thaw before re-heating in the microwave.  This makes for a quick meal when on the run.
  • You can put this all together the day or evening before, cover and chill and then just bake it when you are ready to eat the day after.  Uncover and allow the chill to come off prior to baking. About 15 minutes at room temperature will do it.  Its a great make ahead meal!


I usually use This Recipe for poaching my chicken and I poach it the day before I am going to use it.  You can also use leftover cooked chicken.  I often cut this recipe in half, but this time I cooked the full version because I wanted to put some in the freezer for quick and easy meals when I get rather busy!  I hope you will give it a go.  I think it is something your family will really enjoy!  Bon Appetit!

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Marie Rayner
10 Comments
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10 comments:

  1. that looks wonderful, Marie...happy that it is all made from scratch too x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sue! I hope you make it and that it is enjoyed as much as we enjoy it! xo

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  2. I am so excited to make this dish, Marie, and I truly thank you for your advice. I never knew that packaged cheeses had the starch. Insane. A fact I will always remember. My mom made a recipe similar to this, but it has rice rather than pasta. I keep my carb intake down so I will try whole wheat pasta. We have pasta very rarely and it's a treat. Still, if I can eliminate a few grams, great.

    I'll let you know how it turns out. Thank you!

    Jane x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really hope you enjoy it Jane! When I was taking my diabetic cooking course I was told that wholewheat was always better if I was going to intake carbs because of it's low GI properties! You can always lower the pasta and up the broccoli as well, if you really want to cut it back. I have done that before and it's still delicious! xo

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  3. Thanks Marie! Like Jane I had something similar w/ rice..not pasta:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do a rice one also Monique, but it has sour cream, mayonnaise and curry powder in it. Plus the rice of course! This is slightly different and tastes fabulous! xo

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  4. I also grate my own cheese, mostly because it's so much cheaper to do so. I wait until there is a special on blocks of cheese and I buy up a 2kg block. I have a grater attachment to my mixer, so I cut the cheese up into 200g pieces and bag them up and pop them in the freezer. I then always have grated cheese on hand.

    This looks lovely and I will try it this week. I love broccoli (my son used to call it "little trees") and pasta. It looks very tasty.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My children used to call it "little trees" also Marie! It is a vegetable I had never seen as a child but came to love as an adult. That is a great tip for grating the cheese ahead and freezing it when its on special! Thanks! xo

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  5. This is one yummy meal that I never get sick of Marie!
    I love reading ur posts!
    Big hugs!

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