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Cheesy Broccoli Chicken Pasta Bake

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Cheesy Broccoli Chicken Pasta Bake

Introduction

There’s nothing quite as comforting as a warm, cheesy casserole, and this Cheesy Broccoli Chicken Pasta Bake is no exception. This dish combines tender chicken, al dente pasta, and fresh broccoli, all smothered in a creamy cheese sauce and baked to golden perfection. It’s an ideal meal for a busy weeknight or a family gathering. Let’s dive into the step-by-step process to create this delicious bake.

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Instructions

  1. Preparation:
    • Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
    • Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with butter or non-stick spray.
  2. Cook the Pasta and Broccoli:
    • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
    • Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions until al dente.
    • In the last 2 minutes of pasta cooking, add the broccoli florets to the pot.
    • Drain the pasta and broccoli, then set aside.
  3. Prepare the Chicken:
    • If not already cooked, season the chicken breast with salt and pepper.
    • Cook in a skillet over medium heat until fully cooked, about 6-7 minutes per side.
    • Let the chicken cool slightly, then dice or shred it into bite-sized pieces.
  4. Make the Cheese Sauce:
    • In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
    • Add the minced garlic and chopped onion, cooking until softened and fragrant, about 3-4 minutes.
    • Stir in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes, until the mixture is lightly browned and forms a paste (roux).
    • Gradually whisk in the milk, ensuring there are no lumps.
    • Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens, about 5-7 minutes.
    • Reduce the heat to low and stir in the shredded cheddar and mozzarella cheeses until melted and smooth.
    • Season the sauce with the Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
  5. Combine Ingredients:
    • In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked pasta, broccoli, and chicken.
    • Pour the cheese sauce over the mixture and stir until everything is evenly coated.
    • Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish.
  6. Add Toppings:
    • In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs and melted butter.
    • Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the pasta bake.
    • Finally, sprinkle the grated Parmesan cheese on top.
  7. Bake:
    • Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the casserole is bubbling.
    • Let the dish cool for a few minutes before serving.

Tips and Variations

  • Protein Options: Swap the chicken for turkey, ham, or even tofu for a vegetarian version.
  • Vegetable Variations: Add other vegetables like bell peppers, peas, or mushrooms for more variety.
  • Cheese Choices: Use different cheeses such as Gruyere, Fontina, or Monterey Jack for a unique flavor profile.
  • Make-Ahead: This dish can be assembled a day in advance and refrigerated until ready to bake. Add an extra 10-15 minutes to the baking time if baking from cold.
  • Freezing: This pasta bake freezes well. Freeze unbaked, then bake from frozen at 350°F (175°C) for 40-50 minutes, or until heated through and bubbly.

Serving Suggestions

This Cheesy Broccoli Chicken Pasta Bake pairs wonderfully with a fresh green salad and crusty bread. For a heartier meal, consider serving it alongside a bowl of tomato soup or a side of roasted vegetables.

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Nutritional Information

Here’s a rough estimate of the nutritional content per serving (assuming 8 servings):

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  • Calories: 450
  • Protein: 30g
  • Carbohydrates: 35g
  • Fat: 20g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Sugar: 4g

Conclusion

This Cheesy Broccoli Chicken Pasta Bake is a delightful blend of flavors and textures, making it a crowd-pleaser for any occasion. With its creamy cheese sauce, tender chicken, and nutritious broccoli, it’s not only delicious but also a balanced meal. Plus, it’s easy to customize based on your preferences and what you have on hand. Give this recipe a try, and it might just become a staple in your meal rotation. Enjoy!

Source: badbatchbaking.com

Yield: 6

Cheesy Broccoli Chicken Pasta Bake

Cheesy Broccoli Chicken Pasta Bake

There's nothing quite as comforting as a warm, cheesy casserole, and this Cheesy Broccoli Chicken Pasta Bake is no exception. This dish combines tender chicken, al dente pasta, and fresh broccoli, all smothered in a creamy cheese sauce and baked to golden perfection. It's an ideal meal for a busy weeknight or a family gathering. Let's dive into the step-by-step process to create this delicious bake.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 5-6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lb. Rotini or Fusilli pasta or any you prefer
  • 1 lb. chicken, diced and seasoned to your liking rotisserie can also be used
  • 1 large crown broccoli, broken into small florets
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced thin
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1-12 oz can evaporated milk
  • 2/3 cup half and half start with 1/2 cup, adding more if needed
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste about 1/2 teaspoon each
  • 2 cups grated cheese, divided sharp cheddar and colby jack

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

  • In a large skillet, add 2-3 tablespoons olive oil and saute the chicken over medium heat until cooked through, flipping just once. Set aside chicken in a bowl tented with foil.

  • In the same pan, add a few tablespoons more of olive oil (or butter if you prefer). Add in thinly sliced onions and saute until they begin to soften, about 4 minutes. Add in garlic and stir until fragrant. Then sprinkle over the flour, stirring, and cook for one minute.

  • Meanwhile, fill a large pot with salted water, bring to a boil and cook noodles to al dente.

  • In the pan with onions, pour in the chicken stock mixing well until there are no clumps. Add in evaporated milk, half and half, dijon, and salt and pepper. Coninue cooking until it reaches a simmer.

  • Add in 1 cup of the grated cheese, stirring until melted. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. In a 9x13 casserole dish, add in the cooked pasta, broccoli florets, and chicken. Toss until evenly combined. Then pour over the sauce, tossing well until everything is coated.

  • Bake uncovered for 15 minutes, then remove the casserole dish, add the remaining cheese evenly over the top of the casserole and continue cooking for 10 minutes (or until cheese has melted).

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