Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Light and Healthy Chicken, Broccoli, and Pasta Casserole

I've spent a lot of time in the kitchen lately, but sadly I have very little to show for it.  You know who I'm blaming?  The sun!  It just refuses to shine.  Rainy gloomy days.  Cloud coverage galore.  Can you believe the sun starts to set at 3:30 in the afternoon?  The nerve! Any pictures taken after 3:30 have shadows and the lighting is just terrible. Since normal people eat dinner after 3:30 you can understand how trying to get a picture of your dinner becomes an obstacle. 

I was tired of being thwarted by the sun, so today I started making dinner at noon and by 1:00 I was taking pictures.  Problem solved.  I'm so glad I was able to snap a decent picture of this casserole because it definitely deserves to be shared.

This is a light and healthy casserole but you would never know it.  It tastes very decadent and it's super creamy.  Pasta, shredded chicken, and broccoli tossed in a creamy garlicky cheese sauce with a crispy bread crumb topping.  It's delicious and totally family friendly.  My husband, who absolutely can't stand broccoli, ate two servings.  In fact the whole family wiped this casserole out.  There were no leftovers.

This is a great recipe to add to your light and healthy collection.  I think next time I'll make a double batch because this actually reheated very well and I would really love to have some leftovers.  

Chicken, Broccoli, and Pasta Casserole
Adapted from Skinnytaste
Serves 6, or less, depending

6 oz Ronzoni Smart Taste Pasta
2 tsp oil
4 cloves garlic, sliced thin
12 oz fresh broccoli florets, chopped
1 tbsp butter
1 medium shallot, minced
3 tbsp all purpose flour
1-3/4 cups fat free chicken broth
1 cup 1% milk
12 oz cooked shredded chicken breast
4 oz shredded reduced fat sharp cheddar
cooking spray
3 tbsp shredded parmesan cheese
2 tbsp seasoned breadcrumbs

Note: I used the breast meat from a rotissiere chicken  for this dish.   I also used 2% milk since that's what I had on hand

Cook noodles in salted water until al dente, or slightly undercooked by 2 minutes. Set aside.
Heat oil in a large skillet. Add garlic and cook on medium heat until golden, about 1 minute. Add the broccoli and a little salt, saute and cover the broccoli for about 3 minutes on medium heat until the broccoli begins to soften. Set aside.

 Preheat the oven to 375°. Lightly spray a 9 x 12 casserole dish with cooking spray.

In a large pot, heat butter over medium-low heat, when melted add the shallot and cook until soft, 2-3 minutes. Add the flour and a pinch of salt and stir well, cooking an additional 2-3 minutes on medium-low heat.

 Slowly whisk in the chicken broth until well combined over medium heat; whisk well for 30 seconds, then add the milk and bring to a boil. Simmer on medium heat, mixing occasionally until it thickens (about 6-7 minutes). Remove from heat and add reduced fat sharp cheddar and 1 tablespoon of the parmesan cheese; mix well until the cheese melts. Add the shredded chicken, noodles and broccoli to the sauce and mix well until evenly coated.

Pour into a casserole dish and top with parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs. Spray a little more cooking spray on top and bake for about 20 - 25 minutes. Place the casserole under the broiler a few minutes to get the crumbs crisp and golden (careful not to burn).
Servings: 6 • Serving Size: 1/6th • Old Points: 6 pts • Points+: 8 pts
Calories: 313 Fat: 9.9 g • Protein: 27.2 g • Carb: 31.2 g • Fiber: 4.4 g • Sugar: 2.6 g
Sodium: 256.7 mg (without salt)


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  2. This looks absolutely delicious and creamy and perfect for a dreary, rainy, cold day (like today). I can relate to trying to take pics this time of year. By the time I get home, it's already dark. It's either terrible pictures or no blog!

    The more I think about this dish, the more I'm sure it will be on next week's menu.

  3. I've started cooking dinner in the mornings...crazy but it's the only way!! This casserole sounds awesome! I'm so into all things cheesy lately.

  4. I'm glad I'm not the only one who gets foiled by the winter lighting, although these pictures look fabulous! I'm pinning this one to try soon! Looks like it's right up our alley!

  5. I hate chasing the sun and often resort to taking shots as you did midday. But I could sure polish off a bowl of your healthy casserole, sun or no sun.

  6. Seriously, right!? I'm so over the gloomy weather.

  7. Love the calorie lightness of this!
    I know all about the problem with light...since my move, my new kitchen has lousy lighting (which hopefully will be fixed today) and I'm having to move lamps to take photos. And here I am in sunny Florida, but, like you, I take a lot of photos at dinnertime...no sun.

  8. Gloomy, cloudy days always drive me to the kitchen. I try to use natural light as much as possible too, it is just easier.

    Another great recipe! Thanks for sharing.


  9. this is exactly what i'm in need of right now. healthy comfort food, YUM! i hear you with the darkness. the second i think that maybe i could bundle up and get the kids outside, it's nighttime...at 4:30. spring will be a welcome change!

  10. Yumm! That looks wonderful, definitely something my family would enjoy!

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