Broccoli, Chicken, and Cheese Pasta Bake

Broccoli, Chicken, and Cheese Pasta Bake 259 calories and 7 weight watchers points plus

This week I am on a low carb and comfort food kick! Monday I posted my new Turkey Chili Mac recipe; yesterday a new “no bread” roll up recipe went up; and today I give you a delicious comforting Broccoli, Chicken, and Cheese Pasta Bake.

I know it might seem a little odd but those who know me personally will tell you there is always a method to my madness. Well not really, half the time I don’t even know what day it is. But I will say this… there is a need, place, and role for both low carb and comfort food in your life. They are like the ying and yang of food. You need both. Without one life gets all off balanced – at least it does for me.

Let’s talk about this pasta bake. Originally, this recipe was supposed to include rice not pasta. Well, all week I thought I had rice in my pantry. Then this morning I go to get it and guess what? No rice. Sigh. I had no desire to head out into the freezing cold to get rice so I decided to figure out a substitute. I saw I had 2 cups elbow macaroni left over from the Turkey Mac so that is what I went with. Who doesn’t love a good hearty pasta bake on a snowy day? It was meant to be.

I cooked the pasta al dente – actually very al dente. The pasta should still be very firm when you put into the casserole dish. Don’t worry it will finish cooking as it bakes.

For the chicken I cooked 3 chicken breasts in my slow cooker earlier in the week. I used this basic shredded chicken recipe but I chopped it up instead of shredding it. I ended up with about 3 cups chopped chicken. You could always use a rotisserie chicken if you didn’t prepare chicken ahead of time.

To keep this recipe easy I used frozen broccoli florets. You can use fresh broccoli but then you need to clean it, chop it, and steam it. If that does not bother you then use fresh. For me the “steam in” bags of frozen broccoli are where it’s at.

Put the pasta, chicken, and broccoli in a 11 x 13 casserole dish as you cook the cheese sauce.

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To keep the cheese sauce on the lighter side I used a combination of chicken stock and 1% milk. I flavored it with granulated garlic, onion powder, and dry mustard. It get’s its cheesy creamy consistency from cream cheese, grated parmesan, and shredded cheddar.

When the cheese sauce is done pour it over the pasta, chicken, and broccoli. Give it a couple stirs until it is evenly distributed and coats all the ingredients.

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For the crunchy topping take ½ cup panko breadcrumbs and mix with 1 tablespoon of melted butter. I used to just put the panko on top without the butter but the butter makes it so much better.

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Then stick it in the oven at 350 degrees cook for 30 minutes. It will become bubbly, thick, creamy, and golden brown on top. Deliciously comforting in every way, shape, and form.

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A 1 cup serving of this baked pasta is 259 calories and 7 weight watchers points plus. The calories and points are kept under control because this pasta bake is filled lean chicken and broccoli – not just pasta. Also substituting chicken stock for some of the milk helps to reduce fat and calories. Enjoy!

5.0 from 3 reviews
Broccoli, Chicken, and Cheese Pasta Bake
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 2 cups dry elbow macaroni
  • 3 cups chopped cooked chicken breasts
  • 12 ounce “steam in” package frozen broccoli florets, heated
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 ½ cups 1% milk
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, cut into small chunks
  • ½ cup grated romano cheese
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar
  • ½ cup whole grain panko crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon butter
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In boiling hot salted water, cook the macaroni until it is very al dente, only about 5 minutes. The pasta should still be very firm. Drain and place pasta into an 11 x 13 casserole dish coated with cooking spray.
  3. Place the chicken and broccoli on top of the pasta.
  4. Pour the chicken broth and milk into a medium pan. I used the same pan pasta was cooked in.
  5. Whisk in the flour.
  6. Cook over low to medium heat until it is thick and bubbly, about 10 minutes or so. Whisking consistently.
  7. Whisk in onion powder, granulated garlic, dry mustard powder, and salt.
  8. Add in cream cheese and stir until it is completely melted, about 5-7 minutes.
  9. Slowly add in parmesan and shredded cheddar cheese. Stir until completely melted, about 3-4 minutes.
  10. Pour cheese mixture over the chicken, broccoli, and pasta. Stir until all ingredients are combined and evenly distributed.
  11. Using a small microwave safe bowl, melt one tablespoon of butter in the microwave for about 25 seconds or until completely melted.
  12. Combine butter and panko crumbs. Sprinkle crumb mixture over the top of the pasta mixture.
  13. Bake for 30 minutes or until browned and bubbly.
Notes
Make ahead instructions
This recipe comes together relatively easy when you have the chicken prepared ahead of time.
You can also completely assemble this meal and freeze before you bake. When ready to use let thaw overnight in the refrigerator and then continue with cooking. You might need to allow more time if it is still partially frozen.
This recipe can also be cooked completely and frozen into portions. Reheat on stove in the microwave. You might need to add a little chicken stock or milk to loosen it up a bit and make creamy.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 cup Calories: 259 Fat: 12 Carbohydrates: 26 WW Points +: 7 Fiber: 3 Protein: 17

 

Comments

  1. Melissa Freas says:

    This recipe looks yummy and I’ll probably make in the next couple of weeks. The shredded cheddar cheese is not listed with the ingredients. How much do you use? Thanks!

  2. I made this last night and it was a hit with the entire family!! Leftovers for lunch today! Thank you for all your recipes….they really help me with the quessing what’s for dinner!

  3. Catherine Brouillard says:

    Love your recipes! Do you use full fat cheese? Thanks. So happy I found your blog!

  4. If you were to make this with rice, would you cook the rice beforehand like the pasta (not 100%) or cook it all the way through? Love your blog!

    • I just tried this recipe today and it was SO GOOD! I used 2 cups of very slightly under-cooked rice instead of noodles and it turned out great.

  5. Brittany Ann says:

    I found this recipe (and website) by searching weight watchers recipes for several ingredients I had on hand; and let me say, I am extremely pleased! My only complaint is that I wish the serving size was bigger for the points! 😉 I know my boyfriend will enjoy this as well. This is definitely going be my go to cheesy pasta option from now on. I am hoping it holds up well in the freezer. Thank you very much for sharing!

  6. I am planning on making this meal for dinner tonight. Just wanted to know your thoughts, I was going to get all of this together and keep it in the refrigerator and have the kids put it in the oven while I am at work. It would be in the refrigerator for about 21/2 hours. Will that make the macaroni mushy?
    Thanks, Irene

  7. I made this recipe and added fresh chopped saute mushrooms and onions. Added fresh tomatoes. I used butter whole grain crackers instead of bread crumbs. My roommates loved it.

  8. Bob Hartley says:

    Just found this recipe when looking for chicken, broccoli, and cheese bake that didn’t use canned soup. Absolutely yummy. Halved it (two of us – fur servings), but made it exactly as written – no changes. It’s a keeper – thanks!!!!!!

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  1. […] find it in my chicken and broccoli cheddar quinoa bake, buffalo macaroni and cheese, and also my chicken broccoli pasta bake. You will different spices used and maybe other things like yogurt or other ingredients thrown in […]

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