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chicken broccoli bake made with pasta and no condensed soup

Chicken Broccoli Bake

This Chicken Broccoli Bake is a classic comforting casserole with a healthier twist. It is made with tender chicken and broccoli, whole-wheat pasta, and the most delicious cheese sauce. This is a family-friendly recipe that everyone can enjoy. You can make it ahead for the week or freeze for an easy dinner later in the month.
4.67 from 6 votes
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Course: dinner, dinner recipe
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken broccoli bake, chicken broccoli casserole
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 10 people
Calories: 471kcal

Equipment

  • 5 - 6 quart pot
  • 9 x 13 ceramic baking dish
  • glass storage containers

Ingredients

  • 1 lb dry whole-grain short pasta elbows, fussili, or penne
  • 3 cups chopped or shredded cooked chicken breast
  • 12 ounce “steam in” package frozen broccoli florets cook according to package instructions.
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 ½ cups milk 1% or 2% milk
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces low fat cream cheese cut into chunks and softened
  • ½ cup grated parmesan or romano cheese
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup whole grain panko crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Next, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta for about 5 minutes and drain.
  • After the pasta is done then add it to the casserole dish. Place the cooked chicken breasts and broccoli on top of the pasta.
  • Using the same pot, make the cheese sauce. Pour the chicken broth and milk into a medium pan. Wisk in the flour until it’s dissolved. Cook over medium heat until it is thick and bubbly, about 10 minutes or so. This can take more or less time, so just keep an eye on it and wish the sauce consistently to keep the milk or flour from burning at the bottom of the pot.
  • After the sauce starts to thicken then whisk in the onion powder, granulated garlic, dry mustard powder, salt, and pepper.
  • Stir in the cream cheese until it melts, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Slowly stir in the parmesan and shredded cheddar cheese until it melts, about 2-3 minutes. Taste for seasoning and stir in additional salt if you need to.
  • Pour the cheese mixture over the chicken, broccoli, and pasta. Stir until the sauce coats all of the ingredients. Set aside for a moment.
  • Into a small microwave-safe bowl, melt one tablespoon of butter in the microwave for about 25 seconds or it melts.
  • Stir in the panko crumbs into the melted butter. 
  • Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the top of the casserole.
  • Bake uncovered for 35 - 45 minutes or until bubbly, and the top is brown.

Video

Notes

Meal prep & Storage tips 
You can make this chicken broccoli pasta bake entirely ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. I recommend portioning out into glass containers for a quick individual lunch or dinner; when you’re ready to eat, heat it in the microwave for 1-2 minutes or until hot.
After you cook the pasta bake, you can also freeze it into portions for dinners later on.
Another way to prep this recipe ahead of time is to assemble all of the ingredients into the casserole dish, cover it, and store it in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. On cooking day, remove the cover and continue with the recipe. You’ll likely need to add extra cooking time if the casserole is cold.
If you’re not planning to make this casserole right away, freeze the assembled casserole for a future meal. Use disposable containers or freeze in the baking dish. If you store it in a disposable container, then you can cook from frozen. However, you will need to add on an extra 30 -45 minutes of baking time, maybe longer. I recommend taking the casserole out of the freezer 1-2 days beforehand to thaw in the refrigerator to considerable reduce the cooking time. For more tips, see my how-to freeze casseroles post.

Nutrition

Calories: 471kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 42g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 116mg | Sodium: 537mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 6g