Did you know that I don’t really cook all that often? Now I know that may sound strange since I do have a cooking blog and all. But if you have ever read our About Page, you would know that the trained chef in the family is my husband, Erik. I am much more the baker of the family.
Now Erik cooks our family some great meals. But he is not often home during the week nights. And my kids and I still have to eat right? So yes, I do have to get out of my comfort zone and cook up my family some dinner every now and then. When I cook dinner, I rely on my large collection of cooking magazines because I don’t feel nearly as comfortable branching out and trying my own thing with cooking like I do with baking.
Oh, and when I cook, I am really slow, and really, REALLY messy! You know those recipes that always beam about being made in thirty minutes? Yah, those always take me at least an hour. So I guess what I am trying to say is that if there is a dinner recipe that I can make, then anyone can make it.
I prefer dinners that aren’t too fancy or high tech. Just something yummy that I can get on the table quick for my kiddos! And whenever I can find a healthy meal that my kids will eat, I get really excited.
But I figured I could make it even healthier! So I used skim milk (instead of whole), used 25% less cheese than called for in the recipe (Which called for a whopping 4 cups) and used reduced fat cheese which uses 1% milk and has 13% less fat than regular cheese! And I thought the result tasted great and plenty cheesy with the benefit of being more fit for my family.
And the true sign of a hit meal is that my kids gobbled it up! Oh sure they tried to take out as much broccoli as possible. But I figure they had to have missed and eaten some of it, right? 😉
- 3 c. pasta wheels (or elbow macaroni would work fine)
- 2 boneless,skinless chicken breasts cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 t. salt
- 1/4 c. butter
- 1/2 c. all purpose flour
- 3 1/2 c. skim milk
- 2 c. reduced fat (1%) cheddar cheese (shredded)
- 1 c. reduced fat (1%) Italian Blend cheese (shredded)
- 1 10 oz. package of frozen broccoli, thawed and drained
- 1 c. panko crumbs
- 3 TBLS butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a large baking dish (9x 13 or the likes) with cooking spray
- Cook pasta according to the package directions.
- Sprinkle chicken with salt and melt butter in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until chicken is cooked through, stirring occasionally. About 4-5 minutes. Add flour and stir constantly until chicken is covered in flour and butter mixture. Then gradually stir in milk and cook, stirring occasionally for 5-6 minutes until mixture has thickened. Add cheese, stirring until it has melted. Stir in broccoli.
- Add pasta to the cheese mixture and stir until blended. Spoon everything into the prepared dish.
- In a small bowl, combine panko and melted butter and sprinkle evenly over the pasta in the dish.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until hot, bubbly and the crumbs have formed a crust.
- Serve and enjoy.