Monday, January 23, 2012

Chicken and Vegetable Casserole... Lightened Up!

Tonight's dinner was such a success! We chose a recipe from my new favorite website SparkPeople. I love making casseroles, but they aren't always the healthiest, for example I highly doubt my chicken and broccoli casserole that requires two cans of cream of mushroom soup and tons and tons of cheese is really doing much for my weight loss.  We were able to find what looked like a really great recipe, so after our nightly run we headed off to Walmart to pick up a few supplies.  Let me tell you, this was one of our best dinners in a while... I'm talking Ben was licking the plate so good.  It wasn't the easiest to make, and I certainly don't suggest trying to make it on your own, but the end result was fabulous.
         What you need:
After baking

- About 2 chicken breasts cooked and cubed

- 2 Tbsp.  all purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 10 oz skim milk
- 1 tsp. italian seasoning
- 1 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese
- 7 oz whole wheat penne pasta
- 1 head of broccoli, chopped
- about 1/2 a bell pepper - diced
- about a 1/4 C white onion - diced
- 1 zucchini - chopped
- 1/3 C cheese of choice
- salt and pepper to taste 

How to make it:

We served ours with a spinach
salad and italian dressing!
Begin by cooking the chicken.  We lightly breaded it and pretty much let it sit in a frying pan for a good 15-20 minutes, but feel free to cook it to your liking.  Add butter into a pre-heated sauce pan.  Once the butter begins to foam add in the flour.  Stir continuously for about 1 minute.  Add in milk and heat to a boil, stirring often.  Once boiling, reduce heat and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.  While the sauce is simmering begin to cook the pasta.  When pasta is almost done add broccoli to the pot.  Strain both pasta and broccoli and set aside.  Returning back to your sauce, add in the parmesan, italian seasoning, and salt and pepper to taste.  Pre-heat you oven to 350 degrees and prepare for your kitchen to smell wonderful.
In a large bowl mix together the chicken, broccoli, and pasta.  Add in pre-chopped vegetables and mix again.  Cover with the white sauce. Lightly spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.  Place the mixture into the baking dish.  Top the dish with cheese.  Let bake for 20 minutes.

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