Broccoli-Chicken Mac & Cheese


Continuing on with my comfort food theme of late I decided to give this Broccoli-Chicken Mac & Cheese a try.  I am not really a fan of basic mac and cheese, but I do like the jazzed up versions.  Nothing screams comfort like pasta, cheesy sauce, and other flavorful bits all mixed in with it!

We both thought this was really good.  It has a rich creamy/cheesy feel to it, but the best part is that you are saving so many calories by using laughing cow cheese in this dish.  I used garlic and herb as suggested in the recipe, but I bet it would be good with the french onion variety or perhaps some of the others as well.  I used oricchiette, but the person who posted it used shell noodles.  The last change I made was to use half and half in place of the milk.  I know it undid some of the benefit of using the laughing cow cheese, but I had some left over from another recipe and I didn’t want to waste it.  I used probably about 1/2 cup of that, and 1/2 cup of fat free milk.

Anyway, this dish is a complete meal, comes together easily, and would please even the pickier eaters (as long as you can actually get yours’ to try things that is lol).  It also looks very nice on the plate with all the colors, I would just suggest tossing it a bit more gently than I did since I broke up a lot of my broccoli in my haste to get dinner on the table.  What can I say, I was hungry! lol

 

Broccoli-Chicken Mac & Cheese

Ingredients :

  • 8 oz. large macaroni noodles (or whatever noodle you prefer)
  • 3 cups small broccoli florets
  • 2 large chicken breasts (about 1 lb), cut into bite-sized pieces
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp. oil (I used oil from the sun-dried tomatoes)
  • 6 oz. laughing cow lite cheese wedges (I used Garlic & Herb)
  • 3/4 – 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

Directions :

  1. Cook macaroni noodles in a large pot of salted, boiling water. Add broccoli to the pot 3 minutes before noodles are done cooking, then drain well and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, season chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add chicken and cook until no longer pink. Remove to a plate and set aside. In the same skillet, add cheese, milk, sun-dried tomatoes, salt, and pepper, then stir until cheese is melted, and sauce is thick. Add cooked chicken, noodles, and broccoli to the skillet then stir well to combine. Add more milk if sauce isn’t creamy enough, then serve.

Recipe from Iowa Girl Eats

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Cheesy Chicken Stroganoff Bake


If you are looking for a dish low in calories, while still allowing you to eat your fill, this is a great one for you.  It definitely resembles that stroganoff taste, but tastes lighter.  My husband liked it, but when asked to elaborate he said it tasted like health food lol.  Well he’s right, it is health food, but that’s not a bad thing.

It came together easily, and I didn’t change a thing.  I would say it is somewhat thinner than I might have liked, but not terribly so.  I didn’t get a chance to eat the leftovers (my husband took them to lunch) but I imagine by then it soaked things up a bit better.  I almost broke from the directions and put more pasta in, but I really wanted to give the dish a chance because of the low calorie count.    For a whopping 2 cups it boasts only 390 calories.  And while I know my husband would have appreciated more pasta, I was fine with the smaller amount.

Overall, if you are watching what you eat, and don’t mind compromising just a bit on those comfort food dishes this is one to try!

Cheesy Chicken Stroganoff Bake

Makes : 4 servings

Ingredients :

  • 5 oz. whole-wheat or multi-grain rotini pasta, uncooked
  • 6 cups small broccoli florets
  • 12oz. boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • optional : salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder to taste (I just did salt and pepper)
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 11/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup (about 1 can) 98% fat-free condensed cream of mushroom soup (I used the whole can)
  • 1/4 cup light sour cream
  • 1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 2 T. reduced-fat grated Parmesan cheese

Directions :

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9×13 inch baking pan with nonstick spray.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions, adding broccoli to the boiling water for the last 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, season chicken if you like (I definitely recommend this!). Bring a large skillet sprayed with nonstick spray to medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, onion, and garlic and cook and stir for about 2 – 3 minutes. Add chicken and cook and stir until chicken is cooked through, about 8 minutes. Add soup and sour cream and cook and stir until hot and well mixed. Remove from heat. Add drained pasta and broccoli to skillet and mix well.
  4. Spoon mixture into baking pan, cover with foil, and bake 15 minutes. Uncover, top with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, and bake uncovered until cheese is melted, about 3 – 5 minutes.

Recipe from Callie Cooks

 

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Eggs Baked In Bread


I picked this recipe because I was honestly  just curious how it would turn out.  It sounded good… bread, eggs, cheese and broccoli.  I was just curious as to how the egg would actually turn out, and also the broccoli.  As I was preparing it for the oven I had a lot of doubts.  I imagined the broccoli would dry out or burn, and the eggs would either become very hard or spill off the side.  During assembly one of the eggs actually did spill over the side because I hadn’t made the hole big enough or perhaps I just put too much cheese and broccoli in.  I wiped up the mess so it wouldn’t burn and managed to salvage that yolk and most of the whites so I just put it in as it was.  I was baking my bacon at the same time and checking on that often so every time I would peak in there and see the eggs were nowhere near set up I would panic and start thinking of a back-up plan in my head.  Really up to the last minute I was sure it wasn’t going to turn out…… but somehow magic happened and it not only worked, but surprised me in the textures of the egg and broccoli.

The bread did not burn as I feared it would at that temperature for that long, though the ends did get pretty crusty since it was already a crusty piece of bread.  The broccoli sort of steamed in the bread leaving it moist and keeping the bread soft inside which was a nice contrast to the crusty outsides.  The eggs on the ends did cook more fully and the yolks, while not unpleasant, were solid.  I chose to make one large roll rather than cutting them into individuals prior to cooking so the two inside eggs didn’t turn completely solid like the two outside ones.  They were fully cooked, but the yolks took on a thick creamy sauce-like texture that really took this to the next level.  I would suggest cutting your bread before hand to ensure even cooking, and also to dispose of the very ends of the bread as they get a bit too hard.

The recipe was kind of general on some things… such as using a “sourdough sandwich roll” and how to stuff the ingredients inside.  I bought one of those really large sourdough loaves, and rather than cut it in half like you would if you were making a sandwich roll I just took enough off the top of the roll to level it off and make the entire thing crust-less on the top.  I wanted to make sure it was deep enough for stuffing and that worked out well.  One tip I have would be to not only make your holes big enough to accommodate an egg and some cheese and broccoli, but when putting the eggs on top do it very slowly and sort of stretch the holes a little with your fingers to allow the egg to settle into the bread rather than sit on top, or in the case of one of mine spill off the side!  The recipe called for mozzarella but I found I was out when I went to grab some and so I just used some pepper jack instead.  I am sure you could use whatever cheese you like though.  Same thing with the seasonings… the recipe mentioned chili powder in the list of ingredients, but then it wasn’t mentioned in the steps so I left it off not really thinking I wanted any on and it was good with just salt and pepper.

There are probably many ways you can alter this to suit your tastes, or improve on it, but the basic idea is definitely simple and also a little bit fun.  Perhaps some fresh herbs on top, or bacon crumbles.  Throw some ham inside.  Kick it up with a little hot sauce.  The sky is the limit.  All you have to do is put those doubts aside and trust that it will work!  As I mentioned the recipe I followed was little unclear on a couple of things so I am going to just elaborate on the recipe below to include the steps I took.

 

Eggs Baked In Bread

serves : 2-4

Ingredients :

  • 1 large sourdough loaf (unsliced)
  • 1/2-3/4 cup broccoli florets (make them on the small side)
  • 1/4-1/3 cup mozzarella, shredded
  • 4 eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh Parmesan, grated

Directions :

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F., and line a baking sheet with foil. 
  2. Slice just enough off the top of the roll to leave a leveled crust-less top on your bread.  Make 4 holes across evenly spaced, digging out some of the bread.  There should be enough room for a little bit of broccoli, cheese and an egg in each hole. 
  3. Start by putting some of your broccoli into the bottom of each of those 4 holes, then stud the bread all around the holes by poking the broccoli into it.  Next put cheese into the holes over the broccoli, but leave room for the eggs.
  4. Carefully crack an egg over each of the 4 holes, going slowly, and taking time to stretch the holes a bit to settle the egg into the bread without breaking the yolks.  Season to top with salt and pepper, sprinkle with Parmesan, and bake about 20-25 minutes or until eggs are set and bread is toasted. 
  5. **** Alternately, cut your roll into halves or fourths before stuffing them and arrange side by side to ensure more even cooking.  See notes above regarding the outer yolks cooking through more than the inside ones when left as one long roll.

Recipe from Divine Cusine Viva la Food!

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Day 129 : Cheesy Broccoli Pasta


Tonight’s recipe was supposed to be something else.  Instead of pasta, the cheesy broccoli sauce was supposed to be mixed with potatoes and stuffed back inside the baked potato shells.  Somehow  my potatoes did not turn out the way they should have and completely fell apart while I was digging them out.  There were also bad spots in some of them.  So I decided to continue with the sauce and just mix it in with some pasta.

It wasn’t bad, but I doubt it’s something I would make as stated again.  The idea was good though.  I just felt it needed a bit more flavor.  I have no idea how it would have tasted in the original recipe so I can’t really say if it was something that I just needed to adjust for the changes or not.  I would reserve some pasta water before draining just in case the cheese sauce was too thick to mix in well, but I managed ok tonight without.  It was certainly easy to make!

Cheesy Broccoli Pasta

Serves : 4                  Time to make :  20 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 8 oz. pasta, cooked al dente (I used some organic multicolored shells)
  • 1/3 cup shredded low fat cheddar
  • 1 1/2 cup broccoli florets
  • 6 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 3/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3 tsp. flour

Directions :

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile bring about 1/3 cup water to boil in a skillet.  Add broccoli, cover and cook for about 5 minutes.  Drain and set aside.
  3. Heat a small amount of oil in the same skillet and cook onion until soft.  Add the flour and stir.  Cook for about 30 minutes, being careful not to burn it.
  4. Add the milk, salt and pepper and whisk together, cooking for about another minute or two until thickened.
  5. Take off the heat, and add cheese, stirring until melted.
  6. Toss in the broccoli and crumbled bacon then mix in the pasta once drained.  If it’s a bit thick you can add some of the pasta water.

Published in: on May 10, 2011 at 7:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
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