June 16, 2012

Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Noodle Bake

Two nights ago, I defrosted some chicken breasts only to realize that there were only two in the package and that it wasn't enough to feed (what I had planned) my family of five. I wanted to make a stuffed chicken breast meal, but that would have required at least 4 more pieces of chicken for our dinner and leftovers for the husband's lunch the next day. Doh! I had to do some fast thinking, since the chicken was already thawed and it was approaching the "witching hour" (parents, you know what I'm talking about...). I went digging in the pantry and extra freezer to figure out something else at the last minute. I formulated a plan for a casserole, since I knew I could chop my skimpy amount of chicken up and spread it throughout the dish. This meal-in-one ended up being really tasty and worked out perfectly. It really wasn't anything super creative (I know I have at least 3 similar recipes that I've posted in the past...maybe more); but it was a nice spin on classic flavors, and got me out of a dinner crunch. Hooray for casseroles!

Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Noodle Bake

olive oil
2 chicken breasts
garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 large bag of frozen broccoli florets
garlic salt
1/2 box of whole wheat rotini pasta (or your favorite pasta shape)
1 can of cheddar cheese condensed soup
1/2 cup of sour cream
1/3 cup of cream cheese
6 slices of provolone cheese (or your favorite sliced cheese)
1/2 cup of shredded Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 sleeve of butter crackers (such as Ritz)
cooking spray

Place chicken breasts on cookie sheet and coat both sides with a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Broil on high for 5 minutes on each side, or until chicken is cooked through. Remove from oven when done, and let cool for 10 minutes. Once cooled, dice into chunks and set aside.

While cooking chicken boil pasta in salted water. Drain and set aside once the pasta is cooked al dente. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water.

Place frozen broccoli in a microwave-safe container with a lid. Splash a couple of teaspoons of water into the container before cooking. Crack the lid, so container is not completely sealed and steam can escape. Cook for 5-6 minutes in the microwave. Drain excess water from broccoli, sprinkle with garlic salt and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together soup, sour cream, and cream cheese until smooth and well combined. Use some pasta water to thin out to the proper sauce consistency (you may only need a couple of splashes, not the whole cup of water.) Set aside.

Melt butter in microwave. Crush crackers into crumbs (I used my hands, working with a few crackers at a time) and toss into butter mixture until well-coated. Set aside.

Switch oven setting from broil to bake at 350 degrees.

Coat casserole dish with cooking spray.

Add cooked pasta, cooked/diced chicken, and cooked broccoli to bowl with soup mixture. Toss to coat all ingredients. Season with additional salt and pepper, if needed.

Spread mixture into a casserole dish. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Layer cheese slices on top of Parmesan. Top casserole with buttery cracker crumbs and bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

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