Saturday, April 30, 2011

Baked Penne with Chicken, Broccoli, and Spinach

Cheesy pasta baked to perfection loaded with veggies:what more could you ask for? I saw this recipe over at Mel's Kitchen Cafe and new I had to try it out. It was a hit other. Now my kids and hubby still prefer pasta with a boring marinara or meat sauce but they ate this up.(well should I say my kids did as my husband is gone at the present time for work) I will be making this yummy pasta again and if you are on a diet and don't like to use cream in anything than use fat free half and half it will do the trick. I also used whole wheat pasta to bump up the fiber and goodness.

Baked Penne with Chicken, Broccoli, Spinach adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe
3/4 cup bread crumbs
2 T. butter, melted
1 bunch broccoli, cut and trimmed and steamed
2-3 cups chopped fresh spinach
1 lb. whole wheat penne
1 -2 T. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 T. minced garlic
1/2 tsp Thyme
1 tsp basil
1/4 cup flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup cream or fat free half and half
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 chicken breast, trimmed and cut into bite size pieces
4 oz. smoked or plain mozzarella cheese,shredded
8 oz chopped sun dried tomatoes

In a small bowl combine the bread crumbs and butter and set aside. Preheat oven to 400 Degrees. In a large pot, bring water to a boil and cook pasta to al dente. Drain the pasta. In the same pot, pour in the olive oil and warm over medium high heat. Add the chicken, onions and garlic and cook till chicken no longer pink. Add in the sun dried tomatoes, thyme, basil, salt and pepper. Stir in the flour and cook until golden, about 1 minute. Whisk in the broth and cream and bring to a simmer and cook until thickened about 6-7 minutes. Add in the spinach and cook until wilted mix the sauce with the pasta, steamed broccoli, and mozzarella cheese. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan. Sprinkle with the bread crumbs. Bake until bubbly and crumbs are lightly browned. About 20 minutes.

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