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Chicken and Broccoli Shells and Cheese

We’re serving up some good, ‘ol mac and cheese today! Only this version feels a little more grown up than the Spongebob-shaped stuff my kids try to sneak in the shopping cart.  i’ve rounded out the dish with a helping of tender chicken and fresh broccoli to make it a full-blown meal vs. just a side item, and i promise you… there won’t be any leftovers!
Start by boiling your pasta… I like to use classic shells for mine, but go crazy with whatever shape you like! During the last few minutes of cooking time, toss the chopped broccoli into the boiling water.

Whip up a cheese sauce, while the pasta and veg are currently doing their thing. Good grief, is there anything more beautiful than a bright yellow melty? Mmm Mmmmm. It is not, although this may look like the processed stuff you get from the shop! This goodness is home made and about 1000x more tasty . A small amount of seasoning, milk, pasta, chicken broth, cheddar cheese, and butter turns into gold right.

The cheese sauce is completed and drained and When the pasta is done cooking, it is time. Wait... where does the chicken come into play?? On nights when I could get a meal on the table until it is time to fly out the door to soccer practice or baseball games, I do not have the time, although I don't know about you. It seems like dirtying a board and cooking it's just too much effort each and every night, although I'm a weirdo. #lazy

For making shredded chicken in the slow cooker, I shared my recipe, and I love to make massive batches of it to keep like this. I chuck it to allow it to warm through and pull a bag of the chicken from the freezer the night before to thaw. It saves a bunch of effort and time, which is something I'm sure you all can appreciate!

Recipe adapted from here
  • 8 ounces medìum shell pasta
  • 3 cups broccolì, chopped ìnto florets
  • 2 chìcken breasts, cooked and dìced (see recìpe here)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup mìlk
  • 1 cup chìcken broth
  • ¼ teaspoon garlìc powder
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions. Add broccoli. Drain and set aside.
  2. Melt butter in a large skillet over moderate heat. Add cooking and flour for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in milk and chicken broth and season with pepper, salt, and garlic powder. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened and bubbling. Remove from heat and add cheddar cheese. Stir until melted.
  3. Add the drained pasta, broccoli, and chicken and stir to blend. If sauce gets too thick, add milk as needed to thin.

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