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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.

While the pasta and veg are doing their thing, whip up a quick and easy cheese sauce. Good grief, is there anything more beautiful than a bright yellow, super melty, cheddar cheesy sauce? Mmm Mmmmm. This may look like the processed cheese-in-a-box stuff you get from the store, but it’s not! This cheesy goodness is homemade and about 1000x tastier too. Butter, flour, milk, chicken broth, cheddar cheese, and a little bit of seasoning turns into liquid gold right before your eyes.

Once the pasta is done cooking and drained and the cheese sauce is finished, it’s time to mix everything together. Wait… where does the chicken come into play??  I don’t know about you, but on busy nights when I can barely get a meal on the table before it’s time to fly out the door to baseball games or football practice, I don’t have time to mess around with raw chicken. Maybe I’m a total weirdo, but it just seems like dirtying a cutting board with raw meat and cooking it is just too much effort every single night. #lazy

A few months ago, I shared my recipe for making perfect shredded chicken in the slow cooker, and I like to make big batches of it to keep in the freezer for meals just like this. I pull a bag of the pre-cooked chicken out of the freezer the night before to thaw and toss it into the cheese sauce to let it warm through. It saves a ton of time and effort, which is something I’m sure all of you can appreciate!
  • 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. ìn a large pot of boìlìng salted water, cook pasta accordìng to package dìrectìons. Add broccolì durìng last 2-3 mìnutes of cook tìme. Draìn and set asìde.
  2. Melt butter ìn a large skìllet over medìum heat. Add flour and cookìng, stìrrìng, for 1 mìnute. Slowly whìsk ìn mìlk and chìcken broth and season wìth garlìc powder, salt, and pepper. Cook, stìrrìng constantly, untìl mìxture ìs bubblìng and thìckened. Remove from heat and add cheddar cheese. Stìr untìl melted.
  3. Get Full Instruction >>http://lovegrowswild.com

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