In today's installment of Speedy Suppers, we bring you Chef Meg's Healthy Chicken-Vegetable Casserole, a makeover of those dump-and-bake comfort recipes we all remember from childhood. This healthy meal has far less sodium and fat than a traditional creamy chicken casserole, and it's packed with vegetables, too.
Chef Meg uses a standard--but lighter--white sauce instead of canned, condensed soup, and she uses whole-wheat pasta for a burst of fiber. Bell peppers add another layer of flavor.
Even better--this homemade meal will be on the table in under 30 minutes, and it serves 6. That means you've got lunch ready for the next day!
Find out how to make this tasty and simple meal.
Servings Per Recipe: 6
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat: 8.8 g
Cholesterol: 51.4 mg
Sodium: 174.1 mg
Total Carbs: 35.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 8.8 g
Protein: 27.7 g
12 oz chicken breasts, boneless and skinless, poached, and cubed into 1/2 inch squares
2 T all purpose flour
2 T butter, unsalted
10 oz skim milk
1 pinch white pepper
1 t Italian seasoning
1 T parmesan cheese, grated
7 oz penne pasta, whole wheat
2 red, yellow or orange bell peppers, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
2 heads, approx. 12 ounces broccoli, chopped
1/3 c monterey jack or cheddar cheese
nonstick cooking spray
Place chicken breasts in a small saucepan with a lid. Cover chicken with cool water. Place saucepan over a burner on low to moderate heat. Bring to a simmer; cover with lid and poach for approximately 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked. (This step can be done the night before.)
Prepare the white sauce by placing the butter in a small sauce pot that has been preheated over medium heat. Once the butter foams, add flour and stir for 1 minute; try not to let the mixture turn brown. Add milk to the mixture and continue to stir until it starts to bubble. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add pepper, Italian seasoning and parmesan cheese to the sauce. Stir to combine. Cook pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, preheat oven to 350 degrees. During the last minute of the pasta's cooking, add the chopped broccoli to the water. Allow to simmer for one minute.
Drain the pasta and broccoli. Spritz the bottom and sides of a 9 X 13 oven-proof casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, combine the pasta and broccoli with the chicken and chopped vegetables; cover with the sauce. Place in the baking dish. Sprinkle with the Monterey jack cheese and cover with foil.
Bake for 20 minutes; remove foil and continue to bake until cheese is melted.
Find the full recipe here. If you'd like to try more of Chef Meg's recipes, visit her Healthy Home Cooking section on SparkRecipes.com.
Have you tried this recipe? Will you? What kind of recipes would you like Chef Meg to create?