WHY THIS CASSEROLE IS A MUST-TRY?
Made with wholesome ingredients like whole-wheat rotini, fresh broccoli, and shredded chicken, this dish is packed with fiber, protein, and essential vitamins and minerals to keep you feeling full and satisfied.
The creamy mushroom sauce adds a savory depth of flavor to the dish, while the melted sharp cheddar cheese on top makes it extra cheesy and delicious.
This casserole is lighter than the traditional recipe, as it is made with skim milk and less cheese, making it a guilt-free indulgence.
8 ounces (226g) uncooked whole-wheat rotini
1 large head of broccoli (about 1 pound or 454g of florets)
2 tablespoons (28g) butter or olive oil
1 small white onion, thinly sliced
8 ounces (227g) baby Bella (cremini) mushrooms, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons (24g) all-purpose flour
1 cup (240ml) chicken or vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups (360ml) skim milk
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
2 cups (8 ounces or 227g) shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
2 cups (about 10 ounces or 283g) diced or shredded cooked chicken
Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water until it is al dente. About 1 minute before the pasta is done, add the broccoli florets to the boiling water and stir to combine. Drain both the pasta and broccoli, and set aside.
In a large sauté pan, heat the butter or oil over medium-high heat. Add the sliced onion and sauté for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add the sliced mushrooms and minced garlic and sauté for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the mushrooms are cooked through.
Sprinkle the flour evenly over the onion mixture and stir until combined. Cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Then add the chicken or vegetable stock and stir everything together until most of the clumps are gone.
Add the milk, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper, and stir until combined. Continue cooking the sauce until it reaches a simmer. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup of the shredded cheese until it is combined. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if needed.
In a large 9 x 13-inch baking dish, combine the cooked pasta, broccoli, mushroom sauce, and diced or shredded chicken. Toss until combined, and smooth the casserole out into an even layer.
Bake the casserole, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Then remove the pan from the oven, sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese evenly on top of the casserole, and bake for 10 more minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Remove from oven and let the casserole cool for a few minutes before serving. Garnish with extra black pepper and/or fresh herbs, if desired.
You can use any kind of pasta you prefer, not necessarily whole-wheat rotini.
If you want to make this recipe vegetarian, you can omit the chicken and use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.
You can customize the recipe by adding your favorite vegetables or using different kinds of cheese.
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
In conclusion, this Healthier Broccoli Chicken Casserole is the perfect comfort food that is both delicious and nutritious. It is a crowd-pleasing dish that the whole family will love, and it is easy to make with simple ingredients. The creamy mushroom sauce adds a depth of flavor that perfectly complements the tender chicken and crisp broccoli. Plus, the use of whole-wheat pasta adds an extra boost of fiber and nutrients. This casserole is a great option for a weeknight dinner or for meal prep, as it can be easily reheated for leftovers. Give this recipe a try and enjoy a healthier version of a classic casserole!