Speedy Suppers: Comforting and Light Chicken Casserole

15SHARES

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
10/8/2009 12:49 PM   :  110 comments   :  37,872 Views

Who's hungry?

Me, too!

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
Calories: 316.9
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

Ingredients

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



Directions

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?


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Comments

  • KATHYR46
    110
    Sounds great, I was looking for inspiration for supper. - 6/24/2014   11:27:25 AM
  • 109
    May try this tomorrow night.
    Thanks! :-) - 7/17/2012   3:57:17 PM
  • 108
    Sounds great. I love comfort food. - 6/18/2012   4:20:09 PM
  • 107
    The recipe sounds great and picture looks good too but I have a question. I am allergic to bell peppers. What should I replace them with? Also, would it work with cauliflower instead of broccoli as I do not like broccoli! Or is there some other substitute for the broccoli you would recommend?


    - 12/1/2011   12:10:15 AM
  • MAVISROY
    106
    this recipe is very delicious, my family really enjoyed it, will make it again for sure...thanks - 11/4/2011   11:57:48 AM
  • 105
    Looks yummy, can't wait to try it out! Thanks for sharing! :) - 8/8/2011   2:45:05 PM
  • 104
    oh baby does it sound good! - 4/25/2011   8:44:13 PM
  • ARIUS88
    103
    omg this sound so good. but i need something with more greens in it. yum! - 3/17/2011   9:50:32 PM
  • 102
    I agree there is no way you could start to make this and have it ready in 30 minutes. Cutting up everying, poaching the chicken, making the white sauce while boiling the pasta... just isn't going to happen in that time frame. Personally, I'd saute the veggies and add them to the mix and skip the whole bake it in the oven step. - 3/17/2011   8:24:44 AM
  • 7252LOU
    101
    Sounds easy, looks good, but I think I will substitute frozen broccoli flowrets...to save time & I just love broccoli flowrets over cuts of broccoli....I am a skim milk fan...so this will make me feel better about the butter (luv butter!). - 3/8/2011   7:33:15 PM
  • 100
    Yum! Love the creaminess! - 1/18/2011   3:23:38 PM
  • REABARUAL
    99
    I've made this a few times- really good. My husband and I both love it. - 8/11/2010   1:51:45 PM
  • FERN6504
    98
    my husband has to be gluten free and all I have to do is sub his flour for the regular flour and use gluten free pasta. i have been looking for a creamy casserole. Thanks
    If you have any more ideas let me know. Thanks - 8/11/2010   7:19:41 AM
  • CINDERELLA1968
    97
    I love to cook but I don't have a lot of time with working full time and 4 children. It is a huge pet peve of mine with a recipe says on table in under 30 minutes and there is no way to get it there in that time. If you melt butter, add flour and stir 1 minute then add milk and simmer 10 (and while your at it boild water and cook pasta for at least 11 minutes) and then put everything together and than bake 20 and remove foil and bake until cheese melted. that is at least 35 to 40 minutes or more likely an hour to cook.

    Thanks for a good recipe I like the ingredients but please think about time more and be realistic. - 7/7/2010   3:04:53 PM
  • 96
    Mmmmmmmm sounds great I'm from the UK so is a T a teaspoon full? - 6/15/2010   9:14:20 AM
  • TIPPIMITCHELL
    95
    How can you call this "light"? Butter, cheese? This has about 30% more calories than I'd want, and it's high in carbs. No thanks! Most of the stuff from Chef Meg are unimpressive. I do much better, th ank you very much. - 5/4/2010   10:48:53 AM
  • 94
    We've made this and it's really good. We added a few things like mushrooms and next time we will make more white sauce than what it calls for. - 2/28/2010   1:33:18 AM
  • CAZLINR
    93
    I would love to have some recipes to use in place of the canned soups that so many recipes call for (Cream of Chicken, Mushroom, Cheddar cheese soups). So many of us would like to get away from using processed foods but a lot of my favorite recipes call for the condensed soups so I still use them. Thanks, Chef Meg! - 2/27/2010   8:55:39 AM
  • 92
    I simply love this kind of comfort food.Will be trying it after payday. - 1/21/2010   9:23:45 PM
  • NJ_HOU
    91
    WOW what a wonderful recipe - I'll have to try next weekend and hopefully there will be leftovers for lunch! Thank you so much Chef Meg I appreciate your creativity - 1/21/2010   4:25:21 PM
  • IWILLMAKEIT57
    90
    looks good, I will give it a try - 1/5/2010   7:38:23 AM
  • 89
    It sounds and looks good.. I wonder if I can use some of my leftover turkey I have in the freezer? - 12/1/2009   3:58:41 PM
  • 88
    I would like to see more recipes that include the whole, raw food. It's so aggravating to get ready to make a recipe only to find I have to cook the chicken first (for me, this involves another recipe....) and so I won't be having that recipe until tomorrow night. - 11/19/2009   5:24:32 PM
  • BUBBLY_ONE
    87
    It looks good I will Have to try it. - 11/9/2009   11:48:16 PM
  • JUICYSWEETS
    86
    looks delicious:) I'm always looking for warm dinners in the winter and fall...i need to give this a try! It's like comfort food without all the fat and calories! - 11/8/2009   2:42:05 PM
  • 85
    Any recipes not requiring the stove or oven, like using the microwave? - 11/8/2009   7:09:37 AM
  • 84
    Personally, I would try it at least once, but due to the peppers and broccoli, my family won't eat it. Also, I prefer my broccoli and peppers raw. - 11/2/2009   8:26:14 PM
  • 83
    THIS is what I needed: the alternative to that crappy condensed soup!! I can't wait to make this...umm...tomorrow? LOL - 10/21/2009   10:34:27 PM
  • TESSIE125
    82
    It looks delicious but I've noticed you use butter in a lot of your recipes. I have high colesterol and butter is something I try to avoid. Would Olivina be an option in your recipes. I know there is nothing like the taste of butter but for me it is not an option. - 10/14/2009   12:29:37 PM
  • KAM1973
    81
    Will have to give this a try. Looks easy and tasty. - 10/14/2009   11:13:23 AM
  • 80
    Actually looks pretty good. I wish I could make some but it sounds like a lot of work prep like EX-WIMPIE said - 10/13/2009   9:30:00 AM
  • 79
    I think this would be suited more to a main meal than a supper dish. - 10/13/2009   5:21:47 AM
  • SANDYLOVE7469
    78
    looks good should try it - 10/12/2009   7:51:03 PM
  • 77
    I need to learn a lot about healthy fast foods, and fast ways to prepare them at home, and fast ways to pack healthy lunches. I am always on the run, and food gets eaten on the run as well.
    Hmmm... perhaps I need to change my lifestyle... - 10/12/2009   12:30:10 AM
  • 76
    Looks delish! - 10/11/2009   7:49:46 PM
  • 75
    Dear Chef Meg--Thank you so much. This is just what I am looking for. One of the hard road blocks for me has been living alone and not wanting to spend the time cooking and cleaning up for one. Today I am going to cook your chicken and freeze 4 portions for the rest of the month (1 a week) and use the other portion for menu planning day this week. Thank you, thank you, thank you and more please. - 10/11/2009   2:55:10 PM
  • 74
    GOOD RECEIPE - 10/11/2009   12:15:23 PM
  • 73
    This really sounds good and easy to make. I will give it a try. Have most all the ingredients needed. - 10/11/2009   12:12:59 PM
  • 72
    sounds wonderful - 10/11/2009   9:03:55 AM
  • EARTHBABE2
    71
    Sounds Good! - 10/11/2009   7:47:35 AM
  • 70
    I might try this with low fat cheese and becel light margerine - 10/11/2009   4:59:40 AM
  • 69
    This recipe sounds delicious, but I think the "on the table in under 30 minutes" is false advertising, unless you didn't start timing until the entire dish was prepared and placed in the oven. MANY meals are "on the table in under 30 minutes" if you only count the baking time, but the preparation time can be quite lengthy.

    My rough estimates:
    1. Prepare and poach chicken for 20 minutes. (25 minutes)
    2. Make white sauce and simmer for 10 minutes. (15 minutes)
    3. Cook pasta. (15 minutes--the water has to get to a boil first!)
    4. Cut up vegetables. (5-10 minutes)
    5. Assemble dish for oven. (5 minutes)
    6. Bake dish for 20 minutes then bake to brown cheese. (25 minutes)

    Even assuming that steps 2-4 are done in the same general time (but watch that white sauce so it doesn't burn!), it will still probably take around 20 minutes to complete steps 2-4. Further assuming that step 1 was done the night before, I still have 20+5+25 = 50 minutes from start to serve.

    This is probably a wonderul dish, but I'd plan on needing a lot more than 30 minutes to make it. - 10/10/2009   7:19:03 PM
  • EMERALDART
    68
    Sounds good--might try it by substituting tempeh or veggie strips for the chicken. - 10/10/2009   11:03:15 AM
  • 67
    haven't tried this yet, I'm looking for more vegetarian recipes with little oil used - 10/10/2009   4:07:08 AM
  • 66
    This is on the menu for tonight's dinner. Sounds great.

    As for myself, I would love to see more winter comfort-food recipes. January and February are the hard times of the year for me. Meals seem heartier during the cold winter months (stews, casseroles, chili, pasta, pot-pie, to name a few) and as a result I tend to pack on a few extra pounds.

    Also, would love to see recipes for something sweet. During Spring, Summer and Fall I indulge in fresh fruit to curb the sweet-tooth. In the heart of Winter my choices for fresh fruit seem to be oranges, apples, and pears. After the first two weeks of the three fruits, I'm bored. Any suggestions to spice things up?

    I'm enjoying Chef Meg's recipes. Thanks for bringing her on SP. - 10/10/2009   3:38:42 AM
  • 65
    Sounds good! - 10/9/2009   8:40:05 PM
  • 64
    Definitely a keeper! Thank you! - 10/9/2009   8:07:05 PM
  • 63
    Yep, sounds delicious and I actually have all the stuff. I'll be trying it over the weekend. Thanks Meg,,, Jake - 10/9/2009   7:21:37 PM
  • 62
    I would love to see more vegetarian recipes from Chef Meg. - 10/9/2009   6:40:05 PM
  • 61
    I haven't tried this recipe but I'm going to give it consideration. I haven't found a chicken and vegetable casserole I really like yet. I would like her help with a Japanese Shrimp and Soba Noodle recipe I have and also a healthier version of an apple and cinnamon waffle recipe from Sheila Lukins. - 10/9/2009   4:57:21 PM

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