So I admit this sounds like a mouthful but it turned out to be such a delicious recipe. It was added to our family favorites list. It was dreadfully hot here last week and the thought of go out to grill was not that enjoyable. Instead, I opted to turn on the oven but it was worth it. This is a recipe that can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator or the freezer. I also think this would be a great casserole to take to a friend who just had a baby or someone you know needs a hand. It has all the components of a great meal!!
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I adapted the recipe from the website below, using the things I already had in my kitchen.
3 T. dry bread crumbs
1 t. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 t. paprika
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked and chopped
10 oz. pkg. of frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
1 3/4 c. milk, divided
3 T. all-purpose flour
2 c. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 c. low fat cottage cheese
1/8 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. salt
ground pepper, to taste
8 oz. (2 cups) elbow macaroni or shells
– Put on a large pot of water to boil. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Coat 8 inch square pan with cooking spray.
– Mix breadcrumbs, olive oil and paprika together in a small bowl.
– Squeeze excess water out of thawed broccoli.
– Heat 1 1/2 cups milk in large sauce pan until steaming. Whisk remaining 1/4 cup milk and flour together in small bowl until smooth.
– Add to the hot milk and cook, whisking constantly until the sauce simmers and thickens, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
– Stir in sharp cheddar cheese until melted. Add cottage cheese, chicken, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
– Cook pasta for 4 minutes or until not quite tender. It will continue to cook in the oven. Drain and add to cheese sauce.
– Spread half of the pasta mixture in prepared baking dish. Spoon the broccoli over the top. Add the remaining pasta mixture. Then sprinkle with the breadcrumb mixture.
– Bake casserole until bubbly and golden 25 to 30 minutes.
Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 4. Cover and refrigerate up to two days or freeze up to three months. Thaw in refrigerator, if necessary, then bake for 35 to 45 minutes.
Recipe adapted from here.