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Creamy Chicken Broccoli Casserole

This meal incorporates things the entire family loves – one kid likes the broccoli, one likes the pasta and one of the grownups wants meat in his meal. I don’t make a lot of meat, but with my healthy meal planning, I always come up with one chicken, one meat, one bean, and two bonus meals using ingredients from the first three choices.

Creamy Chicken Broccoli Casserole

An easy, quick meal that uses fresh bechamel sauce, not canned cream soup.

INGREDIENTS
2 cups tri-color rotini pasta
1 head fresh broccoli
2-3 boneless chicken breasts
4 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups milk
salt and pepper
1 large garlic clove
1 tsp basil
1 cup shredded Italian blend cheese

DIRECTIONS

  • Preheat oven at 350 degrees
  • First, boil pasta according to box directions.
  • While pasta is boiling, trim fat off chicken and cut into large pieces to cook faster. When pasta is done, drain into casserole dish and boil water for chicken. Cook for 10-15 minutes.
  • Chop broccoli and add on top of pasta in dish.
  • Melt butter in small pot and combine flour for 2 minutes, until smooth. Add milk slowly, then cook until boiling and thick. Add seasonings and cheese to sauce.
  • When chicken is done, shred or chop and add to casserole.
  • Add sauce on top and gently toss mixture just to combine.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes until top is browned and bubbly.
* * *

meal two

Tuna Salad and Grilled Cheese
Tuna salad is a great way to incorporate fish into your family’s diet without a huge emphasis on the fish. My kids have also discovered grilled cheese and will eat an entire sandwich which makes me happy. Bread…good! Cheese…good! Butter…yum! My kids are all on the lower (ok, lowest) level percentile for weight so I don’t worry so much about them eating like this and actually encourage it since I will do anything for them to eat.

INGREDIENTS
1 can chunk light tuna (lower mercury)
1 tomato
1 can cannellini beans
Handful of feta cheese
Black olives
Broccoli, cucumber, peas, whatever
Fresh parsley
Pinch garlic powder
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Natural or homemade ranch dressing

DIRECTIONS
Mix together and enjoy! For homemade ranch dressing I just use some mayo, greek yogurt, garlic, onion powder, salt and pepper.

* * *

meal three

Taco casserole
This taco casserole is really quick and sooooo yummy. I love being able to use refried beans. The only advice I would have is to omit the chips *in* the casserole but have them on the side. I didn’t really notice the chips on the bottom when I was eating it and it seems to just add extra fat and calories.

meal four

Sundried Tomato Pasta
I like to add chicken to this dish, but only use one piece to supplement flavor and to bulk it up a bit and still keep the cost of the dish pretty low, even with the sundried tomatoes.

meal five

Pizza Night!
Now that I have found my favorite, I mean all-time favorite pizza crust recipe (see tomorrow’s post), I have instituted a weekly pizza night.

Make sure you check out the Healthy Meal Planning
section for more meal ideas!
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