Chicken Penne

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This whole-wheat pasta dish is bright and fun with fresh broccoli, chicken, and melted cheese that is sure to please.
  • 3 cups (12 oz.) dry whole wheat penne pasta
  • 1 tsp. granulated garlic
  • 2 cups chopped fresh broccoli
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 oz.) cooked diced chicken
  • 1 1/2 cups fat-free half and half
  • 1 Tbsp. flour
  • 1/8 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded (2 oz.) reduced-fat cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz.) low-moisture, low-fat, part-skim, shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large pot, bring 2 quarts water to a boil. Gradually stir in pasta and return to a boil. Cook uncovered for 8-10 minutes or until tender. Do not overcook. Drain well. Toss pasta with 1/2 teaspoon garlic. Fill a medium pot with water and bring to a boil. Add broccoli florets and cook for 5 minutes. Drain well. Sprinkle with remaining garlic. Transfer pasta and broccoli to a medium casserole dish (about 8x11 inch) coated with nonstick cooking spray. Add chicken. Mix well. In a small mixing bowl, mix 1/2 cup half and half with flour. Whisk to remove lumps. In a medium skillet, heat chicken broth, salt, pepper, and remaining half and half. Stir constantly. Stir in half and half/flour mixture. Stir constantly and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Stir frequently for 5 minutes. Sauce will thicken. Add cheese and stir until cheese melts. Remove from heat. Pour sauce over broccoli/pasta mixture. Cover casserole dish with lid or with foil. Bake at 350 degrees F for 8 minutes. Heat to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F or higher for at least 15 seconds (use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature). Remove from oven. Serve hot.
Yield: 9 cups
Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups provides 1.5 oz. meat/meat alternate, 3/8 cup vegetables, and 1 oz grain for a 3-5 year old at lunch/supper.
Credit: Recipes for Healthy Kids Cookbook for Homes, TeamNutrition.usda.gov
Recipe Information:  Grain  Whole Grain-Rich  Vegetables- Dark Green