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Healthy Creamy Chicken Pasta Bake

EF/NF
Prep Time: 20 mins
Bake Time: 30 mins
Serves: 6-8
I am a little obsessed with one pan bakes at the moment! They tick a lot of boxes that I need right now feeding a tribe of VERY hungry boys who are also eating at different times due to sport, school and being with friends more! Making anything in a larger bulk lot is life saving - the older boys even took a container of this cold for school lunch the next day!

I have made this using whole-wheat pasta but it could easily be substituted for a gluten-free pasta. It is another delicious use for my Ignite Italian too which just super charges the vegetables and flavour!

Ingredients:

  • For the Pasta Bake:

    • 500g whole-wheat penne pasta
    • 2 tb olive oil
    • 1.2kgs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
    • 2-3 tb Ignite Italian 
    • 1 floret broccoli, chopped  
    • 8 button mushrooms, diced

  • For the Creamy Sauce:

    • 2 tb butter
    • 2 tb all-purpose flour
    • 2 cups milk (whole milk)
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 cup grated cheese (plus extra for the top)

Method:

  1. Cook the Pasta:

    • Preheat your oven to 180°C and have a large baking dish ready.
    • Cook the penne pasta according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and place in the baking dish.

  2. Prepare the Chicken & Vegetables:

    • In a large frypan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
    • Add the chicken to the pan and cook, adding in the Ignite Italian as you go, until chicken is browned and cooked through, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and add to the baking dish.
    • While chicken is cooking prepare vegetables and add to the dish (they will cook through in the bake).

  3. Make the Creamy Sauce:

    • In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
    • Whisk in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes until the mixture is lightly golden.
    • Gradually whisk in the milk ensuring there are no lumps. Season with salt.
    • Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens, about 5-7 minutes.
    • Stir in the grated cheese until melted and smooth. Pour over the ingredients in the baking dish.

  4. Finish & Top the Pasta Bake:

    • Using a large spoon gently mix the ingredients in the pasta bake dish to ensure sauce is spread throughout and all is arranged evenly.
    • Sprinkle the extra cheese over the top.
    • Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is golden and bubbly.

Enjoy this creamy, nutritious meal for your tribe! As mentioned at the top this can be eaten cold for lunch! My older boys make their own lunch and it was their suggestion - no complaints from me! I have lots of other lunch box ideas in my cook book aptly named - Feed the Tribe!

 

xxx Dr Julie 

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