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Broccoli and Cheddar Chicken Pasta

Photo: Jennifer Causey

Active time 29 mins
Total time 29 mins

Serves 4 (serving size: about 1 1/2 cups)

Instead of adding broccoli florets to the pasta, a double serving is incorporated into the creamy sauce. Heat the broccoli and sear the chicken while the pasta cooking water comes to a boil. The leaner dairy components create a creamy taste without all the added calories and fat or a typical broccoli and cheddar pasta dish.


  • 8 ounces uncooked whole-grain penne pasta
  • 2 cups frozen steam-in-bag broccoli florets
  • 1 cup unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
  • 1 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Cooking spray
  • 12 ounces skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 ounces preshredded 2% reduced-fat Mexican-blend cheese (about 3/4 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onions

Nutrition Information

  • calories 436
  • fat 10.5 g
  • satfat 4.4 g
  • monofat 2.8 g
  • polyfat 1.6 g
  • protein 33 g
  • carbohydrate 52 g
  • fiber 7 g
  • cholesterol 99 mg
  • iron 3 mg
  • sodium 564 mg
  • calcium 348 mg
  • sugars 4 g
  • Est. Added Sugars 0 g

How to Make It

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.

  2. Heat broccoli according to package directions; cool slightly. Combine stock, milk, and flour in a bowl. Place broccoli and stock mixture in a blender; blend until smooth.

  3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add broccoli mixture to pan; bring to a boil. Cook 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. Stir in pasta, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Stir in cheese. Top with green onions.