Lighter Version – White Cheddar Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli

Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli in a creamy White Cheddar Cheese sauce – a lighter version!

White Cheddar Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli-1

I used to make a recipe similar to this using one of the flavored boxed pastas and I would add some grilled chicken and broccoli. It was delicious but I knew I could make a sauce myself that would be healthier and even tastier than what comes in the powdery mix of a box. This creamy white cheddar cheese sauce is made with skim milk. I only buy skim milk so I decided to use what I had on hand and it worked out great. It would probably be creamier if prepared with whole milk or even heavy cream, but it tasted cheesy and delicious and had a lot less calories and fat with the skim. I encourage you to try this healthy dish and you won’t be disappointed. Make the first bite count!

Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
4 Tablespoons flour
2 cups milk (I used skim)
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper, to taste
8 ounces shredded white cheddar cheese
1/2 pound pasta (I used Penne)
1 bunch fresh broccoli, stalks removed and chopped (about 2 cups)
2 boneless chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
Freshly grated parmesan, for serving (optional)

Directions:
1. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk to remove any lumps. Cook for about a minute. While whisking, slowly stir in milk. Add nutmeg, garlic powder, salt and pepper and whisk until smooth. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until slightly thickened, about 10-15 minutes. (The skim milk will take a little longer)

2. While the sauce is thickened, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season the boiling water with salt, then add the pasta. About halfway through cooking time, add the broccoli. Stir occasionally. When finished cooking, drain and return to pot.

3. When sauce is thickened, remove from heat and add the white cheddar cheese. Stir until smooth and all the cheese has melted.

4. Add the cooked chicken and cheese sauce to the large pot with the pasta and broccoli. Stir until combined. Serve hot with freshly grated parmesan on top.

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