Friday, July 30, 2010

Fresh Broccoli Chicken and Pasta Toss

I've made this recipe once before and it was an instant favorite!  It's so simple to make plus it's healthy and super-tasty!  

2-1/2 cups whole wheat penne pasta, uncooked
3 cups  fresh broccoli florets
1/4 cup Kraft Calorie-Wise Zesty Italian Dressing
1/2 lb.  (225 g) boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
3 cloves Garlic, minced
2 cups  tomato-basil pasta sauce
1 cup Mozzarella Shredded Cheese 
My first step with this recipe is to start heating the water for the pasta.  I would recommend using a larger pot than you normally would for this--I almost ran out of room!
Next, I start cutting up the chicken breasts.  I generally use two fairly large chicken breasts for this recipe and freeze the third.  You don't want the chicken chunks to be too big--bite size is just about perfect.
After the chicken is cut up, measure out the 1/4 cup of the Zesty Italian Dressing.  The recipe calls for the Calorie-Wise dressing, but if your not worried about calories any Zesty Italian will do.
Pour the dressing into a large non-stick skillet.  If, like me, you don't have a non-stick skillet, add another good squeeze of dressing so that the bottom of the skillet is covered.  Put the burner on medium heat so the dressing starts to warm.  

By this point, the water for the past should be boiling, so go ahead and dump in the penne pasta.  Generally I use about half a box.  Bring the water back up to a boil.  It will take the pasta about 12 minutes to cook--plenty of time for the next few steps!
Next, add the cut up chicken to the warming dressing, along with the 3 cloves (or 1 and 1/2 teaspoons) of garlic.
Stir the dressing, garlic and chicken together and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink.  I cooked mine for a bit longer, until the chicken was almost done.  At that point, I measure out the tomato-basil sauce and the broccoli florets.  

Add the sauce to the chicken mix and continue cooking the chicken for another 5 minutes, or until the chicken is done.

Three minutes before the pasta finishes cooking (or about two minutes after adding the sauce to the chicken) add the broccoli florets to the pasta.  Make sure you don't let the broccoli boil with the pasta for much longer than three minutes--I made that mistake this last time and the broccoli was really soft.  It still tasted great, but didn't have as nice a texture.

Once the pasta is done, drain the pasta-broccoli mixture.  Dump it into a large serving bowl and then add the finished chicken mixture.  Mix everything together thoroughly.

Now it's time to add the Mozzarella!  The recipe calls for one cup, but I used more.  I love cheese!

Total time--preparation and cooking--was only about 30 minutes.  Bryan and I each ate a big bowl, and there was still enough for him to take leftovers for lunch the next two days!  That's what I call a great recipe!


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