Eat Skinny Be Skinny: Baked Cheesy Chicken Pasta

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I know, I had you all at cheesy chicken. But it’s not just regular ol’ cheesy chicken. Nope. It’s chicken and pasta made with the incredible, delicious sauce you use to make macaroni and cheese. Yep.

 See, I was craving comfort food like a MAD man this weekend. I know, after my binge on omelets and pizza you’d think that would have satisfied it, but no, I wanted something cheesy, chickeny and full of nostalgic wonder.

Macaroni and cheese was one of my favorite meals as a kid. My mom is an incredible cook, so we didn’t often see that bright blue box of Kraft mac n cheese very often, but when we did, it was always such a treat. Looking back, I’m a little astounded that we got so excited over bright, fake “cheese” powder and some noodles. But we were kids, what did we know? Safe to say, when I got my mac craving, I didn’t go that blue box, I went to my fridge!

Angel hair pasta paired with a triple cheese sauce topped with freshly made bread crumbs. Well, er, not bread crumbs, per say. I didn’t have any nor did I have the patience/energy to whip out my blender so I just made toast and ripped it a part into bite size pieces.

The extra crunch from the toast was amazingly paired with the soft, creaminess of the pasta. Now, what you are really wondering, how the heck could this be light? Well, for one, I based my sauce on Gina’s and did just some alterations of my own. Instead of using cream, she suggested chicken stock (which I had 2 jars of homemade just sitting in my fridge)! Paired with skim milk and part skim cheese, you have a lighter dish!

Crunchy, creamy, awesome.

Baked Cheesy Chicken Pasta

Serves 8 (1 cup servings)
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 8 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces of angel hair pasta
  • 1 cup of shredded chicken (easy recipe can be found here!)
  •  2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cups skim milk
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup part-skim cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup part-skim mozzarella cheeese
  • 1/8 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 4 basil leaves, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons parsley
  • 2 pieces whole wheat toast, crumbled
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease an  8 x 8 baking dish with non stick cooking spray and set aside. Cook pasta according to package directions until al-dente, about 4 – 6 minutes. Rinse and set aside.
  2. In a deep pan, heat butter. Over low heat, add flour and stir with a whisk until combined. Add in onion and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Whisk in milk and chicken broth and bring mixture to a boil. Heat until sauce thickens up, about 3 – 4 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Once sauce is thick, remove from heat and immediately stir in cheeses and chicken. Add in pasta and stir until mixture is evenly coated. Sprinkle with basil, parsley and additional salt and pepper.
  4. Pour mixture into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with bread and bake for 20 minutes, or until crumbs are golden brown and cheese is bubbly. Serve immediately.
So effing good friends.

Nutritional information per 1 cup:

Calories: 335
Fat: 11 grams
Carbohydrates: 32 grams
Fiber: 6 grams
Protein: 15 grams
Weight Watchers  Points Plus:  7

Leave a Comment

Comments

  1. Posted by amy donovan on
    Tuesday, March 20th, 2012
    sounds seriously tasty + i love that it's a bit lightened up with the skim milk + lighter cheeses. yum!
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  2. Tuesday, March 20th, 2012
    Definite comfort food. Love this! 
  3. Posted by Stacy on
    Tuesday, March 20th, 2012
    I love your blog, but I wish you had printer friendly versions of the recipes on here.
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      It's coming Stacy!! I'm getting a blog redesign and that is MY TOP priority!!
  4. Posted by Kelly on
    Tuesday, March 20th, 2012
    This looks amazing! :)
  5. Posted by Anonymous on
    Tuesday, March 20th, 2012
    This looks delicious!  And, thank you for including the nutritional information - much appreciated! 
  6. Posted by Katie {EpicureanMom.com} on
    Wednesday, March 21st, 2012
    Oh dear, my kids are beside themselves with that bright orange fake cheese! My youngest refuses EVERYTHING! This baked pasta looks incredible! 
  7. Posted by Maggie on
    Wednesday, March 21st, 2012
    This is brilliant!  I love that this is lightened up and I can just imagine all the things you could do with this dish...spinach, tomatoes, avocado...mmmm.  Great recipe!!
  8. Posted by Anonymous on
    Wednesday, March 21st, 2012
    This pasta sounds interesting, indeed!  Definitely wish I had a plate right in front of me =)
  9. Posted by Kiri W. on
    Wednesday, March 21st, 2012
    Oooh yes please! I love baked pasta, and cheesy is always a good thing. :) Delicious!
  10. Wednesday, March 21st, 2012
    Ooh, that looks like a terrific light dinner.  Saving this one!
  11. Posted by Eliotseats on
    Wednesday, March 21st, 2012
    This looks delicious!    Sooo good.   Saving it and buzzed ya!
  12. Posted by Kita on
    Thursday, March 22nd, 2012
    I am suuuper lucky - I have some leftover chicken in my fridge right now and I had no idea what I was going to do with it. I came here to stalk your site just looking for this recipe after you were talking about it on Twitter. My man could live on mac and cheese, and would happily, if I let him. I am always looking for new ways to please us both. :D 
  13. Posted by T Pursel on
    Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012
    Mmmm.  Wonder if this would work with spaghetti squash instead of pasta?
  14. Posted by Bianca on
    Wednesday, April 11th, 2012
    Is there any way to get shredded chicken without using a slow cooker? I followed to link on there to the easy version you have, but I do not own a slow cooker. If you have any easier way to do this, please let me know!
    • Posted by Tirsh on
      Friday, May 11th, 2012
      You can poach the chicken on the stove or buy a rotisserie chicken at the store.  Both options are easy enough and the chicken shreads pretty well.
  15. Posted by Cjferry77 on
    Wednesday, May 16th, 2012
    Could you make this the day before, keepin the fridge to put in the oven the next day?
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    Loved this dish! My husband said it was full of flavor and he couldn't tell is was lightened up. Kids loved it too :-)
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