Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Penne Pasta
Have you tried red lentil pasta yet? If not include this cheesy chicken and broccoli penne pasta into your meal plan this week. I can promise you won’t miss regular pasta at all! If you are meal prepping or counting macros check out my notes below on how you can make adjustments to this recipe.
- 8 oz Boneless, Skinless, Chicken Breast
- ¼ tsp Black Pepper
- ¼ tsp Garlic Powder
- ¼ tsp Red Pepper Flake
- 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 112 g Organic Red Lentil Penne Pasta , (about 2 cups)
- 165 g Broccoli, chopped into florets, (1 small head)
- ½ cup Water, for cooking the broccoli
- ½ tsp Reduced Sodium Chicken Base
- 3 tsp All Purpose Flour
- ½ cup Pasta water
- 2 Cloves Fresh Garlic, diced
- 340 g Campari Tomatos, quartered, (about 4 tomatoes)
- 2 oz Mozzarella Shredded Cheese, made from 2% milk
- 1 dash Salt
- Heat a stove top pan to medium heat, while the pan is heating season the chicken breast on both sides. You can use any seasonings you like. My favorite go to combination is: black pepper, red pepper, and garlic powder.
- Once the pan is hot, add the extra virgin olive oil to the pan. Place the chicken immediately in the pan. Leave it there on medium heat for 2 minutes, then flip to the other side and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Both sides should start to become golden brown, but the center will still look uncooked…If not, give each side another minute…your pan wasn't hot enough.
- Then turn the heat to low and cover the chicken with a lid. Let it cook for about 8 minutes, then flip and cover again for another 8 minutes on the other side. After 8 minutes on each side covered, the chicken should be done. But this does depend on the size of the chicken breast…these times are based on a 8 oz breast. My rule of thumb is, once covered, cook the chicken for 1 minute per ounce per side, I find that this deliveres a perfect juicy chicken breast every time. It is always best to check the internal temperature of chicken before serving.
- While the chicken is cooking bring a pot of water to a bowl and cook the red lentil pasta following the directions on the package.
- Once the pasta is done, remove from heat, drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water in a separate dish.
- In another pot while the chicken is cooking: Heat a medium sauce pan with about 1 inch of water at the bottom, bring the water to a boil. Place a steamer basket in the sauce pan, making sure water level is below the bottom of the basket. Put the broccoli into of the steamer basket, cover with the lid and cook for 8 minutes.
- Once done drain the water and remove the steamer basket. Toss the broccoli with a little black pepper. The broccoli should still have a little crisp to it.
- Once the chicken is done remove the chicken from the pan, saving the juice in the pan, and dice the chicken into bite size pieces.
- Now it is time to use all that juice from the chicken to make a sauce. Turn up the heat on the remaining chicken juice to medium, add the flour and stir until it becomes a paste.
- Then add the 1/2 cup reserved pasta water, better than bouillon chicken base, and diced garlic. Stir this around for a few minutes until it begins to boil.
- Once boiling add the cooked pasta, broccoli, tomatoes, and diced chicken. Cook stirring for 1 minute.
- Finally, add the shredded cheese and season with a dash of salt, several cracks of pepper, and a sprinkle of red peeper flake. Cook stirring for another minute, then serve and enjoy!
- Are you trying to get better at meal planning?
- Sick of eating the same boring recipes all the time?
- Are you having trouble finding recipes for meal prep?
- Or are you counting macros or calories?
If you are bored of eating the same recipes every week and answered yes to any of these question, then you are going to want to check out my notes below. Tips on how you can incorporate this cheesy chicken and broccoli penne pasta into your meal plan and meal prep. If you are counting macros, I have also included notes on how you can easily adjust the protein, carbs, and fats to meet your macro requirements.
NOTES FOR MEAL PLANNING:
Meal planning doesn’t have to be hard or take a lot of time. In fact, meal planning can be fun when you are provided with easy new recipes each week. Meal Planning can also help save money, prevent food waste, and save you time.
If you love pasta but looking for something a little healthier, you are going to love including this recipe made from red lentil pasta into your meal plan.
NOTES FOR MEAL PREP:
This cheesy chicken broccoli penne is a wonderful recipe for meal prepping. You can store each serving in the fridge for up to 1 week. Typically I would say you could store a pasta dish in the freezer, but the red lentil pasta in this recipe does not freeze very well.
When its time to reheat:
- Heat by wrapping the dish in a paper towel to hold the moisture in. Microwave for 60-90 seconds. Stirring halfway thru.
NOTES FOR COUNTING MACROS:
The main source of protein in this recipe is the chicken, making this recipe super easy to increase or decrease the amount of protein per serving.
- Every 1 ounce of chicken has 8.8 grams of protein.
The pasta and the broccoli is what provides most of the carbohydrates in this dish. However, broccoli really doesn’t have many carbs, leaving the main ingrediant that can be adjusted being the pasta.
- If you are looking to increase or decrease the amount of carbs changing the amount of pasta would be the way to go. For every 25 grams of pasta there is 15.6 grams of carbs.
The fat in this recipe comes mainly from the oil that the chicken is cooked in. For every 1/2 tablespoon of oil there is 7 grams of fat.
- If you are looking to decrease the fat in this recipe I would suggest reducing the oil in half. If you choose to reduce it any more than I would recommend cooking the chicken in non-fat, non-stick cooking spray.
- However, if you are looking to increase the fat in this recipe, I would not recommend increasing the oil, as your chicken will turn out greasy. Although, I would say that this recipe would be great with a few slices of avocado.
For example: Every 15 grams (about 1/8 avocado) you increase or decrease the fats by 4 grams.
- You can pre-cut your avocado: Toss your avocado chunks with a little lime juice, then portion into zip lock bags. Suck all the air out of the zip lock bag and store in the fridge. Typically my pre-cut avocados will last 2-3 days before starting to brown if I sucked all the air out.
When making adjustments to the macros in this cheesy chicken broccoli penne pasta, you will want to keep in mind the number of servings you are making.
What to try red lentil pasta another way?
Try my: Chicken Sausage Pasta Salad