Sunday, April 14, 2013

Broccoli is Good for You


Do you know any picky kids that won't eat their veggies?  I, surprisingly, don't.  That's right.  My kids eat and love veggies.  Now, I'm not saying that they aren't picky.  My 12-year-old son, Trevor, doesn't drink soda (of any kind) and has only just recently started eating nuts and Ranch dip. But he has eaten and loved vegetables since the first time he ate solid food.  My 15-year-old daughter, Taylor, has recently decided that she's a choose-atarian because she only eats good cuts of meat by choice.  She is increasingly afraid of sausages or hot dogs or any questionable blended meat.  The girl even eats sushi!  She still eats chicken, though, so we're safe.

So I wanted to make, yes, another pasta, this time with broccoli, artichokes, and chicken.  With a creamy bechamel sauce and, of course, cheese, it's sure to be a big hit for your veggie-eating family.

George Bush, Jr., should eat some broccoli too.  It's good for you.

CHICKEN, BROCCOLI & ARTICHOKE PASTA
2 shallots, chopped
1 head of broccoli, stem removed, separated into small florets
One 15-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained
2 C cooked, shredded chicken
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb pasta (I used penne)
1 C chicken stock
2 C half & half
1/4 C butter
1/2 C flour
2 C shredded Monterrey Jack cheese, divided in half
Salt & pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to directions.  Steam the broccoli (or boil) until desired consistency.

Cook the shallot in olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat until tender.  Add in the garlic, chicken, artichokes, and broccoli.  Stir to heat through and remove from heat.

For the bechamel sauce, in a pot, melt the butter and whisk in the flour. Add in the chicken stock and whisk quickly to prevent lumps.  Whisk in the half and half.  Cook and whisk until thickened and bubbly.  Remove from heat and whisk in 1 C of the shredded cheese until it's completely melted.  Mix the sauce with the chicken mixture and the pasta.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Put the mixture in a 9 x 13 casserole pan.  Top with remaining cheese.  Cook until the cheese is melted and browned and the casserole is heated through.

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