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top down shot of the creamy broccoli chicken in a skillet

Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli Pasta Shells

4.94 from 16 votes
Created by Mariam E.
This Chicken Broccoli Pasta dish is your favorite homemade Mac N' Cheese recipe with shells pasta, broccoli, and chicken! It's a family favorite recipe.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings
servings

Ingredients

  • 8 oz medium pasta shells
  • 3 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 whole boneless chicken breasts skinless, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp black pepper

SAUCE

  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsps. all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • cup chicken broth
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp salt or more to taste
  • 2 ¼ cups sharp cheddar cheese shredded,

Instructions

  • In a large pot, cook pasta according to the instructions on the package. In the last 3 minutes of cooking, add broccoli. When fork tender, drain pasta and broccoli. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, combine salt, garlic powder, onion powder and black pepper. Add chicken pieces to the rub tossing to coat.
  • Add olive oil to a skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Brown chicken on all sides, approximately 4 to 5 minutes total. Remove from heat and set aside in a bowl.
  • In the same skillet, melt the butter. Once melted, add flour and cook for 1 minute, whisking constantly.
  • Whisk in milk, chicken broth and remainder of ingredients: garlic powder, black pepper, salt and cheddar cheese and stir until the cheese is melted.
  • Bring to a simmer on medium-low heat and cook until bubbling and thick, approximately 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and add in the pasta, broccoli and chicken. Stir to combine and cover cook on low heat for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and serve.
  • Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and grated cheese of your choice.

Video

Notes

  • You can use any type of pasta for this recipe.
  • Don't put oil in your pasta water! You'll just end up with greasy pasta.
  • For the sauce, you can use any fat content you’d like, the higher fat content, the creamier it will be.
  • Try adding a pinch of nutmeg to the sauce, it really adds another flavor dimension!
  • When filling your pot to cook the pasta, use enough water that once the noodles begin to cook and expand, there will still be plenty of room for the pasta to move freely. 
  • Prevent your pasta from sticking together by stirring it immediately after you drop it in.
  • Drain your pasta enough to remove most of the water, however don’t let drained pasta sit and dry off, as the pasta will become too firm.
  • You can mix together seasoning and roll the chicken in it, or simply sprinkle over all sides of the chicken.
  • Top the pasta with additional shredded cheese, black pepper, or even a bit of grated Parmesan cheese if desired when serving.
  • Ideally shred your own cheese. Pre-shredded cheese doesn't melt well.
  • This dish can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 4g | Calories: 421kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 59mg | Sodium: 608mg | Potassium: 392mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 892IU | Vitamin C: 41mg | Calcium: 387mg | Iron: 2mg
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