Sunday, December 2, 2012

(sort of) Skinny Chicken Broccoli Ziti

There is something about cold days and longer, darker nights that make salads and "healthy" dinners sound so unappealing. I am always trying to think of ways to health-ify dishes that are originally not so healthy, but oh so good. The other night, I attempted to whip up some chicken broccoli ziti, that didn't involve heavy cream and loads of butter. It turned out pretty good, and while it could have used some more salt and maybe a tad more flavoring, I'd say this is a recipe to turn to when you are craving some comfort food.. without the comfort calories. Try it this week and let me know what you think!

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 3 crowns broccoli
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup skim or 1% milk
  • 4 tbsp. flour
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, freshly minced (I use my food processor)
  • 2 cups whole wheat ziti
  • 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Add water to two pots and boil - one for pasta, one for broccoli.
  2. Chop up broccoli and add to boiling water for 4-5 min (or until desired firmness. I like my broccoli cooked well, but be careful not to over-cook or broccoli will fall apart when you add to pasta). Set aside when done.
  3. Add 2 cups ziti to second pot and cook pasta as directed. Drain and set aside in same pot.
  4. Cut up chicken breasts into cubes and place in ziploc bag
  5. Add 2 tbsp. of flour and a few pinches of salt and pepper to ziploc bag and shake so that chicken is coated evenly with flour.
  6. In a small saute pan, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil and add 2 tbsp. of the minced garlic. Heat on med-low for 1 min.
  7. Add chicken and cover. Let chicken cook on med-low for appox. 5 min. Stir to allow for even cooking, then cover and cook for another 5 minutes or so. When chicken is cooked through, remove from heat and set aside. Chicken should be browned on the outside.
  8. While chicken is cooking, heat 1/4 cup olive oil, remaining garlic (about 1-2 tbsp.), 1/2 cup milk, and 1 tbsp. flour. Bring to boil and whisk continuously. Add remaining 1/2 cup of milk and remaining 1 tbsp. flour.
  9. Lower heat to med/med-high and gradually add in Parmesan cheese. Continue whisking. Sauce should turn creamy and thicken.
  10. Add salt and pepper to sauce, to taste. I also added a bit of fresh squeeze lemon juice to sauce.
  11. Once sauce is done, pour half over pasta and stir. Add chicken, broccoli and remaining sauce and mix all together.
  12. Serve and top fresh squeezed lemon juice and sprinkle a bit of Parmesan cheese (the extra parm. cheese can be skipped, but I highly recommend adding the lemon juice, as it gives the dish a lot more flavor).
Serve. Enjoy. Love.



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