Wagon Wheels and Cheese with “Chicken” and Broccoli

Ok, to be fair, I changed some things in this recipe, so even though I am giving it a bad rating, it’s really not the recipe’s fault. To start off with, I couldn’t find wagon wheel pasta! But I did find alphabet pasta (in the natural food section of my Wegmans), so I thought I would use that instead. Also, I used Morningstar Farms Chick-n Strips, and soy milk instead of milk. My biggest mistake was with the pasta. It was a “good for you” kind, so you know what that means. No taste. This dish was so bland. And of course since we didn’t like the recipe, it made a TON. You are supposed to make it in individual ramekins, but I just made it in a big casserole dish (well, two dishes, really).  Oh well. They can’t all be winners.

rating: 3

Wagon Wheels and Cheese with Chicken and Broccoli
(from Paula Deen)

Ingredients:

1 (16-ounce) box mini wheels pasta (I used veggie ABC’s)
1 boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2″ pieces (I used 1 bag of Morninstar Farms Chick-n strips)
1 1/4 tsp salt, divided
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 1/2 cups whole milk (I used lite Silk soy milk)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and drained
1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
3 tbsp butter, melted

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 12 (1-cup) ovenproof ramekins with nonstick cooking spray.

Cook pasta according to package directions; keep warm.

Sprinkle chicken evenly with 1/4 tsp salt. In a large skillet, heat 1/4 cup butter over medium-high heat until melted and hot. Add chicken, and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through. Add flour and remaining 1 tsp salt; cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes or until blended and smooth. Gradually stir in milk. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-6 minutes or until mixture is slightly thickened. Add cheeses, stirring until melted and smooth. Stir in broccoli.

Add pasta to cheese mixture, stirring gently until well blended. Spoon mixture into prepared baking dishes.

In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs and melted butter. Sprinkle evenly over each casserole. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Cool before serving.

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