chicken and broccoli baked alfredo

 

Chicken and Broccoli Baked Alfredo is a delicious, comforting dish perfect for any occasion. This recipe combines tender chicken and broccoli with creamy Alfredo sauce and gooey cheese, creating a satisfying meal that’s sure to please everyone at the table. Not only is it flavorful, but it’s also incredibly easy to make, making it a great option for busy weeknights or casual gatherings.

Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a kitchen novice, this recipe’s straightforward instructions and common ingredients make it accessible to all. Plus, it’s versatile enough to accommodate various dietary preferences and ingredient substitutions, ensuring it can fit seamlessly into any meal plan.

Ingredients List :

Before diving into the cooking process, let’s gather all the necessary ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 pound rigatoni
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • 2 cups Alfredo sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, hand shredded
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder

Using fresh ingredients, like hand-shredded mozzarella and freshly grated Parmesan, can significantly enhance the flavor and texture of your dish. If you prefer, you can substitute rigatoni with other types of pasta such as penne or fusilli.

For a deeper flavor, consider making your own Alfredo sauce from scratch using butter, heavy cream, and Parmesan cheese. This homemade touch can elevate the dish, making it even more indulgent. Alternatively, if you’re short on time, a high-quality store-bought Alfredo sauce works just as well.

Preparation Steps :

Step-by-Step Preparation :

  1. Preheat the Oven :
    • Begin by preheating your oven to 350°F (175°C). This ensures it’s at the perfect temperature when you’re ready to bake your Chicken and Broccoli Baked Alfredo.
  2. Boil the Pasta :
    • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the rigatoni and cook until it’s about 3-4 minutes under al dente. This prevents the pasta from becoming mushy during baking. Adding a bit of olive oil to the boiling water can help prevent the pasta from sticking together.
  3. Add Broccoli :
    • During the last few minutes of boiling the pasta, add the broccoli florets to the pot. This will cook the broccoli until tender and ensure it’s well-integrated with the pasta. Drain the pasta and broccoli together once they’re both ready.
  4. Transfer to Baking Dish :
    • After draining, transfer the pasta and broccoli to a 9×13-inch baking dish. Spread them out evenly to ensure even baking.
  5. Mix in Chicken and Sauce :
    • Add the shredded rotisserie chicken to the baking dish. Pour in the Alfredo sauce, and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Stir everything together until all ingredients are well-coated with the sauce. For an added touch of flavor, you could sprinkle some Italian seasoning or add a pinch of red pepper flakes.
  1. Top with Cheese :
    • Evenly sprinkle the hand-shredded mozzarella and Parmesan cheese over the top of the mixture. These cheeses will melt beautifully and form a delicious, golden crust.
  2. Bake the Dish :
    • Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake uncovered for about 25 minutes. Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly. If you prefer a crispy top, you can broil the dish for an additional 1-2 minutes, but keep a close eye on it to prevent burning.
  3. Let it Cool :
    • Once baked, remove the dish from the oven and let it cool slightly before serving. This allows the flavors to meld and makes it easier to serve.

Cooking Tips :

  • Using Rotisserie Chicken: Pre-cooked rotisserie chicken not only saves time but also adds a rich, roasted flavor to the dish.
  • Making Ahead: You can assemble the casserole ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake it. This makes it a perfect make-ahead meal for busy days.

This method ensures your Chicken and Broccoli Baked Alfredo is perfectly cooked with a creamy, cheesy texture that’s sure to become a family favorite.

Baking Tips and Serving Suggestions :

Baking Tips :

  • Choose the Right Pasta: While rigatoni is recommended, you can substitute it with other short pasta types like penne, ziti, or fusilli. The important thing is to use a pasta that can hold the sauce well.
  • Broccoli Preparation: For best results, trim broccoli florets into similar sizes so they cook evenly. If you prefer a crunchier texture, you can steam the broccoli instead of boiling it.
  • Enhance the Flavor: Consider adding a splash of chicken broth or extra Alfredo sauce if the casserole looks dry before baking. This helps keep the dish moist and flavorful.
  • Use Fresh Ingredients: Whenever possible, use fresh Parmesan and mozzarella cheese for the best taste. Pre-packaged shredded cheeses contain additives that prevent them from melting smoothly.

Serving Suggestions :

  • Pairing with Sides: This rich and creamy dish pairs wonderfully with a simple green salad or garlic bread. For a balanced meal, consider serving it with a light vegetable side like steamed green beans or a tangy balsamic-glazed Brussels sprouts salad.
  • Wine Pairing: A crisp white wine such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc complements the creamy Alfredo sauce and enhances the overall dining experience.
  • Garnish: Add a sprinkle of fresh parsley or basil on top before serving for a pop of color and added freshness.

Storing and Reheating :

  1. Refrigeration: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They will keep well for up to 3-4 days. This makes it convenient to prepare in advance or save for later in the week.
  2. Freezing: To freeze, assemble the casserole as directed but do not bake it. Wrap it tightly with foil and then plastic wrap to prevent freezer burn. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to eat, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and bake as instructed.
  3. Reheating: To reheat, add a splash of milk or Alfredo sauce to maintain moisture. You can reheat individual portions in the microwave for 1-2 minutes or the entire dish in the oven at 350°F (175°C) for 20-25 minutes until heated through.

Variations and Nutritional Information :

Recipe Variations :

  • Vegetarian Option: Omit the chicken and increase the amount of broccoli or add other vegetables like mushrooms, bell peppers, or spinach for a hearty vegetarian version. You can also include diced tomatoes, artichoke hearts, or peas for extra veggies.
  • Spicy Twist: Add red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper to the Alfredo sauce to give the dish a spicy kick. This variation can add a whole new layer of flavor and make the dish even more exciting.
  • Bacon Addition: Stir crispy bacon pieces into the mixture before baking for a smoky, savory twist that complements the creamy sauce perfectly.
  • Turkey Substitute: Use grilled turkey as an alternative to chicken. This is a great way to utilize Thanksgiving leftovers or add a different flavor profile to the dish.

Nutritional Information :

Understanding the nutritional content of your Chicken and Broccoli Baked Alfredo is important, especially if you are managing dietary restrictions or simply aiming to eat healthily.

  • Calories: Each serving of this dish typically contains around 400-500 calories, depending on the specific ingredients and portion sizes.
  • Proteins: The chicken and cheese provide a substantial amount of protein, making this dish a good option for muscle repair and growth.
  • Carbohydrates: The pasta contributes to the carbohydrate content, providing the necessary energy to keep you active throughout the day.
  • Fats: The cheese and Alfredo sauce add to the fat content, which is essential for absorbing vitamins but should be consumed in moderation.
  • Vitamins and Minerals: Broccoli adds vitamins C and K, fiber, and other essential nutrients, making this dish not only delicious but also nutritious.

Frequently Asked Questions :

Can I Use Rotisserie Chicken? Yes! Using rotisserie chicken is a great time-saver. Simply shred the meat and add it to the dish as directed. This not only speeds up the preparation process but also adds a delicious roasted flavor.

Can I Use a Store-Bought Alfredo Sauce? Absolutely. While homemade Alfredo sauce can be more flavorful, store-bought versions are convenient and work well. Look for high-quality options with minimal preservatives for the best taste.

Can I Make This Dish Ahead of Time? Yes, you can assemble the casserole ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before baking. This makes it a perfect dish for meal prep or entertaining.

Can I Use Frozen Broccoli? Yes, you can use frozen broccoli. Just thaw it and drain any excess water before adding it to the pasta. This is a convenient option that still provides the nutritional benefits of fresh broccoli.

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Chicken and Broccoli Baked Alfredo


  • Author: Easy Recipes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

Scale

1 pound rigatoni

1 rotisserie chicken, shredded

2 cups Alfredo sauce

1 1/2 cups broccoli florets

1 cup mozzarella cheese, hand shredded

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon garlic powder


Instructions

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
Boil the pasta in salted water until 3-4 minutes under al dente.
Add the chopped broccoli to the boiling pasta water and cook until pasta is al dente.
Drain the pasta and broccoli, then transfer to a 9×13-inch baking dish.
Add shredded chicken, Alfredo sauce, salt, pepper, and garlic powder to the dish.
Mix until evenly combined, then top with Parmesan and mozzarella cheese.
Bake uncovered for 25 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Let it cool slightly before serving.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes

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