Speedy Suppers: Comforting and Light Chicken Casserole

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Who's hungry?

Me, too!

In today's installment of Speedy Suppers, we bring you Chef Meg's Healthy Chicken-Vegetable Casserole, a makeover of those dump-and-bake comfort recipes we all remember from childhood. This healthy meal has far less sodium and fat than a traditional creamy chicken casserole, and it's packed with vegetables, too.

Chef Meg uses a standard--but lighter--white sauce instead of canned, condensed soup, and she uses whole-wheat pasta for a burst of fiber. Bell peppers add another layer of flavor.

Even better--this homemade meal will be on the table in under 30 minutes, and it serves 6. That means you've got lunch ready for the next day!

Find out how to make this tasty and simple meal.

Servings Per Recipe: 6
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 316.9
Total Fat: 8.8 g
Cholesterol: 51.4 mg
Sodium: 174.1 mg
Total Carbs: 35.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 8.8 g
Protein: 27.7 g


12 oz chicken breasts, boneless and skinless, poached, and cubed into 1/2 inch squares
2 T all purpose flour
2 T butter, unsalted
10 oz skim milk
1 pinch white pepper
1 t Italian seasoning
1 T parmesan cheese, grated
7 oz penne pasta, whole wheat
2 red, yellow or orange bell peppers, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
2 heads, approx. 12 ounces broccoli, chopped
1/3 c monterey jack or cheddar cheese
nonstick cooking spray


Place chicken breasts in a small saucepan with a lid. Cover chicken with cool water. Place saucepan over a burner on low to moderate heat. Bring to a simmer; cover with lid and poach for approximately 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked. (This step can be done the night before.)

Prepare the white sauce by placing the butter in a small sauce pot that has been preheated over medium heat. Once the butter foams, add flour and stir for 1 minute; try not to let the mixture turn brown. Add milk to the mixture and continue to stir until it starts to bubble. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add pepper, Italian seasoning and parmesan cheese to the sauce. Stir to combine. Cook pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, preheat oven to 350 degrees. During the last minute of the pasta's cooking, add the chopped broccoli to the water. Allow to simmer for one minute.

Drain the pasta and broccoli. Spritz the bottom and sides of a 9 X 13 oven-proof casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the pasta and broccoli with the chicken and chopped vegetables; cover with the sauce. Place in the baking dish. Sprinkle with the Monterey jack cheese and cover with foil.

Bake for 20 minutes; remove foil and continue to bake until cheese is melted.

Find the full recipe here. If you'd like to try more of Chef Meg's recipes, visit her Healthy Home Cooking section on SparkRecipes.com.

Have you tried this recipe? Will you? What kind of recipes would you like Chef Meg to create?

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PATRICIAAK 2/12/2020
:) Report
ROBBIEY 1/30/2020
sounds yummy Report
GREEN_EYES2 11/3/2019
It looks & sounds delicious! Report
KHALIA2 9/23/2019
Thanks! Report
BLHEALTH 7/18/2019
Wow! these recipes help us prepare healthy dishes for our health. Thanks Report
MNABOY 6/29/2019
Thanks Report
ETHELMERZ 6/13/2019
Change broccoli to cauliflower, add more cheese, if you want your family to enjoy this. Report
Thanks! Report
I enjoy many of your recipes, would it be possible for you to add saturated fat and
sugar to the list please . Thank you. Report
Love this one Report
This is delicious! Report
Sounds great! Will certainly give this one a try. Report
thanks Report
Trying one this evening! Report
Have most of the ingredients. Will try it tonight. Report
Love this recipe. Not really high in fat cosdering the low amounts. Report
Sounds great, I was looking for inspiration for supper. Report
May try this tomorrow night.
Thanks! :-) Report
Sounds great. I love comfort food. Report
The recipe sounds great and picture looks good too but I have a question. I am allergic to bell peppers. What should I replace them with? Also, would it work with cauliflower instead of broccoli as I do not like broccoli! Or is there some other substitute for the broccoli you would recommend?

this recipe is very delicious, my family really enjoyed it, will make it again for sure...thanks Report
Looks yummy, can't wait to try it out! Thanks for sharing! :) Report
oh baby does it sound good! Report
omg this sound so good. but i need something with more greens in it. yum! Report
I agree there is no way you could start to make this and have it ready in 30 minutes. Cutting up everying, poaching the chicken, making the white sauce while boiling the pasta... just isn't going to happen in that time frame. Personally, I'd saute the veggies and add them to the mix and skip the whole bake it in the oven step. Report
Sounds easy, looks good, but I think I will substitute frozen broccoli flowrets...to save time & I just love broccoli flowrets over cuts of broccoli....I am a skim milk fan...so this will make me feel better about the butter (luv butter!). Report
Yum! Love the creaminess! Report
I've made this a few times- really good. My husband and I both love it. Report
my husband has to be gluten free and all I have to do is sub his flour for the regular flour and use gluten free pasta. i have been looking for a creamy casserole. Thanks
If you have any more ideas let me know. Thanks Report
I love to cook but I don't have a lot of time with working full time and 4 children. It is a huge pet peve of mine with a recipe says on table in under 30 minutes and there is no way to get it there in that time. If you melt butter, add flour and stir 1 minute then add milk and simmer 10 (and while your at it boild water and cook pasta for at least 11 minutes) and then put everything together and than bake 20 and remove foil and bake until cheese melted. that is at least 35 to 40 minutes or more likely an hour to cook.

Thanks for a good recipe I like the ingredients but please think about time more and be realistic. Report
Mmmmmmmm sounds great I'm from the UK so is a T a teaspoon full? Report
How can you call this "light"? Butter, cheese? This has about 30% more calories than I'd want, and it's high in carbs. No thanks! Most of the stuff from Chef Meg are unimpressive. I do much better, th ank you very much. Report
We've made this and it's really good. We added a few things like mushrooms and next time we will make more white sauce than what it calls for. Report
I would love to have some recipes to use in place of the canned soups that so many recipes call for (Cream of Chicken, Mushroom, Cheddar cheese soups). So many of us would like to get away from using processed foods but a lot of my favorite recipes call for the condensed soups so I still use them. Thanks, Chef Meg! Report
I simply love this kind of comfort food.Will be trying it after payday. Report
WOW what a wonderful recipe - I'll have to try next weekend and hopefully there will be leftovers for lunch! Thank you so much Chef Meg I appreciate your creativity Report
looks good, I will give it a try Report
It sounds and looks good.. I wonder if I can use some of my leftover turkey I have in the freezer? Report
I would like to see more recipes that include the whole, raw food. It's so aggravating to get ready to make a recipe only to find I have to cook the chicken first (for me, this involves another recipe....) and so I won't be having that recipe until tomorrow night. Report
It looks good I will Have to try it. Report
looks delicious:) I'm always looking for warm dinners in the winter and fall...i need to give this a try! It's like comfort food without all the fat and calories! Report
Any recipes not requiring the stove or oven, like using the microwave? Report
Personally, I would try it at least once, but due to the peppers and broccoli, my family won't eat it. Also, I prefer my broccoli and peppers raw. Report
THIS is what I needed: the alternative to that crappy condensed soup!! I can't wait to make this...umm...tomorrow? LOL Report
It looks delicious but I've noticed you use butter in a lot of your recipes. I have high colesterol and butter is something I try to avoid. Would Olivina be an option in your recipes. I know there is nothing like the taste of butter but for me it is not an option. Report
Will have to give this a try. Looks easy and tasty. Report
Actually looks pretty good. I wish I could make some but it sounds like a lot of work prep like EX-WIMPIE said Report
I think this would be suited more to a main meal than a supper dish. Report
looks good should try it Report
I need to learn a lot about healthy fast foods, and fast ways to prepare them at home, and fast ways to pack healthy lunches. I am always on the run, and food gets eaten on the run as well.
Hmmm... perhaps I need to change my lifestyle... Report