Thursday, January 26, 2012

BBQ Chicken Pasta Bake

My cousin Michelle, who must hate me, turned me onto a blog,  which has some fantastic recipes on it. I saw this recipe on there and could not get it out of my mind.  You know, you are eating something for dinner and really wishing it was something else... and fantasizing about food.  I had to face facts, I had to make it.  This meal is nothing ground breaking, and honestly, though it was completely delicious and I would totally (picture valley girl accent) make it again, it was not the best ever, rave like a lunatic, awesome.  It was delish and very poundable.  Like, you keep going back for more because you have no self control and you might, could possibly, still be hungry.  Yeah, that kind of meal.  My kids also really liked this meal, aside from the caramelized onions, which they still ate. 
This is like bbq chicken pizza, but the starch in the form of pasta instead of pizza.  Got the idea?  Okay. We had some steamed garlicky broccoli on the side, and fresh baked bread, and dinner was served.
I had to modify it quite a bit because I am cooking for 6, and need big meals.  Also, I wanted more of a mac and cheese base for mine... so I upped all of that cheesy goodness.  Breaking out of the mold here... something new!

serves 6-8  adapted from:
  • 1 1/2-2 cups shredded chicken
  • 1 lb. cooked pasta (I used whole wheat shells)
  • 1/3 cup, plus more for top
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 3 tablespoon flour
  • 1 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 2-3 cups shredded cheese (I used sharp cheddar and smoked gouda blend)
  • 1/2-3/4 cup panko bread crumbs (I eyeballed it)

Preheat oven to 350.  Cook pasta and shred chicken. In a small sauce pan, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and sliced red onions. season with salt and let caramelize, about 10-12 minutes.  During this time, combine shredded chicken with bbq sauce, tossing so it is completely covered. Once onions are caramelized, set aside.                                                                                                                            In a the same pan, over medium heat, melt butter and whisk in flour to create a roux. Cook for a 30 seconds to a minute to get rid of the raw taste of the flour.  Add skim milk and turn down to low heat. Whisk until slightly thickened and add 1/2 the cheese.  Stir until cheese is melted and mixture thickens, about 2-3 minutes.   
In  a buttered casserole dish, dump pasta and add all but a little of the cheese sauce mixture and stir.  Sprinkle the onions over the pasta and the bbq chicken over that. Top with additional cheese sauce, remaining shredded cheese, BBQ sauce drizzles (don't be skimpy, I wished I had done more) and panko bread crumbs.
Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

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