Chicken, boneless, skinless breasts, cut bite-sized
Broccoli, florets, and peeled cut stem pieces
Pasta, curly or flat
Cheddar Cheese Ė I like Tilamook white, for example
Chicken Broth, equivalent to about 2 cans if making a large pan, or else use less.
Cook pasta under al dente, because it will cook more in the oven. Drain, set aside.
Season chicken with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, then saute until browning. Add broccoli and saute until it's getting done, but isn't yet.
Add broth to the pan - reserving about ľ cup. Add salt, pepper, and garlic powder, to taste, to the pan, also. Heat up.
Cook until the broccoli is almost cooked, then add cheese, stirring constantly. How much depends on your cheese, how much food you're making, etc. A handful or 2, grated, probably isn't too much. But remember, you want it to taste cheesey. When it is melted in, taste. Don't stop stirring!
When melted, add some cornstarch that has been mixed with reserved, *unheated* - to prevent lumps - broth, to make a slurry. Pour into your pan all at once, still whisking/stirring.
Test the flavor. It will be less salty and peppery when the pasta is added. Donít over-do it, but the taste of pepper is part of this dish.
When the food is as thick as you want it, stop. If itís not thick enough, mix a little more cornstarch with water, and add. Keep cooking/stirring.
Important Note: This will not thicken during baking. If anything, it will get less thick. Therefore, it is imperative for the success of the dish to make it as thick as you will want it on your plate, at this time.
Put the waiting, cooked pasta into the pan, and stir it well to completely coat.
Turn out into a Pyrex baking dish.
Bake at 350 degrees until itís cooked, and browning well on the top.
Let it rest for a few minutes, then serve. It goes well with something pickled (pickles, beets, etc.), salad, and some type of roll/bread, if you like.
Cook Ahead Tips:
You can saute the chicken and broccoli ahead of time, and pick up the dish there when you are ready withiní 1-3 days.
I donít recommend making the sauce part with the cheese and thickener ahead of time, because it can break, so will not thicken.
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