Cheesy Chicken Casserole with Broccoli and Bacon
This ultra creamy chicken casserole is made with cheese sauce, pasta, chicken, broccoli and bacon
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time50 mins
Servings: 6 servings
- 7 slices bacon , chopped
- 1 medium yellow onion , diced
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 1/2 cups fresh broccoli florets
- 1/3 cup butter
- 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 1/4 cups half and half or heavy cream
- 2 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese , divided
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 16 oz box dried medium pasta shells , cooked according to package directions
- 2 1/2 cups shredded chicken
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. In a large, oven-safe skillet, cook bacon over MED heat until crisp. Remove to a plate, reserving grease in skillet. Remove all but 1 Tbsp of the bacon grease.
To the same skillet, add diced onion and cook 4-5 minutes, until soft. Add garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring very often. Remove to plate with the bacon.
Add broccoli to skillet and cook 2-3 minutes, until very bright green and heated through. Remove to plate.
Add butter and melt, then add flour and whisk to combine. Slowly pour in milk and half and half, whisking until all flour mixture is incorporated. Cook, whisking very often, until mixture has thickened (about 5-10 minutes).
Remove from heat and stir in 1 3/4 cups of mozzarella cheese and the 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese until melted.
Add in cooked pasta, shredded chicken, bacon, onion, broccoli, salt and pepper. Stir until combined. Top with remaining 3/4 cup of mozzarella cheese.
Bake 15 minutes, then broil on HIGH for 1-2 minutes to brown cheese (optional). Serve hot and enjoy!
TO MAKE USING FRESH CHICKEN BREASTS:
- After step 1, add 2 chicken breasts (seasoned liberally with salt and pepper) to the skillet and cook 5-7 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Remove to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes while you work ahead in the recipe. Shred or dice chicken and add in step 6.
TO PREP AHEAD:
- Pre-cook bacon, onion, garlic and broccoli and refrigerate until dinner time. If using fresh chicken breasts, pre-cook and shred/dice, then refrigerate until dinner time. Heat gently in the microwave before using.
- Pre-boil pasta, drain and drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Cool completely, then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until dinner time. Heat gently in the microwave before using.
- Pre-grate cheeses and refrigerate until dinnertime.
TO MAKE AHEAD:
- Make casserole through step 6, then cool completely. Cover tightly and refrigerate 1-2 days. Let skillet sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking, then bake as directed.
Calories: 895kcal | Carbohydrates: 73g | Protein: 45g | Fat: 46g | Saturated Fat: 23g | Cholesterol: 158mg | Sodium: 1208mg | Potassium: 683mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 1175IU | Vitamin C: 22.6mg | Calcium: 523mg | Iron: 2.2mg