Chicken and Vegetable Pasta Bake – a supper dish for all the family

This supper dish has served us well over the years! As well as being a filling meal for a hungry family, it is a useful dish for using up odds and ends of vegetables that may be lurking at the bottom of the fridge when your weekly shopping trip is due. Most children will eat chicken and pasta, and for the fussier members of the family you might get away with feeding them vegetables they may usually refuse!

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These are the ingredients I used to feed 4 people:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

75g of butter

75g of plain flour

1½ litres of milk

½ a medium onion and ½ a stick of celery, both finely chopped

salt, pepper and chilli powder (optional)

2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

about 90g of pasta per person

50g of grated cheddar cheese or a tablespoon or two of grated parmesan

plus a mixture of any vegetables you wish. I used:

– a carrot, a small sweet potato, ½ a kohlrabi – all cut into ½cm dice

a handful of frozen peas and sweetcorn

– some broccoli florets, cut into smaller pieces if necessary

 (These vegetables are just a guideline so just use whatever you have handy or whatever the family will eat)

Method:

  • cut the chicken up into bite sized pieces. Put them into a bowl, season them and add a pinch or two of chilli powder if you wish. Add a tablespoon of oil and mix this in with the chicken

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  • put any root vegetables you may be using on to boil
  • heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a pan or frying pan and cook the chicken pieces in batches until they are starting to brown. Put them to one side whilst you prepare the other ingredients
  • cook the pasta in plenty of boiling water, as per the instructions on the packet
  • melt the butter in a large pan and cook the onion and celery until softened
  • add the flour and milk to this pan and whisk everything together until you have a creamy sauce (the sauce will look a bit lumpy because of the pieces of onion and celery, but don’t worry about this)
  • if you wish, add some grated cheese to the sauce. Season if necessary
  • preheat the oven to 200°C
  • I usually steam the rest of the vegetables now for a few minutes, but you could just add them to the pan of boiling root vegetables

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  • drain the vegetables and the pasta when cooked

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  • add the pasta, chicken and vegetables to the pan of sauce and mix everything together
  • put the mixture into an ovenproof dish. Sprinkle the surface with a little more grated cheese if you wish. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until bubbling and starting to turn a golden brown

 Please note that this dish is not for the calorie counter! However, you could always ease your conscience a little by serving it accompanied by a large mixed salad!

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