Chicken and Broccoli Shells

Chicken and Broccoli Shells | marissabaker.wordpress.comThis recipe is one of the answers to the question, “What do you do with broccoli heads the size of bowling balls?” Seriously, that’s how big these things are. I’ve never seen broccoli grow this large. We weren’t able to use it all before they started to bloom, but the plants we cut are already producing side-shoot broccoli heads. If you’ve grown broccoli, you know the second heads are significantly smaller than the first ones. For these plants, that means they are size of broccoli you see in the grocery store.

Chicken and Broccoli Shells

2 whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut in 1″ cubes

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1 1⁄2 cups chopped broccoli, fresh or frozen

2 cups chicken broth

1 can (10.5 ounces) cream of chicken soup

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups small shell pasta, uncooked

1 cup (4 ounces) cheddar cheese, shredded

Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until no longer pink. Add broccoli, broth, soup, pepper, garlic and pasta. Bring to a boil.

Chicken and Broccoli Shells |

Reduce heat to lowest setting, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until pasta is tender. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Check near the end of cooking and add a small amount of water, if needed. Stir in cheese during last two minutes of cooking.

Chicken and Broccoli Shells |

Creamy Pesto Chicken

Creamy Pesto Chicken |

I made pesto a little while ago to go with some bread. Now we’re out of bread and I’m left with almost a full batch of pesto. Whatever should I do with it all? Here’s one answer (also yet another way to use the monster heads of broccoli out in the garden).

I’m sure it would taste even better with fresh pesto but, alas, I didn’t get my herb garden planted and I have no basil. Instead, I used a recipe I pulled off the Internet some years ago for dried basil pesto. It’s not as good, but it works in a pinch. If you haven’t any other pesto you like to use, scroll down to the end for that recipe.

Creamy Pesto Chicken

Creamy Pesto Chicken | marissabaker.wordpress.com1 pound chicken breast, thinly sliced

1 Tablespoon olive oil

2 to 3 cups rotini or bow-tie pasta

2 cups broccoli florets

1 can cream of chicken soup or substitute

1/3 cup pesto

1/2 cup milk

Cook pasta with broccoli until al dente according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in skillet. Cook chicken until no pink remains.

Creamy Pesto Chicken |

Add cream of chicken soup, pesto, and milk to the skillet with the chicken. Bring to a boil and cook on low for 5 minutes. Add cooked pasta and heat through before serving.

Creamy Pesto Chicken |

Dried Basil Pesto

Homemade pesto from dried basil |
up close with the pesto

1/2 cup dried basil

1/4 cup walnuts

3 cloves garlic

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

1/2 – 3/4 cups olive oil

Pulse first four ingredients in food processor until walnuts are chopped. Add olive oil and run blender for about 30 seconds. Chill until ready to use.

Peanut Noodle Stir-Fry

Peanut Noodle Stir-fry recipe by marissabaker.wordpress.comWhen stir-frying with rice noodles for the first time, the obvious thing to do is not start with a recipe. Right? Even though I did just that, the result was pretty tasty, if I do say so myself. I made it twice in less than a week. There’s just something about the rice noodles and peanut butter together that tastes really good.

Peanut Noodle Stir-fry


1 pound chicken breast

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 Tablespoon soy sauce

1 Tablespoon rice wine

Peanut Noodle Stir-fry recipe by
ingredients ready


1 Tablespoon peanut butter

1 teaspoon sesame oil

2 Tablespoons soy sauce

1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar

1/2 cup chicken broth

2 Tablespoons brown sugar


2 nests Thai rice noodles

2 teaspoons sesame oil

4-5 carrots, thinly sliced

1-2 heads broccoli cut small

Slice chicken thinly. Marinade for 20 minutes in the baking soda, soy sauce, and rice wine. Meanwhile, mix sauce ingredients in a small sauce pan and prepare vegetables.

Peanut Noodle Stir-fry recipe by
let’s eat!

Heat 2 teaspoons sesame oil in wok over medium heat. Cook chicken in oil until no longer pink.

Prepare rice noodles according to package directions. Begin cooking sauce by heating over medium-high heat until bubbling. Simmer 1-2 minutes.

While sauce and noodles are cooking, add vegetables to the wok with the chicken and stir-fry until crisp-tender. Add cooked noodles to the wok, and pour sauce over everything. Stir-fry an additional 2-3 minutes, then serve.

Cheesy Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole

Cheesy Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole recipeThe broccoli in our garden is growing like crazy right now. We’re past the point where it produces nice, neat heads like you see in the store and have moved into the tiny-little-broccoli-all-over-the-plant phase. When the broccoli gets too out of control to handle with salads and pasta dishes, I like to make this cheesy casserole. It is a great side dish for something like breaded chicken (which is what we did for lunch on Monday).

Cheesy Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole

print this recipe

6-8 cups of chopped broccoli and cauliflower (About 2-3 heads of broccoli and one small head of cauliflower)

3-4 mushrooms, sliced

Cheesy Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole recipe, ready to sprinkle with cracker crumbs
ready to sprinkle with cracker crumbs

½ cup butter

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 can cream of celery, chicken, or mushroom soup

7-8 ounces of cheese dip (such as Kraft Cheez Wiz or Tostitos Smooth & Cheesy)

½ cup crushed crackers

Place broccoli and cauliflower in medium-size pan. Put sliced mushrooms on top and add enough water to steam the vegetables. Bring to a boil, then turn off heat.

Cheesy Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole recipe, Just out of the oven
Just out of the oven

Melt butter in a 2-quart casserole dish. Add soup, onion powder, and cheese dip. Stir. Drain vegetables, then add to cheese mixture and stir. Sprinkle with crushed crackers. Cover dish and bake at 375°F for 25-30 minutes.

print this recipe

Bowtie Pasta Bake

bow ties are cool Doctor Who invented pasta
Bow-ties are cool

This is the first pasta recipe I made that my dad (a confirmed anti-pasta man) actually liked. It had a long, tumultuous history. My first attempt at making it was a disaster of soggy noodles, but there was something in the flavor that made me think it could be perfect. As a Doctor Who fan, I know that bow-tie pasta was the solution, and I was right (actually, any pasta that stays pretty firm when cooked, like penne, would have fixed [most] of the problems with this dish). Even after the pasta switch, though, I had to tweak the sauce several times before it got to it’s current state of yumminess. So, without further ado or sci-fi digressions, here’s the recipe.

Bowtie Pasta Bake

print this recipe

6 ounces dried bowtie pasta

3/4 pound boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces

1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms

1 head of broccoli, chopped

1-2 carrots, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ cup chicken broth

bow tie pasta bake ready to go in oven
Ready to sprinkle with bread crumbs and bake

1, 10 ¾-ounce can condensed cream of chicken soup

12 ounces dairy sour cream

1 teaspoon onion powder

¼ teaspoon pepper

1 slice of bread, lightly toasted and crumbled

1 tablespoon butter, melted

Coat a large skillet with olive and cook chicken until it is no longer pink. While cooking, sprinkle chicken with powdered garlic and black pepper to taste.

Cook pasta until al dente according to package directions. Drain. Rinse with cold water and drain.

Cook mushrooms, broccoli, carrots, garlic, and chicken broth in small sauce pan. Bring to boiling and immediately remove from heat. Do not drain.

Add soup, sour cream, onion powder, and pepper to large bowl. Stir in chicken, pasta, and vegetables. Spoon into a 13x9x2-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

bow tie pasta bake recipe
fresh from the oven delicious

Mix bread crumbs and melted butter. Sprinkle over noodles. Cover with foil. Bake in a 350°F oven for 15 minutes. Remove foil. Bake 5 minutes more or until heated through.

print this recipe