Chicken Penne

Adapted from: USDA Food and Nutrition Service. Recipes for healthy Kids: Cookbook for Homes.

Try this healthier version of baked penne. We substituted whole-grain pasta for white pasta and added chicken and broccoli to boost the nutrition content!

Prep Time: 20 Minutes

Cook Time: 20 Minutes

Numer of Servings: 6 servings - 1 ½-cup per serving

Calories per Serving: 300


  • 3 cups uncooked whole-wheat penne pasta
  • 1 cup of chicken breasts (cooked and diced)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 ½ cup fat-free milk
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • ¼ cuplow-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup low-fat mozzarella and cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups of broccoli


  1. Wash your hands for 30 seconds with hot water and soap.
  2. Sanitize all food prep surfaces and cooking utensils.
  3. Rinse and scrub all produce.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 °F.
  5. In a large pot, bring 2 quarts water to a boil. Gradually stir in pasta and return to a boil. Cook uncovered for 8-10 minutes or until tender. Do not overcook. Drain well. Toss pasta with ½ teaspoon garlic.
  6. Fill a medium pot with water and bring to a boil. Add broccoli florets and cook for 5 minutes. Drain well.
    Sprinkle with remaining garlic.
  7. Transfer pasta and broccoli to a medium casserole dish (about 8” x 11”) coated with nonstick cooking spray.
    Add chicken. Mix well.
  8. In a small mixing bowl, mix ½ cup half and half with flour. Whisk to remove lumps.
  9. In a medium skillet, heat chicken broth, salt, pepper, and remaining half and half. Stir constantly. Stir in half
    and half/flour mixture. Stir constantly and bring to a boil.
  10. Reduce heat to low. Stir frequently for 5 minutes. Sauce will thicken. Add cheese and stir until cheese melts.
    Remove from heat. Pour sauce over broccoli/pasta mixture.
  11. Cover casserole dish with lid or with foil. Bake at 350 °F for 8 minutes. Heat to an internal temperature of 165 °F or higher for at least 15 seconds (use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature). Remove from oven.
  12. Serve hot.