One-Pot Chicken and Broccoli Pasta

Hey everybody!

I’m fresh off a three-day weekend and feeling great. Chris and I did almost nothing for three days. (Okay, we did run some errands, clean the apartment, go to church, hang out with some friends… but it was restful, man.) I’m expecting to have a somewhat exciting week at work as I’m training for a brand new position, so I really needed the break! I hope you and yours had a relaxing Labor Day weekend, too!

This post is the first of a few which I am going to be sort of migrating over from my old blog. This recipe is based on a pseudo-recipe I found on Pinterest and recreated a few years ago. The original MarthaStewart.com recipe was not super helpful for me at the time, because here’s a secret: as a newlywed, I had no idea what I was doing in the kitchen. I was still learning how to cook, so the vague list of ingredients on Martha’s recipe made me wary. But I’ve learned a ton in the intervening years, and I now want to share the reworked recipe with you!

One-Pot Chicken and Broccoli Pasta! // Wayward Sunflower blog

Yes, this is a one-pot recipe perfect for feeding two adult humans! The ingredients amounts listed here are super simple to double or halve for however many people you need to feed. Don’t like broccoli? Sick of eating chicken? Make sure to check the end of the post where I’ve shared some ideas for altering this super adaptable recipe!

One-Pot Chicken and Broccoli Pasta! // Wayward Sunflower blog

Ready to dive in? Here’s what you’ll need!

One-Pot Chicken and Broccoli Pasta! // Wayward Sunflower blog

At its most basic, this recipe only calls for some protein, a veggie, a pasta, garlic, and a bit of cheese. I went with some boneless, skinless chicken breasts, a head of broccoli, some Parmesan cheese, and some whole wheat penne, because that’s what was in the pantry! Not pictured: you also need some oil (I used extra virgin olive) and salt and pepper (I used grinders because they are the best).

One-Pot Chicken and Broccoli Pasta! // Wayward Sunflower blog

Start by heating the oil over medium heat! This is your titular Pot, so make it a good one. It needs to be plenty big for cooking the pasta and veggies.

One-Pot Chicken and Broccoli Pasta! // Wayward Sunflower blog

Next, mince your garlic. Garlic and I have a thing together. “Too much garlic” in a pasta dish is a foreign concept to me. You can use one garlic clove if you want, but I used… five. Yep.

I prefer to crush fresh garlic in my garlic press, but I’ve been known to use the jarred stuff too. Use what you have lying around!

One-Pot Chicken and Broccoli Pasta! // Wayward Sunflower blog

Dice your chicken breasts too! The smaller the pieces, the quicker they cook.

Toss the chicken and garlic into the pot with the hot oil. Add salt and pepper to taste and give it all a good stir…

One-Pot Chicken and Broccoli Pasta! // Wayward Sunflower blog

One-Pot Chicken and Broccoli Pasta! // Wayward Sunflower blog

…and cook the chicken all the way through.

I like my chicken to be deliciously browned, so toward the end of the cook time, I crank up the heat and stir very little!

One-Pot Chicken and Broccoli Pasta! // Wayward Sunflower blog

That is the good stuff, y’all. I could eat it all by itself. Remove the chicken from the pan and keep it warm; I threw it on a paper plate with a paper towel over it because I am very wasteful.

With the chicken set aside, you can get the water boiling in your Pot for the pasta and broccoli. Salt the water!

One-Pot Chicken and Broccoli Pasta! // Wayward Sunflower blog

Give the broccoli a good chop! Broccoli is a good-lookin’ vegetable, don’t you think?

Now, while I was taking these pictures, I kind of got a little carried away and ended up cooking my broccoli a smidge too long. The best way to cook the pasta and broccoli is to throw the pasta in the boiling water, and when there’s just five minutes left in the cooking time, add the broccoli. Or else it will get mushy. Trust me.

Luckily for me, my husband likes his broccoli over-done. If you prefer broccoli with a bite to it, add it toward the end.

One-Pot Chicken and Broccoli Pasta! // Wayward Sunflower blog

When the broccoli is bright green and the pasta is al dente, drain it all!

One-Pot Chicken and Broccoli Pasta! // Wayward Sunflower blog

Try not to eat it all right there. It will be tempting while it sits there steaming.

One-Pot Chicken and Broccoli Pasta! // Wayward Sunflower blog

I am a firm believer in using freshly-shredded cheese; the packaged stuff has anti-caking agents that prevent the cheese from melting smoothly. However, since you’re not making a sauce with this recipe, bagged cheese works fine. Freshly-shredded is always better, though.

Toss your cooked, drained pasta and broccoli back in your Pot…

One-Pot Chicken and Broccoli Pasta! // Wayward Sunflower blog

…and add the cheese and the chicken.

Seriously, you guys. This is so good and so easy. Please try it!

One-Pot Chicken and Broccoli Pasta (serves: 2)

Ingredients:

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 head of broccoli, chopped
  • 1 cup of dry shaped pasta
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Dice chicken breasts. Mince or crush garlic cloves. Add chicken and garlic to pot when oil is hot; add salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Cook chicken thoroughly. When chicken is almost cooked, turn heat up to medium high and brown the chicken for one minute, stirring minimally but not allowing it to burn. Remove chicken from pot and keep warm.
  3. Add water to pot and bring it to a boil. Add pasta to pot and cook according to package instructions. With five minutes left in pasta cook time, add chopped broccoli. Cook until broccoli is bright green and pasta is al dente.
  4. Drain pasta and broccoli in a colander. Add back to pot and toss with shredded cheese and cooked chicken.
  5. Enjoy!

One-Pot Chicken and Broccoli Pasta! // Wayward Sunflower blog

Like I said previously, there are so many ways you can adapt this recipe to suit your tastes!

  • Change the meat! Try it with ground turkey or even shrimp.
  • Change the veggie! This recipe works great with asparagus, cauliflower, or carrots; frozen veggies work fine! You can also make a “southwest” version with a drained can each of corn and black beans and tossing with a few spoonfuls of salsa!
  • Change the pasta! Don’t have penne on hand? Use what’s in your pantry! Shaped pasta works best because it takes a little longer to cook and that gives the broccoli (or veggie of choice) plenty of time to cook. But if you want to use angel hair pasta or something similar, just give the package instructions a glance and adapt the cook time!
  • Change the cheese! Shred your own cheddar, or add a little slice of cream cheese while everything is still hot!
  • Add a splash of lemon juice or your favorite dressing or sauce! Pair a few tablespoons of your favorite marinara or even pizza sauce with some mozzarella. Seriously. Pizza pasta.

Can you think of any other cool ways to change this recipe up?

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Teaching kids about praise + free word search printable!

Hey friends! It’s been a while since my last post about my book page wreath. The last couple of weeks have been nuts, but I think things will slow down some now, so expect more frequent posts!

Today I taught my first real Sunday school lesson with our new fall curriculum to my new crew of third graders! Our children’s ministry uses Standard Publishing’s HeartShaper curriculum, which I like. However, as I looked over this year’s introductory lesson, I rather wished I had held on to last fall’s lesson book. The 2014 inaugural lesson discussed where the Bible came from and how we’ve come to have different translations. I thought it was a great lesson, and the 2015 intro leson didn’t touch on these crucial topics, instead focusing on why God is worthy of praise. Don’t get me wrong: I think this is an excellent lesson topic! But I thought last year’s focus on the inspired nature of the Bible started the year of study off right and clarified some things that middle elementary-aged students may find confusing about scripture.

When I expressed this disappointment with a coworker, it dawned on me that I could just write my own lesson. Duh! God had given me the resources to rework the provided curriculum to what I felt He wanted me to teach. (Isn’t it funny how God holds on to these obvious solutions until the right moment?)

As I said, the provided lesson focused on why God is worthy of praise. I get to my classroom around 9:00 am on Sundays, but technically our lessons don’t start until as late as 9:45, since the kids trickle in throughout the morning. Because of this, I like to have a welcome activity that the earlybirds can complete slowly or the latecomers can finish quickly. For today’s lesson, I made a quick word search full of fourteen ways kids can practically praise the Lord, such as being thankful and showing love, alongside the conventional ways such as singing and dancing.

Teach kids ways to praise

For the lesson proper, the kids and I studied the provided passages on praise (Psalm 66:1-5 and Romans 11:33-36) in their contexts of the Old and New Testaments, respectively. We discussed the figures and themes of the Old Testament (the kids shouted out phrases like “God created everything!” and “David and Goliath!” while I made a list on the left side of the board) and the structure of the New Testament and its events (“Jesus performed miracles!” and “He died and rose again!” on the right side of the board). I think the kids really enjoyed showing what they already knew about God’s word and seeing the white board fill up with their recollections.

Sing the glory of His name;
Make His praise glorious. Psalm 66:2

For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen. Romans 11:36

When I explained how Paul had written the letter to the Romans, one of the kids looked at me very seriously and asked me how that was possible, because they didn’t speak English. (KIDS ARE SO SMART.) God made it very clear that I was still supposed to discuss the origins of different Bible translations and versions just like last year. I was blown away.

If you’d like a copy of my word search for use in your children’s ministry classroom, I’m making it available to download totally for free! You can download the PDF on Dropbox.com (link below). You may have to create a painless and free Dropbox account to download it! Pair this word search with a devotional on praise or a full-fledged lesson from the Psalms or other passage of scripture. The 14 ideas listed here can lead to a fun discussion about what it means to praise God. Just don’t try to pass the word search off as your own or sell it in any way. 🙂

Click here to download the free Praise Word Search for Kids!

Disclaimer: the word search has words going backwards and diagonally, so some younger children may need some help finding the words! Have fun!

Teach kids ways to praise