Broccoli Mac n’ Cheese

Broccoli Mac n’ Cheesebroccoli-mac-n-cheese

This grown-up version of mac n’ cheese is made with whole wheat pasta, broccoli and red bell pepper.  A healthier option!

2 1/2 cups uncooked whole wheat penne pasta (8 ounces)
1 small red bell pepper, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
1 bag (24 ounces) Green Giant frozen broccoli and three cheese sauce
2 cups cubed cooked chicken
1/4 cup fat-free (skim) milk
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
1/3 cup plain dry bread crumbs
3 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon olive oil

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray 13×9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.  Cook pasta as directed on package- except omit salt and add bell pepper last 3 minutes of cooking time.  Drain; return to sauce pan.

Meanwhile, cook broccoli and cheese sauce as directed on bag.  Stir cooked broccoli mixture, chicken, milk and ground red pepper into pasta.  Pour into baking dish.
In small bowl, stir together bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning; stir in oil, using fork.  Sprinkle bread crumb mixture over top of pasta mixture.
Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until top is golden brown and pasta is hot.