I am NOT on a diet. Really and truly, I DO NOT like that word. It reminds me of powdery meal replacement shakes, translating your food into numbers, and then gaining it all back the next week. So instead of labeling it as a diet, I just tell myself I’m cutting back.
I’m being careful.
I’m watching what I eat.
I’m making healthy choices.
I’m only eating when I’m hungry.
I’m stopping when I’m full.
So in other words, I’m pretty much on a diet! But let’s not call it that okay?
I’m realizing as I type this that I’m setting myself up for a little scrutiny. So if you run into me at Costco and see a giant box of ice cream sandwiches in my cart, IT’S FOR THE KIDS! Promise. It’s just a few pounds, but they happen to be the very pounds that have made my shorts a little snug, and I really don’t want to buy new ones. Too cheap for that. No worries, I realize you probably aren’t on a “not a diet” like I am, so I’ll still be posting my typical variety of recipes – fresh, simple, and delicious! I just might need to train myself to eat one and then pass the rest along to others whose shorts are not so snug.
Don’t let all this diet talk deter you from making this dish! My Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta Bake is a total winner! It’s creamy pasta, melty swiss cheese, chicken, and ham all baked together and topped with homemade breadcrumbs. I’m not a big mustard person, so I kept that flavor on the lighter side, but you can feel free to add more if you want. I’ve tested this one out on the family a few times and everyone loved it. I always know I’ve got a good one when Little Boy #1 polishes off the leftovers for breakfast!
This recipe calls for Better Than Bullion Chicken base, which you can find next to the regular canned chicken broth. I like having it on hand because you can add a lot of flavor to sauces with it, but only have to store a tiny jar in the fridge. So handy!
Eat up friends! I’ll just be over here enjoying some celery sticks.
- 4 cups rotini pasta
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 teaspoon Better Than Bullion Chicken Base
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (add up to 1 teaspoon more if you want the mustard flavor stronger)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Worchestershire
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup cooked cubed chicken (I used a rotisserie from the deli)
- 3/4 cup cooked cubed ham
- 4-5 slice swiss cheese
- 1 cup breadcrumbs*
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Prepare a 1 1/2 quart baking dish by spraying with nonstick spray. Set aside.
- Boil water for pasta in a large pot, and cook pasta according to directions. While you are waiting for the pasta to cook, you can start on the sauce.
- In a medium pan, melt butter over medium high heat.
- Whisk in flour and cook for a few minutes. The flour will be bubbly.
- Gradually whisk in the milk, and whisk frequently until it comes to a gentle boil.
- Whisk in chicken base, dijon mustard, Worchestershire, and salt.
- Whisk for a few more minutes until the sauce starts to thicken slightly.
- When the pasta is cooked, drain the water and return to the pan. Stir in the sauce, chicken, and ham and mix to combine.
- Pour half of the pasta mixture into your prepared baking dish. Place slices of swiss cheese evenly over the pasta. Pour the rest of the past over the cheese and spread evenly.
- Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the top of the pasta.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes. The top will be golden brown and the edges bubbly.
- Allow to set for a few minutes before serving.
- * To make your own breadcrumbs, place a crusty dinner roll or large slice of french bread torn into pieces in a blender or food processor, and pulse. I like to keep a few dinner rolls in the freezer so I can take out one at a time if a recipe calls for breadcrumbs. I added 1 teaspoon of dried parsley to mine.