Healthy Indulgence: Buffalo Chicken Whole Wheat Pasta Bake

I’ve been craving pasta a LOT lately. Earlier this week I made some spaghetti alfredo with chicken. Twas delicious. Lol. Today, I was in the mood for something with some kick sooooo, I turned it into a buffalo chicken bake. I picked out some of my favorite veggies and added them to the mix as well. I’m gonna get to the recipe but first things first, let’s talk about whole wheat vs white pasta.

Whole wheat pasta is far more nutritious than traditional white pasta because it still has the fiber and nutrients that are stripped during the processing of white pasta. White pasta loses almost 60% of it’s grain through processing. Additionally, pasta is categorized as a carbohydrate. Carbs are the largest macronutrient making up the majority of our recommended diet (225-325 g/day) and should be chosen wisely. Because there are so many bad carbs out there, it is important that we know and seek out the ones that are best for us! Studies have shown that 3 servings of whole grain per day can reduce the risk of heart disease. Oatmeal, flaxseed, brown rice and couscous are just a few examples you can choose from. White bread, cookies, cakes, candy and sugary drinks are all refined carbohydrates and are doing a lot more damage than you know. Our bodies aren’t meant to process these, yet ninety-five percent of the carbs Americans consume are refined. No wonder we have all these health issues! Do yourself a favor and cook the last of that white pasta (I don’t believe in wasting food) and vow to buy whole wheat pasta forever. While you’re at it, replace your processed peaches and cream oatmeal packages with some whole rolled oats and a fresh peach. Its just the right thing to do. Lol. Now, on to the recipe!

Ingredients:
1 red pepper sliced
¼ yellow onion diced
2 cups broccoli chopped
½ habanero pepper minced (really hot)
1 ½ cup alfredo sauce (your choice)
1-2 chicken cutlets, season with seasoning salt, pepper, paprika, sage, thyme, dried chili peppers
2 cups whole wheat penne pasta
1 cup low fat shredded cheddar cheese
½ package of McCormick’s buffalo chicken seasoning
1 egg
Olive oil

Directions:
1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees
2. Boil your noodles, drain and set aside
3. Begin sautéing your chicken cutlets in olive oil over medium heat

chicken_junkfit
4. While your chicken is cooking, lightly sauté your vegetables (don’t overcook them because they’ll cook in the oven plus you want them to keep their color)

Veggies_junkfit5. Remove your chicken from the pan and shred
6. Over low heat, mix your alfredo sauce, cheese, buffalo chicken seasoning and egg
7. In a large mixing bowl, combine your noodles, chicken, veggies and sauce
8. Place mixture into an oiled casserole dish (I used a 9 x 9 about 2 ½ inches deep) and sprinkle extra cheddar cheese on top
9. Cook uncovered for 15 minutes or until it’s top layer is golden
10. Remove and cool for 5-10 minutes
11. Enjoy

Buffalo_Chicken_Whole Wheat_Pasta_Bake_JUNKFITTry this recipe if you enjoy spicy foods. Between the habanero pepper and the chili peppers, your mouth with be tingling. You can add or subtract any of the veggies I used.

xo,

Jazz

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