I love a heaping plate of chicken wings as much as the next person! They’re crispy, juicy, and super saucy. Unfortunately, there are a few problems with ordering this tasty appetizer at a restaurant. The wings themselves are loaded up with saturated fat, and deep frying them certainly doesn’t help their calorie count, either. Plus, I always end up dipping each wing in copious amounts of ranch or blue cheese, which adds about 75 calories per tablespoon. You know I’m using more than a few tablespoons, too! Even though I know they’re bad for me, sometimes I can’t pass up the opportunity to order some hot and spicy wings. So, we created this Buffalo Chicken Pasta Casserole to curb your cravings while keeping you on track with your weight loss goals.
How did we make this Buffalo Chicken Pasta Casserole so tasty while keeping the calories low? It’s all about the delicious sauce created by mixing together cream cheese, Greek yogurt, skim milk, and hot sauce. Add in some lean chicken breasts, whole wheat pasta, and fat-free cheddar cheese, and you have a satisfying, creamy package. Plus, it’s all for fewer than 400 calories!
How Many Chicken Breasts Do You Need?
Our recipe calls for two cups of shredded boneless, skinless chicken breasts. That’s great if you have leftovers on hand, or if you’re picking up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. But, if you’re cooking the chicken specifically for this Buffalo Chicken Pasta Casserole, you might be wondering how many chicken breasts you should buy!
Since the weight of the breasts varies from chicken to chicken, it’s impossible to specify the exact number you’ll need to make two cups. But, in general, 8-ounces of chicken should create about one cup of cooked, shredded chicken. So, if you pick up a pound of chicken breasts, you should be ready to cook this quick and easy meal.
Let’s Chat Complex Carbohydrates
If you’re counting your carbs, you might pass over this chicken casserole recipe because it contains pasta. You could absolutely substitute your favorite low-carb pasta alternative, but we’d like to make an argument for whole wheat pasta. Not all pasta is made equally, and this kind is actually good for you!
You see, unlike simple carbs, complex carbohydrates are made up of longer chains of sugar molecules. Because the chain is so long, it takes a while for your body to digest. That means the energy you consume from the pasta will fuel your body for a significantly longer time than carbs found in regular pasta.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about simple versus complex carbohydrates.
Don’t forget to let us know in the comments what you thought of the recipe, and if it gave you longer lasting energy than you expected! Since this casserole makes eight portions, you can easily have some for dinner with plenty of leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch. You can also freeze individual portions, ensuring that you have a healthy meal on-hand for busy weeks.
Yield: 8 Servings | Serving Size: about 3/4 cup | Calories: 374 | Total Fat: 8 g | Saturated Fat: 4 g | Carbohydrates: 43 g | Fiber: 2 g | Sugar: 5 g | Protein: 29 g | Cholesterol: 62 mg | Sodium: 584 mg | SmartPoints (freestyle): 9
- 8 ounces fat free cream cheese
- 1/2 cup plain Greek Yogurt
- 1/2 cup skim milk
- 1/3 cup hot sauce
- 4 cups cooked whole wheat penne pasta
- 2 cups boneless and skinless chicken breast, shredded
- 1 cup fat free cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1/4 cup green onions, chopped
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish with non-stick spray and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the cream cheese, yogurt, milk, and hot sauce until smooth. Stir in the pasta, chicken, and half the cheese. Mix well and pour into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over top.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until top is golden brown. Sprinkle with green onions and serve.