This is a weeknight winner at my house. I can have it on the table in less than 45 minutes, my husband likes it, and the leftovers are great for lunch the next day. I feel great when I make this meal because it's easy, filling, and it saves us money in the middle of a hectic workweek (dinner plus lunch the next day).
This recipe contains ingredients that you can always have on hand: frozen broccoli, pasta, and cheddar cheese. I normally don't love frozen veggies, but they work in this dish, plus they are convenient.
Start by cooking the broccoli (you can microwave it if it was frozen or steam it if it's fresh). I don't like my broccoli mushy, but this recipe is forgiving. Boil a box of medium shells (pasta). I used whole grain last time and it was fine (to my surprise). Sit the broccoli and the cooked shells aside and work on your smooth, creamy cheese sauce.
Next, you mix about 3/4 of the pasta and all the broccoli with the cheese sauce. If you use all the pasta, it'll be too dry. Of course, you could just double the cheese sauce... but anyway... just make a nice mixture. Pour it into a 1.5 quart baking dish (I spray mine with Pam), sprinkle some more cheddar on top, and place that baby under the broiler until the top gets brown and crunchy.
Cheesy Baked Shells and Broccoli
from Real Simple magazine
3/4 pound medium pasta shells
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk I used1%
2 cups grated Cheddar
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
kosher salt and pepper
1 16-ounce package frozen broccoli florets