Chicken and Broccoli Mac-and-Cheese

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A heartier version of your favorite Mac-and-cheese - makes a full meal.  A great family meal or pot luck!  So many alterations are available - so take the basics and make it your own.  Just be aware - this makes a lot, so consider halving the recipe for an intimate family meal.

Cook time:  30-40 min

     -  2 Tbl. oil, to coat pan
     -  1 lb. chicken breast tenders, chopped
     -  Salt and pepper, to taste
     -  1 small onion, chopped
     -  1 lb. macaroni elbows or corkscrew pasta
     -  2 1/2 c. broccoli florets
     -  3 Tbl. butter
     -  3 Tbl all-purpose flour
     -  1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
     -  1 tsp. paprika
     -  2 c. milk
     -  1 can cream of mushroom soup
     -  3-4 c. sharp cheddar (or favorite cheese)
     -  1 Tbl prepared Dijon mustard

1)  Place pot of water on to boil for macaroni
2)  Heat a medium pan over medium-high heat with oil.  Once hot, add chicken and season with salt and pepper.  Saute a couple of minutes, then add onion and cook another 5-7 minutes until onions are tender and chicken is cooked through.  Turn off heat and reserve.
3)  Add pasta to boiling water and salt (hint:  add about 1 Tbl. of olive oil to keep pasta from sticking).  Cook 5 minutes, then add broccoli and cook 3 more minutes, or until pasta is cooked to al dente and florets are just tender.
4)  While pasta cooks, heat a medium sauce pan over medium heat.  Add butter and melt, then add flour, cayenne and paprika.  Whish together over heat until roux bubbles - then cook a minute more.  Whisk in milk and soup.  Raise heat a little bit to bring sauce to a quick boil.  Simmer sauce to thicken about 5 minutes.
5)  Drain macaroni and broccoli.  Add back to pot and add chicken pasta/veg. 
6)  Add cheese to milk sauce and stir to melt it in, about a minute or so.  Stir in mustard and season sauce with salt and pepper.
7)  Pour sauce over chicken/pasta mix; stir to combine.  Adjust seasonings, transfer to a large serving platter and serve.


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