Rainy day mac ‘n cheese

8 Dec

These past few days have been cold, gray and rainy. The only good thing about weather like this is that it provides a good backdrop for hearty food. Wintery days mean stew, soups and mac ‘n cheese.

If you’ve read this blog long enough, you’ve probably got the sense that I like to stay active and try to eat on the healthy side. I added a little broccoli and grilled chicken to this mac ‘n cheese recipe, and used skim milk, but let’s not try to kid ourselves–this recipe still has plenty of butter and cheese. But we all need to eat up before our winter hibernation, right?

The BF and I made this the other night, and it really was the perfect remedy to the gross weather outside.

Cheesy, gooey deliciousness

Ingredients

  • 3/4 pound pasta. I used a Trio Italiano with penne, rotini and shells. I think the rotini was the big winner–mainly because it held lots of cheese.
  • 2 heads broccoli (keep stems)
  • 1 large chicken breast
  • 4 tb butter. I used Smart Balance.
  • 3 tb flour
  • 3 cups skim milk
  • 3 handfuls grated cheddar cheese
  • salt, pepper, onion powder to taste

Recipe

Preheat oven to 400

1. Boil water for your pasta and cook as directed. Strain and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, season your chicken with salt and pepper. Bake, grill or pan fry. Cut into bite-sizes pieces.

3. Peel the stalks of your broccoli. Cut stalks into thin rounds, cut head into small florets. Heat large pan, add drizzle of olive oil, add broccoli, close lid, cook for 2 minutes untouched. After 2 minutes, uncover, add salt, close lid, cook for 2 more minutes until tender with slightly browned edges.

4. In large saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add flour to make a roux and whisk.

5. Add milk, salt, pepper, and onion powder. Whisk until your mixture starts to thicken and is lump-less.

6. Remove from heat, add cheese, and mix to combine.

7. In large bowl, combine pasta with broccoli, chicken and cheese mixture.

8. Spray baking pan with cooking spray, pushing mac ‘n cheese into corners of the pan.

9. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until cheese is bubbling.

Enjoy!

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