Thursday, December 2, 2010

Chicken Mac and Cheese

 
I like Mac and Cheese, but it is not one of my favorites, which is truly weird since I love pasta and cheese. I think most of them are just kind of "eh" and I'm always looking for a bit more flavor. I know, I'm strange, blame it on my German genes if you must. On the other hand, mac and cheese is pretty easy to fix and can feed a crowd fairly inexpensively. The few times I've made mac and cheese at home, I've played with different cheese combos and while they were all good and certainly edible, they didn't have me do cartwheels.

I haven't been very inspired to prepare meals in the last few weeks, but when I do feel well enough to cook, I'm usually looking for recipes that utilize either what I already have on hand, or make it easy for my husband (who has been a saint) to pick up a few extra ingredients on his way home from work at the grocery store. I found the recipe for this dish on Tasty Kitchen while I was looking for a quick dinner. It utilizes leftover grilled chicken breast that I already had in the refrigerator but this dish can just as easily be fixed with leftover rotisserie chicken as well. Sharp cheddar cheese, Gruyere and Parmesan add flavor along with crumbled bacon. Milk and heavy cream make this very rich tasting and certainly not diet food (which we will all need come January). Don't fret though, it does have a red bell pepper thrown into the mix, so at least you're getting a little bit of vegetables. However, they are disguised enough that even non-bell pepper lovers (like my daughter) will eat it without complaint.

This is a great dish that easily serves a lot of people. Add a side salad and you have a complete meal that even with all the hustle and bustle of the season is prepared in less than an hour and lets you sit down as a family and appreciate each other.

On a personal note, I wanted to thank all of you for your kind comments and emails regarding my health. I'm still not feeling well, but really miss blogging and all of you. I've made it a goal to pop in a few of your blogs everyday. So while you might not hear daily from me, I'm still around. :o)

If you haven't entered my Holiday Wreath Giveaway, make sure to do so soon, since it closes tonight at midnight and this giveaway is too good to pass up, especially for such a good cause! Also stay tuned for another fantastic giveway coming soon.


Chicken Mac and Cheese

Ingredients:

1 pound elbow or corkscrew pasta, uncooked
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 sweet red bell pepper, chopped
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream (or half-and-half)
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup Gruyere cheese, shredded
1 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 generous pinch freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and Pepper, to taste
2 - 3 cups cooked boneless chicken breast (grilled or rotisserie), chopped
6 slices bacon, fried and crumbled

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish.

Boil water for pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain and rinse when cooked and set aside.

In a skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and saute onions and red peppers until soft, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add butter and flour and whisk together to create a roux. Add milk and cream (or half-and-half), stirring constantly. Add 3 cups of the cheese mixture (reserving one cup to top the dish with ) and the nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper and stir mixture for 5-8 minutes or until mixture thickens.

Mix cooked pasta with the onion/pepper mixture, the chopped and cooked chicken and the bacon.
Add half of the mixture to the greased baking dish and top with half of the cheese sauce. Add the other half of the pasta mixture and top with the rest of the cheese sauce. Sprinkle the dish with the reserved cup of cheese and bake for about 35 to 40 minutes or until the dish is hot and the top is golden brown. Let sit for about 5 minutes before serving.

Adapted from: Tasty Kitchen

24 comments:

  1. This looks GOOD and I have the majority of the ingredients on hand. I have several baggies of cubed and sliced leftover turkey in my freezer just waiting for good ways to use it! Think I'll make this next week...

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  2. I am not a big fan of mac and cheese either, nor are my kids. I never had it with chicken but love it with crab or lobster. yummy

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  3. Susi, this looks so warm and yummy and absolutely delicious. Perfect, easy dinner idea. Thanks so much for sharing this! I hope you're having a wonderful day.

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  4. This is so my kind of mac and cheese. I totally agree with the taste of your regular ole mac, its just isn't my thing. I like the use of the cheese and the bell pepper. Oh and bacon! Lovely. Hope you feel 100% soon. Hang in there Susi!

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  5. I feel the same as you, with the exception of lobster mac and cheese! This sounds like another exception with all the extra goodies!

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  6. Ich koche immmer Schinkennudekn, wenn es schnell gehen muss und habe daher noch nie Mac and Cheese gemacht. Gruyere muss immer dazu, das gefaellt mir auch an Deinem Rezept. I think I will give it a try next time. Gruesse.
    Kirsten

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  7. I can eat Mac and cheese, but I'm not crazy about it. I really don't get how some people really, really love it.

    Hope you feel better soon.

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  8. Tasty! I like the addition of red bell pepper because cheese and pimiento is my favourite combo.

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  9. I am in the same boat with you about liking mac n cheese but it not being an absolute favorite. This looks really good and delicious enough to make an appearance on our table!

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  10. Ya, I was so excited to see your post. I send you healthy vibes from California! You get well! Lovelt mac & cheese, I love the addition of red bell pepper. One of my favorites.

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  11. This looks fab, I am one of those that loves mac and cheese and I can't wait to try this, I do hope you feel better:)

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  12. Good to see you posting once in a while. This mac-n-cheese definitely looks like a great recipe. I'm not a big mac-n-cheese fan but my family loves it!

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  13. Yay! Glad to see a post from you and mac and cheese to boot! YuM!

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  14. Delish! I love throwing stuff in mac and cheese, then I know the kids will eat it. Love the red pepper!

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  15. This sounds completely heavenly Susi! I like the mix of cheese you used and the red pepper! I have been using lots of them lately. {I hope you get feeling like your old self real soon! *HUGS*}

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  16. I love mac and cheese and I am always looking for different ways to make it. I don't know why I've never added chicken but it sounds great. And what doesn't taste better with bacon? Oh, and let's not forget the serving of vegetables;)

    Good to see you, Susi. I hope you are feeling stronger.

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  17. Mmmm now that's what I call mac and cheese! I love how there's different cheeses and red bell peppers in it! YUM! I have to say I'm so glad to see you Susi! I missed you :)

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  18. I love homemade macaroni and cheese, but my husband is always saying that it's not a complete meal without meat (which drives me crazy). This recipe solves that dilemma for me! Definitely will bookmark this one.

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  19. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm..che buonoooooooooo!

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  20. Hi sweet woman. Unlike you, I have always had immense fondness for Macaroni and Cheese. Seeing the picture of this delicious dish is producing a serious craving! I need to make this soon. Please know that my thoughts are with you. I love it when you stop by my blog, but don't ever feel pressure. Thank you for sharing! I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

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  21. Mac and cheese has to be one of the most popular comfort foods. The gruyere cheese and parmesan cheese is a tasty addition to the more traditional recipe. It looks delicious.

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  22. I've done this before and it works like a charm. The nice things about mac & cheese is that you can add so many different cheeses for a change of pace. I'm not sure if you like mushrooms or onions, but they work nicely. Also, try adding chopped or diced tomatoes (don't use stewed tomatoes because they destroy the texture of the mac & cheese). Unlike most here, I look for an excuse to eat mac & cheese. If you want a different taste, try a little asiago cheese next time (either mixed in or topped off after cooking).

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  23. wow i really love how yummy this dish looks:) this is definately an awesome comfort dish..thanks for sharing.

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  24. I love simple dishes that you can whip up with whatever you have laying around in your pantry. It's make it more fun, I think, to cook, and see what you come up with. :-p

    Plus, you can't really go wrong with pasta and cheese. :-p

    Hope you're feelin' better!

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