Unapologetically indulgent, this Chicken Broccoli Mac and Cheese is the epitome of comfort food. It’s a one dish wonder and would be perfect served with a side green salad and a cold glass of white wine. (Well…..that’s how I’d serve it! 🙂
You guys! This might be my favorite recipe I’ve shared on the blog in 2017. And don’t just take my word for it. I shared the leftovers with my uncle and my cousin and his family. Both of them texted me to tell me it’s the best mac and cheese they’ve ever had. How can you argue with that? The answer: you can’t.
At the risk of sounds cocky, how could it not be amazing with all the goodness I added? Sure it’s got a healthy amount of cheese which is what makes a good mac and cheese but it’s really all about the broccoli, chicken and tomatoes here. Mac and cheese can be so one dimensional so adding the extras is what sets this cheese laden casserole apart. It’s becomes so much more a main dish with the added veggies and protein. There was absolutely no holding back here. Lots of cheese and a crunchy bread crumb topping to add some texture and extra flavor. It truly was out of this world!
My kids might be the only ones in the world that don’t like mac and cheese. Or hot dogs. Neither of them will come close to either. Aren’t all kids supposed to eat mac and cheese and hot dogs? It’s not like I didn’t offer it up when they were younger. Hell, I’ve always loved a good quality, crispy, dog from the grill. And every once in awhile a bowl of ooey, gooey mac and cheese is where it’s at. But my kids? Not so much. They won’t touch either. I just don’t get it.
Where did I go wrong? 🙂
I guess that explains why I don’t make mac and cheese that often. It’s hard to justify making a big dish of this when the hubs and I are only going to eat one serving and the kids won’t touch it. But I had serious hankering for baked pasta week before last so decided to indulge myself and go for it. Hence why I passed all the leftovers around. I ate a bowl when it came out of the oven, saved just enough for a small lunch the next day and gave the rest out. It satisfied my craving and I got to provide a few meals for loved ones. I call that a win/win!
You could use whatever grated cheese you like- just make sure you grate it yourself. Already shredded cheese you buy in the grocery store is coated in an anti-caking agent so it doesn’t tend to melt as well. I used a mix of sharp cheddar, parmesan and a garlic-chive cheddar I found at Trader Joes.
Happy cooking, thanks for reading and enjoy your Monday! xo, Kelley
A baked macaroni and cheese with broccoli, chicken and tomatoes.
- 3 cups dried rotini (12 oz)
- 1 head of broccoli, cut into small pieces (about 3 cups total)
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1 teaspoon season salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 cups grated cheese (I used a mixture of sharp cheddar, parmesan & a garlic cheddar from Trader Joes)
- 1 cup shredded chicken (I used the leftovers of a rotisserie chicken)
- 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- pinch kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
- Butter a 9x13 baking dish and set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil and cook the rotini just until al dente- about 3 minutes less than what the box recommends. (It will finish cooking in the oven!) Drain the pasta, saving the pasta water, and put the cooked rotini in a large bowl.
- Bring the pasta water back to a boil and blanch the broccoli 2 minutes or just until the broccoli is bright green and crisp tender; drain the broccoli and add it to the bowl of pasta. Add the shredded chicken as well.
- In a clean pot, melt the butter and add the flour, whisking constantly over medium heat for 1 minute just until foamy and starting to brown. Slow whisk in the milk, a little bit at a time, until all the milk had been added. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened. Add the season salt, garlic powder, paprika, ground mustard, black pepper and kosher salt. Stir in the grated cheese and stir until all the cheese is melted and the sauce is nick and gooey! Remove from the heat and pour into the bowl with the pasta, broccoli and chicken. Stir until everything is incorporated.
- Transfer the mac and cheese to the buttered baking dish. Top with the halved cherry tomatoes.
- Make the bread crumb topping by melting the butter in the microwave for 40 second. Stir in bread crumbs, Italian seasoning and kosher salt. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the macaroni and cheese.
- Bake, uncovered, in a preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until mac and cheese is bubbly and golden on top.
- Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
You could use whatever kind of cheese you like! I love the sharpness of parmesan and cheddar.
ps- how cute is Nacho? She’s never too far when I’m cooking and even closer when I’m taking photos! And, no…..she didn’t get a bite.