Wow! Take that, Kraft!
I grew up on mac ‘n cheese, and even exposed the tradition of Kraft Mac to my kids. For quick lunches, nothing was easier than adding water to the noodles, throwing the bowl in the microwave, and stirring in the cheese powder!
Now, mac ‘n cheese is not an everyday type food for us. And now that I actually think about it, I haven’t bought the boxes at all in about a year.
Yes, there are shortcuts to most everyday meals, but shortcuts generally mean something is sacrificed. And in the case of the infamous mac ‘n cheese, it’s definitely taste!
I’ve been making this for the past six months. After the first go at it, I decided that for some extra heft to really make this into a meal, shredded chicken was the way to go. Served with a side of buttered peas, it really was a home run!
Overall, this is a comforting dish, and a great spin on the blue box version. And when your love’s response to their first bite is, “Mmmm, good!” without hesitation, you know the recipe deserves to be marked with stars and filed with the other recipes to be made again.
For another great mac and cheese recipe, check out Chelsea’s version, where she uses butternut squash puree and pork for a nice autumn taste.
- Added 1 chicken breast, boiled then shredded.
- Didn’t have cream and used 2 cups of milk instead (all we usually have on hand is 2%).
- Brown rice flour was used in exchange for wheat.
- For a better cheese flavor, use sharp cheddar. Medium is fine, but this may not provide enough flavor for some. If you use medium cheddar, also cut the flour down to 3 tablespoons.
- Reviews on the recipe state that what really makes the dish is investing the full time that’s necessary to stir the roux. I’ll admit I get a little impatient, standing and stirring for 10 minutes. I’ve cut the time short on some occasions, and even walked away for a few seconds instead of constantly stirring, and the roux still turned out fine. In regards to the latter, the roux should never be left unattended for a long amount of time – as the mixture thickens, it will stick to the bottom of the pot and burn easily.
- Clean plates. Enough said.
- Yes! I’ve served this to other kids as well, and it’s been well received and liked, even for those who are picky eaters!
Homemade Chicken Mac ‘n Cheese
Yield = 4 servings
- 1 chicken breast, boiled and shredded
- 1 (8 ounce) package macaroni
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup cream
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded good quality
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, buttered
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Cook macaroni until al dente and drain; set aside.
- In a large saucepan, melt butter. Whisk flour into the butter, adding salt and pepper to taste. Make sure it’s well blended.
- Pour milk and cream in gradually while continuing to stir. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Reduce heat, continuing to stir for 10 minutes.
- Add shredded cheddar to the mixture a little at a time, and simmer over low heat until cheese melts, stirring constantly.
- Remove from heat. Add the macaroni and shredded chicken, and stir to combine.
- Butter a baking dish and fill with the macaroni.
- Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and bake for 20 minutes, until the top is golden brown.
About Lynne Jaques
Lynne is a stay-at-home mother of two boys. As a former US military officer and the spouse of an active duty US military member, Lynne enjoys traveling the world (although not the moving part!) and finding new cuisine and methods of preparing food. She also has the habit of using parenthesis way too much!