Broccoli Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

Our super popular mac and cheese recipe just got OUTRAGEOUS.  I am not sure I will ever make another mac and cheese recipe again – because it just can’t possibly get any better.  You will love our secret ingredient.

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First, I want to tell you that this recipe is really easy.  Don’t let homemade macaroni intimidate you.  It’s not difficult to make at all – even though it tastes like it is gourmet.

I am so excited about this mac and cheese recipe.  It is super creamy and not dry like some homemade mac and cheese recipes can sometimes get.  This recipe has the perfect amount of cheesiness and creaminess.

It is rich, ooey, gooey, and, yeah – in my  opinion – the best macaroni and cheese recipe ever – it gets better with every bowlful.  I simply cannot imagine a better spin on the classic mac and cheese.

The topping on this mac and cheese is the BOMB —- heavy cream, bread crumbs mixed with melted butter and Italian seasoning.  The Italian seasoning is the WOW factor secret ingredient that really makes this recipe taste special.

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When my Mark (my son) sat down to eat his plate full of chicken broccoli mac and cheese last night – he took one bite and said…….OMG Mom—like REALLY REALLY  GREAT.  He is definitely a foodie and doesn’t hand out that kind of compliment easily.  So, when he says that I know it’s a homerun.  He immediately started scanning  the baking dish to see how much was going to be leftover for his lunch tomorrow.  I love when he is that excited about my cooking – that makes me so happy.  Although, I think he might have to fight Emily for it 🙂

A few things to think about – I made this gluten-free and you could not tell at all.  I had to tell Mark afterwards that it was gluten-free…..he for some reason thinks that if I make something gluten-free it won’t be as good.  All you need to do to make this recipe gluten free is to use brown rice pasta noodles, gluten-free flour and gluten free bread crumbs.  I promise you it will be just as good.   The other thing is that if you are vegetarian this would be just as good without the chicken.  Just double the amount of broccoli and you will have yourself a meal.  That is what I did for mine and it was great.  Just making this recipe with the broccoli also makes it a great side dish as opposed to a meal.  I am definitely going to take this to my next pot luck dinner.

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Broccoli Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

Our super popular mac and cheese recipe just got OUTRAGEOUS.  I am not sure I will ever make another mac and cheese recipe again – because it just can’t possibly get any better.  You will love our secret ingredient.

Ingredients:

3 cups Dried Macaroni
1-2 cups Cooked Cubed Chicken
1 Head of Broccoli (lightly steamed)
1 whole Egg Beaten
1/4 cup (1/2 Stick Or 4 Tablespoons) Butter, plus 2 Tablespoons
1/4 cup All-purpose Flour
2-1/2 cups Whole Milk
2 teaspoons (heaping) Dry Mustard
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
1/2 teaspoon Thyme
4 cups Cheese, Grated (I use a mixture of colby jack, sharp cheddar and parmesan)
1/2 teaspoon Salt, More To Taste
1/2 teaspoon Seasoned Salt, More To Taste
1/2 teaspoon Ground White Pepper
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 Tablespoons Italian Seasoning
1/2 cup Heavy Cream

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cook macaroni al dente – about 3-4 minutes less than it says. Macaroni should be too firm to eat right out of the pot. Drain the macaroni and rinse with cold water so that it doesn’t continue to cook.
  3. In a small bowl, beat egg.
  4. In a large pot, melt 1/2 stick of butter and slowly add the flour whisking continuously over medium-low heat. The mixture should foam up. This takes the flour taste out, but be careful not to let if burn.
  5. Pour in milk, add dried mustard, 1 Tablespoon of the Italian seasoning, cayenne pepper, paprika, and thyme, stir until smooth. Cook for five minutes until the sauce thickens. Reduce heat to low.
  6. Take 1/4 cup of the sauce and slowly pour it into beaten egg, whisking constantly to avoid cooking eggs. Whisk together till smooth.
  7. Pour egg mixture into sauce, whisking constantly. Stir until smooth.
  8. Add in 2 cups cheese and stir to melt.
  9. Add cooked cubed chicken and very lightly steamed broccoli. Make sure that the broccoli is firm – you don’t want to end up with soggy broccoli at the end.
  10. Add salt and pepper.
  11. Pour in drained, cooked macaroni and stir to combine.
  12. In a small sauce pan melt butter. Combine breadcrumbs, melted butter, and 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning in a small bowl.
  13. Pour cheesy noodles into a buttered 8X11 baking dish, layering the noodles and cheese as you go. Drizzle heavy cream over creamy noodle mixture and top with extra cheese and bread crumb butter mixture.
  14. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly and golden on top.
  15. Serve and enjoy!