I won't try to tell you this is one of my 'healthy' meals because… not so much. I mean, it is macaroni and cheese, after all. I will tell you that it's darn delicious though, unless you don't like shrooms, or butter, or cheese. But if that's the case, we may need to end this friendship now.
6 oz whole wheat elbow macaroni
Approx 1/2 lb chicken, cut into bite sized pieces (I use 4 tenderloins)
1/4 of a large yellow onion, diced
2 large cloves of garlic, diced
6 - 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
3 Tablespoons butter (divided use)
2 Tablespoons flour
2 cups milk (divided use)
1 3/4 cups shredded cheddar cheese (divided use)
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Preheat oven to 350°. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and spread in an 8x8 baking dish.
In a medium skillet, heat 1 T butter, onion and garlic over medium high heat until it begins to sizzle. Add the chicken and continue cooking. When the chicken is about halfway done, add the mushrooms and heat until they are soft and chicken is completely cooked.
Add the chicken mixture to the noodles in the dish (including any pan juices) and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, heat 2 T butter over medium heat until melted, add 2 T flour and stir to combine. Add 1 1/2 cups milk, paprika, salt and pepper. Increase heat and bring to a gentle boil, stirring frequently until slightly thickened. Lower heat to a simmer and add 1 1/4 cups cheese, stirring until melted.
Once melted, remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup milk. Pour sauce over chicken and pasta and mix gently to combine. Cook at 350° for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and spread remaining 1/2 cup cheese on top. Return to oven and cook an additional 10 minutes. Broil if desired to brown cheese. Serve and enjoy!
This recipes makes a hearty, but not ridiculous, amount. It will serve 2 – 4 people twice or 6 – 8 once, depending on how much you like to eat and what you serve with it. If you don't like mushrooms, just leave them out! The cheese sauce is easy and delicious and can be used with anything you like. You can also easily double the recipe (entire thing or just sauce) which makes a perfect amount for a potluck!