Some nights you just need a super duper, easy peasy, done in less than 30 minutes type of meal, right?
That's exactly what this grown up version of Mac n Cheese is all about. The kids could easily make this dish and that's one of the best parts!
It uses a base very much like my homemade condensed cheese soup recipe so you know it comes together quickly. Recipes like these are the reason I keep lots of chicken in my freezer that is already cooked and diced up - it makes pulling together meals so easy!
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I found this recipe over at Love Grows Wild and she uses shells in her dish. I didn't have shells when I made this so I opted for bowties. Rotini would also be a great choice. I wouldn't go for penne since it doesn't give the cheese sauce much to hold on to. Get a noodle with some nooks and crannies!
I also opted to add in a dash or two of paprika and ground mustard. I've found that it really gives a great depth of flavor without overwhelming the taste.
Easy Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Pasta
8 ounces medium sized pasta such as shells, bowties, or rotini
3 cups broccoli, chopped into florets
2 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon mustard powder (optional)
1/8 teaspoon paprika (optional)
dash cayenne pepper (optional)
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded (use freshly shredded, not pre-shredded)
1. Cook pasta according to directions in a large pot. Add broccoli during the last 2-3 minutes of cook time. Drain pasta and broccoli and set aside.
2. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the milk and chicken broth. Add garlic powder, pepper, salt, and optional mustard powder, paprika, and cayenne pepper.
3. Continue to cook over low to medium heat, stirring constantly, until sauce is bubbly and thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese until melted.
4. Add in the pasta, broccoli, and cooked diced chicken and stir to combine. Add a dash of milk as needed if sauce becomes too thick. Serve immediately.
adapted from Love Grows Wild.