Macaroni And Cheese With Chicken

Enjoy this delightful comfort food classic with the addition of some extra nourishing protein.

Like the majority of dishes that are popular around the world, macaroni and cheese is a plate of food that most pasta eating countries have a version of. Americans are highly protective of their version of mac ‘n’ cheese while Italians would laugh in the face of anyone who defies that it originates in their country. Even the Swiss have a little-known but legitimate-sounding claim to this big hug of a dish.

History Of Macaroni And Cheese

Thomas Jefferson was said to be the man responsible for bringing the recipe to the United States. Some sources say he visited Italy and returned with the method and some say that it came from France. Either way, it’s one of America’s favorite plates of all time.

The Liber de Coquina cookbook from the 13th century is thought to be where the recipe indeed originates. There is an entry titled de lasanis that makes use of sheet pasta cut into squares, cooked and then tossed with parmesan. This irresistible yet straightforward combination quickly became popular across Europe. The invention of pasta is thought to date back to 12th-century Sicily, where Christians and Muslims came together and shared recipes and ingredients.

Why Chicken Is The Best Addition

Chicken is possibly the healthiest meat out there — it’s low in fat, high in protein and when cooked well, it’s juicy and tasty. Protein-rich food helps the body to build and maintain muscle, and eating plenty of it keeps you much fuller than fat or carbohydrate-rich food. Replacing red meat or processed meat with chicken can aid in lowering cholesterol, weight loss, and regulating blood pressure. It’s also packed full of essential vitamins and minerals. There are lots of other additions you can add to macaroni cheese to make it a healthier choice. Our version includes both spinach and chicken for the ultimate health boost.

Recipe And Preparation

2 chicken breasts, pounded until evenly thick
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1 medium white onion, minced
6 cloves of garlic, minced
150ml dry white wine
3 tbsp flour
250ml chicken stock
3 cups light cream
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried basil
300g elbow macaroni
3 cups baby spinach
1 cup grated Pecorino
3/4 cup mozzarella
1/4 cup Gruyere
1/4 cup Parmesan
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Season chicken with salt, pepper, dried parsley, cayenne and two teaspoons of the oil.
  2. Heat the rest of the oil in a large (big enough to hold all the ingredients) pan over medium-high heat. Sear the chicken on either side until golden brown and cooked all the way through, approximately 15 minutes if pounded down to 1 inch. Transfer the chicken to a warm plate and set aside for later.
  3. Using the same pan, fry the onion and garlic in butter until the onion starts to go clear. Pour in the white wine and simmer for five minutes or until it starts to reduce.
  4. Stir in flour then add the stock, herbs, cream and season generously. Bring the heat down to low and simmer.
  5. Add the macaroni and cook for ten minutes, then add spinach and cook for a further two minutes.
  6. Take off the stove and stir in all of the cheese, add more cream if too thick. Slice the chicken and stir it in. Serve hot.

This recipe for macaroni and cheese is perfect for a quick dinner during weekday evenings. It offers all the tasty comfort that macaroni and cheese should while delivering nutrition from the spinach and chicken.

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