Do you know the mac & cheese trick? I was amazed when I discovered it. Let me explain….
I grew up eating Kraft Macaroni & Cheese…you know, the kind that comes in the skinny little box with an envelope of orange powder that you sprinkle onto cooked elbow noodles and mix with milk and butter (or margarine-ewwww!). Then, Kraft introduced shells & cheese and it was like an epiphany. I’m not even joking. I mean, creamy orange sauce? Jackpot!
The crazy part about it all is that my mom makes awesomely delicious homemade macaroni and cheese. Somewhere in my late teens or early twenties I figured out that I liked homemade macaroni and cheese wayyyyyyy better than anything out of a box. I might have cooked boxed mac & cheese once in my married life…if that. I’m all about the béchamel, the hand-grated cheese stirred in, and occasionally even bacon mixed in or fried onions on top. Sometimes I use one type of cheese, sometimes I mix in every type of cheese in my fridge. And baked macaroni and cheese is obviously the best…but sometimes you just don’t have time for baking macaroni and cheese!
So, along comes this recipe. Someone told me to check out the blog Heavenly Homemakers, which features lots of “real-food” recipes. As I perused the blog, I found a recipe for creamy mac & cheese made in one pot. With pasta. And milk. And cheese. And that’s about it. As you cook the pasta in the milk, it draws the starch out of the pasta and thickens the milk, and the cheese completes it. It’s like boxed mac & cheese without the box. Or the orange powder. It’s perfect for those nights when you need a quick side or main dish and you just don’t have a lot of time to make an elaborate meal. Sometimes I throw in meat cooked with taco seasoning to make homemade “Hamburger Helper”. On this night, though, I decided to throw in some broccoli and chicken. Perfect quick meal (and yes, we ate a lot more than you see in these bowls)!
Stovetop Chicken & Broccoli Mac & Cheese
|Prep time||5 minutes|
|Cook time||20 minutes|
|Total time||25 minutes|
|Meal type||Main Dish, Side Dish|
- 2 1/2 cups small pasta (I used small shells)
- 3 cups milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup shredded cheese (any variety)
- 2 cups broccoli florets
- 1 cup shredded chicken
Broccoli and chicken can be omitted from the recipe. You can also substitute a variety of other mix-ins.
|Stir the pasta, broccoli, milk, and salt together in a pan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and stir frequently until milk is almost completely absorbed, about 15 minutes.|
|Stir in shredded cheese until it is completely melted into the pasta.|
|Stir in the shredded chicken and cook until heated through. Serve while hot.|