With this version of mac and cheese, you can eat all you like ~ there’s a helping of greens is in it, as in broccoli. Broccoli is full of vitamins and minerals and is a classic example of a superfood.
Actually, there has not been much cooking here lately, as Bill and I have been busy “birding" for a while ~ watching 2 bird nests in bushes on the side of our house; one, a nest of cardinals and the other, a nest of robins.
They’re busy little things and we love that they’re easy to watch. It's amazing how both nests are built on the skinny branches right by the windows. The nests are quite a feat of engineering with no major tools, making a perfectly symmetrical, safe home for their young.
We had quite a thunderstorm a couple of days ago, the mothers hunkered down in their nests, faced the wind, and spread their wings over the eggs. Seems like there should be babies any day now...
Speaking of storms, with them being in the forecast for today and the remainder of the week, it’s still chilly here and we’ve had more than our share of rain ~ close to 8.5” in May, when the average for the month is only 3 inches! That makes it perfect weather for the good dish pictured at the top...
Add chicken for nourishing lean protein and mushrooms for more protein, B vitamins, and fiber. In place of whole milk or cream, substitute fat-free evaporated milk and chicken broth. Want less fat in the dish, use low fat cheddar.
Don’t like broccoli? Replace it with asparagus or peas.
I cooked chicken breasts in salted simmering water, then cooled the broth and strained off fat ~ use rotisserie chicken to speed up the process, if you like.
|Ready to bake...|
It’s a healthier version, the options are endless, change it up your way!
But if you leave it like this, it’s really good and really good leftover too!
Creamy Chicken-Broccoli Mac & Cheese with Mushrooms
12 ounces elbow macaroni
1½ tablespoons butter
1 small onion, minced
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
¼ cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon seasoned pepper
2 cups fat-free evaporated milk
1 cup fat-free chicken broth
12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded, divided
2 (4-5 ounces) boneless skinless cooked chicken breast or thighs, cubed OR 2-3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
12 ounces fresh broccoli florets
Preheat oven to 375°.
Cook pasta and broccoli together in a large pot of salted water, until al dente or slightly undercooked, drain well.
Coat a baking dish with cooking spray.
In a large saucepan, on low heat, melt butter, add onion and mushrooms, cook over low heat about 2 minutes.
Add flour, salt and pepper; combine well, cook another minute or so.
Slowly, add milk and chicken broth, whisking constantly.
Raise heat to medium high until it comes to a boil and sauce starts to thicken.
Remove from heat, add 8 ounces cheese, chicken, cooked macaroni and broccoli.
Spread in baking dish.
Bake for 20 minutes until heated through.
Sprinkle remaining cheese over top and bake until melted.