Healthy chicken broccoli mac and cheese

Prep Time 15 minutes Cook Time 20 minutes Total Time 35 minutes
Serves 8     adjust servings

Healthy chicken broccoli mac and cheese is a family favorite recipe that will have everyone going back for seconds!

Ingredients

  • 1 1 lb. box elbow macaroni (whole wheat if you can find it)
  • 1 large head broccoli, cut into florets and roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour of choice
  • 2 cups skim milk (or use 2%)
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, diced
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a small handful of salt and add pasta. Cook pasta according to package directions. Add broccoli to the pot for the last 5-6 minutes of cooking, until tender.

Remove and drain macaroni and broccoli. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large pot, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add flour and cook for two minutes, stirring constantly.

Slowly add in milk, whisking constantly, until the mixture is smooth.

Add 1 1/2 cups of cheese and stir until melted. Remove from heat.

Add cooked pasta, broccoli, chicken, salt and pepper to the cheese mixture and stir well to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Transfer to a greased 2- to 3-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining 1 1/2 cups of cheese.

In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs with 3 tablespoons of melted butter and stir to combine.

Sprinkle buttery breadcrumbs on top of the casserole.

Bake at 400 for 20 minutes, until hot and bubbly.

Serve warm and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

You can prep this casserole ahead of time.Make the mac and cheese and assemble the casserole without adding the breadcrumb topping. Refrigerate. When you’re read to bake it, take it out of the fridge while the oven is pre-heating. Add the breadcrumb mixture, then bake, adding 5-10 minutes to the cooking time.

I use a rotisserie chicken when I’m looking to make things easy, but a leftover roast chicken or some grilled chicken would work well too.

You can use a different type of pasta here if you prefer. (I did in the recipe video.) Just pay attention to the cooking time and add the broccoli when needed.

Want a bit of spice? You can stir in 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper when you add the cheese and salt and pepper. You can also add some hot sauce at the table. (I do this so the kids can have a not-spicy version).

The leftovers are great! They’ll keep in the refrigerator for 4-5 days and can be reheated in the microwave.

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