Broccoli and chicken mac and cheese is a dish I love to make because it is one of my fav comfort foods: macaroni and cheese, and it has vegetables in it… so it’s healthy! Right?
This broccoli chicken mac and cheese recipe, (like most of my pasta dishes,) is super versatile, and you can substitute the veggies and protein with what you have on hand. Add bacon, spinach, kale, mushrooms, CHICKEN NUGGETS, and this mac and cheese will be fab!
broccoli and chicken mac and cheese
Broccoli chicken mac and cheese is a dish I love to make because it is one of my fav comfort foods: macaroni and cheese, and it has vegetables in it… so it’s healthy! Right?
- 1 lb short cut pasta, like elbows, cavitappi, or shells
- 6 T unsalted butter, divided
- 1/4 c flour
- 2 c milk, warmed, plus more if needed
- 1 c shredded cheddar cheese
- 4 oz or 1 c of processed cheese, like Velveeta
- 1/2 t black pepper
- 2 c cooked broccoli florets, (steamed, or blanched works fine!)
- 2 c precooked, shredded chicken
- 1 c panko bread crumbs, optional*
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Salt the water and cook pasta until al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, in a medium pot, melt 4 T of the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the butter and cook for 5 minutes, whisking frequently. While whisking, carefully pour in the milk. Whisk until the roux and milk are completely incorporated. Bring the sauce to a light simmer, and then lower the heat to low.
Stir the cheddar and processed cheese into the sauce and allow to completely melt. Once the cheese sauce is all melted, stir in 1 T salt, the pepper, broccoli, chicken, and cooked pasta. Taste the pasta to test for seasoning. Add more salt or pepper if needed. If the sauce is too thick, add milk, 2 T at a time until you get your desired consistency.
*If you chose to top your mac and cheese with toasted bread crumbs: In a small pan, melt the remaining 2 T of butter over medium heat. Add the bread crumbs, and cook, stirring frequently, until the bread crumbs are toasty and golden. Top mac and cheese with toasted breadcrumbs.