I loved baked macaronis. My children love baked macaronis. (Ok, they like pretty much any kind of noodle dish.) My husband on the other hand, likes macaroni (or any pasta dish) as a nice SIDE dish, because he says it’s not filling enough to satisfy him. He’s very much a meat kinda guy, and a meal without meat just doesn’t make much sense to him.
Yeah, him and his manly appetite I guess….
Anyways, I thought that I would try to add some chicken into a baked macaroni and see if that would make the dish hearty enough for him. We almost always have some cooked chicken on hand from when I regularly cook roasting chickens in the crock pot to maintain my supply of homemade chicken stock, so adding in the chicken was a really easy change. (You can find the recipes to Crockpotting a Whole Roasting Chicken and making Homemade Chicken Stock here.)
Cheesy Chicken Macaroni (adapted from an old Betty Crocker Recipe!)
1 box of Macaroni (1 pound)
3 cups Chicken, cooked (Don’t have any cooked chicken? You can quickly cook up some chicken breasts on the stove top. Cut the raw chicken into small bites and toss in a skillet with some olive oil. Cook all the way through.
1 bag Frozen Vegetables (I used corn, but just about any veggie would work just fine here.
2 TBSP Butter
2 TBSP Flour
3 cups Milk
4 cups Grated Cheddar – Divided (Fresh grated will melt better, but store grated can be used. Also, feel free to improvise a little with the cheeses! Monterrey Jack would work well, so would a sharp, white cheddar.)
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup ~~~>Or you can make your own Cream of Chicken Soup!
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Onion Powder
1/2 tsp Mustard Powder
Salt/Pepper to taste
4 TBSP Butter
1 cup Bread Crumbs
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Seasoned Salt
1. Cook your pasta according to al dente. Strain it and pour it into the bottom of a large casserole dish.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
3. Spread your cooked chicken over the top of the cooked noodles.
4. Sprinkle your frozen vegetables over the layer of cooked chicken.
5. In a skillet on the stove, melt your butter and add the flour, whisking it together to make a roux. Slowly add in your milk, whisking as you go. Then add in three cups of the grated cheese. Stir until completely melted.
6. Add in the Cream of Chicken Soup, garlic powder, onion powder, and mustard powder. Stir to combine. When your sauce mix is good and creamy and well combined, pour it slowly over the top of your layers in the casserole dish. Try to pour it evenly over the entire dish so there aren’t any dry areas.
7. Top this layer with your leftover cup of grated cheese.
8. Melt your four tablespoons of butter in a small microwave safe bowl and then add the bread crumbs to it. Add 1/2 tsp garlic powder and 1/2 tsp seasoned salt and mush the mixture together with your fingers until the crumbs have evenly absorbed the butter and the seasonings are well mixed in.
9. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the top of your casserole and toss it in the oven for 30 minutes or until your bread crumbs are nicely browned.
10. Let set for 5-10 minutes and then dig in! Enjoy!