ArrowDownFill 1arrow-small-lineFill 1Cooking Light - EasyCooking Light - FastCooking Light - So GoodCooking Light - How-ToCooking Light - Staff FaveCooking Light Badge - Wow!GroupClose IconEmailEmpty Star IconLike Cooking Light on FacebookFull Star IconShapePage 1 Copy 3Page 1 Copy 2Grid IconHalf Star IconFollow Cooking Light on InstagramList IconMenu IconPrintSearch IconSpeech BubbleFollow Cooking Light on SnapchatFollow Cooking Light on TwitterWatch Cooking Light on YouTubeplay-iconWatch Cooking Light on Youtube

Chicken Chili Mac and Cheese

Photo: Justin Walker
Hands-on time 23 mins
Total time 33 mins
Yield

Serves 6 (serving size: 1 cup)

Make a throwback favorite the whole family will love. This old-school mac and cheese recipe gets a fresh upgrade when made with delicious chicken-based chili. The kick of spice from chili powder, fire-roasted tomatoes, and diced green chiles will wake up and shake up your idea of classic macaroni and cheese. It's a welcomed change for healthy cooks looking for a bit of comfort food without blowing their entire calorie budget. Instead of piling on the cheese and melting it, we create a simple flour-milk-cheese mixture that is ultra creamy without being ultra heavy on the fat, sodium, and calories.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can unsalted fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons canned diced green chiles, drained
  • 1 1/2 cups 1% low-fat milk
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 6 ounces shredded reduced-fat Mexican-blend cheese (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Nutrition Information

  • calories 383
  • fat 11 g
  • satfat 4.5 g
  • sodium 555 mg

How to Make It

  1. Cook macaroni according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add olive oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add chicken to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Stir in chili powder, cumin, and minced garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add diced tomatoes and diced green chiles. Bring to a boil, and cook for 2 minutes. Combine milk and flour in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Gradually add milk mixture to pan, and cook 3 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring frequently. Stir in cheese. Stir in macaroni, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated.