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.
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
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.
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