My husband made a request for mac and cheese this morning so I wanted to do something a little out of the ordinary. After much searching and debating, I googled "chicken mac and cheese" and this was one of the top results. It sounded good so I decided to stick with this recipe. I already had some fontina cheese on hand so I knew I would be using that as well as the Gruyere.
You'll have to bear with me because I was in sort of a hurry and remembered half way through cooking that I wanted to document my progress. This may be choppy because I'm still figuring out how to do this whole thing.
Here are the ingredients I used:
1 pound skinless, boneless, chicken breast cut into cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil
17 ounces dried Maccheroni al torchio pasta (HUGE mistake to use this much pasta)
2 shallots, chopped (1/4 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup half and half
2 cups milk
6 ounces of fontina, shredded
8 ounces Gruyere, shredded
7 brussel sprout heads
1 cup bread crumbs
3/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons butter, melted
I started by chopping the necessary ingredients (onions, garlic and brussel sprouts). Now I know you might be thinking I'm crazy for using brussel sprouts but I had some on hand that needed to be used and I wanted to add som
e kind of veggie to this dish so it wasn't all just cream, pasta and cheese. I did chop them up pretty finely so there weren't huge chunks. My husband didn't even notice that there were brussel sprouts in there until I told him...then a few minutes later he made a face and said "I got one" :P I know that it's psychological more than anything so if you can refrain from telling people that they're in their food, then I HIGHLY doubt they will even notice...tell them you put leeks in it :P hahaha
I then cooked the chicken and seasoned it with a pinch of paprika and chili powder; probably about 1/2 tablespoon each of cumin and ground coriander seeds; and a dash of salt.
I put the chicken aside in a bowl and sauteed the shallots and garlic in that same pan with butter. I added the flour and tomato paste. Then the half and half and milk. After sim
mering that mixture for about 20 minutes, I turned off the heat and added the cheeses.
Next I put together the topping by melting 3 T of butter and adding 1 cup of breadcrumbs and 3/4 cup of parmesan cheese, stirring to combine. I found that the 2 cups called for in the original recipe would have been way too much.
Ok, I can't figure this thing out and I'm tired so one last picture. I didn't get a picture of what it looked like coming out of the oven, but this is right before I put it in the pan...
After baking, it turned out more than extremely dry...I should have used half as much pasta. I don't know what I was thinking, but you cook and learn right?
The flavors were great...although replacing half the Gruyere cheese with fontina wouldn't be a bad idea.
Well, that's probably it for a couple of weeks...I have a crazy work schedule next week so I won't be cooking any dinners. Until then, I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and remember why we celebrate the birth of Christ this time of year...it's not just a time to give and receive presents. We were all giving a present beyond measure the day that God gave His only Son to come and live among a world of sin yet remain spotless.
What a precious gift. I am eternally grateful.