Want a delicious way to sneak some protein and veggies into your favorite pasta dish? I’ve got you. This Chicken and Broccoli Mac and Cheese lets you have all that baked creamy pasta you love, plus a healthy dose of lean protein and veggies. Win win!
Sneaking healthy stuff into my kids’ dinners when they were little was my go-to move. I credit this move with why they’re both veggie lovers now that they’re teenagers. And they’re also huge mac and cheese fans. I mean, who isn’t?
What’s in this cheesy chicken and pasta bake
Full disclosure, this is not what I’d call a healthy meal! We’re just throwing some healthy things into it. This Chicken and Broccoli Mac and Cheese is, first and foremost, mac and cheese. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Shell pasta. I am currently obsessed with shellbow pasta. They’re a cross between shells and elbow shapes, but you can use any kind of short cut pasta you like.
- Chicken breast
- Broccoli. Fresh is best for this recipe.
- Cheddar cheese. The sharper the better.
- Aged gouda. Not to be confused with smoked gouda, this cheese is one of my all-time favorites. The price point is higher than cheddar, and the more aged it is, the more pricey it’s going to be. But so worth it.
- Milk. I have always used nonfat milk in my recipes, and it works beautifully. Use whatever you like.
- Dry mustard
- Fresh rosemary and thyme. You can leave out the herbs if you have very picky eaters, but I love the understated earthy flavors they add.
How to make this Chicken and Broccoli Mac and Cheese
You will be able to have this meal on the table in under an hour with just some simple multitasking.
Roast the chicken and broccoli on a sheet pan in the oven while you’re making the mac and cheese on the stove.
For the mac and cheese, just make a roux with the butter, garlic and flour. Don’t be intimidated by the fancy word roux – it’s just melted butter and flour! Then, pour in the milk, let it get hot and stir in the cheese and pasta.
Pop the chicken and broccoli out of the oven and add them into the mac and cheese.
At this point, you could serve this dish as is. I like to bake it for 20 minutes or so, because who doesn’t love that bubbly crust on top?
How to store Chicken and Broccoli Mac and Cheese
This recipe makes a nice big 9×13 casserole, perfect for a big family meal. Cut the recipe in half for a smaller 8×8 baking dish.
If you have leftovers, this Chicken and Broccoli Mac and Cheese freezes beautifully. And it’s so nice to be able to pop it out of the freezer on a night when you don’t feel like cooking. You can even reheat it in the oven directly from the freezer.
When you make this Chicken and Broccoli Mac and Cheese, I’d love to hear about it! Drop a rating or leave a comment below. Enjoy!
For more cozy pasta recipes, try these:
- Pasta alla Vodka with Sweet Peas and Bacon
- Vegetable Lasagna with White Sauce (Stouffer’s Copycat)
- Pesto Ricotta Stuffed Shells
For more chicken breast recipes, try these:
- Sesame Chicken and Broccoli
- Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Bake
- Honey Mustard Chicken with Warm Potato Arugula Salad
Chicken and Broccoli Mac and Cheese
- 1 lb. shell pasta or other short cut pasta
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts about 1.5 lbs.
- 4 cups milk
- 4 1/2 cups cheddar cheese grated and divided
- 4 1/2 cups aged gouda cheese grated and divided
- 4 cup broccoli florets
- 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 4 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tsp. dry mustard
- 1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary minced
- 2 tsp. fresh thyme minced
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- Cook and drain pasta according to package directions.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place chicken breast and broccoli onto an ungreased baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Bake 20 minutes. Remove from oven, but leave the oven on. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces.
- While the chicken and broccoli are cooking, make the mac and cheese: melt butter over medium-low heat in a large pot. Add garlic, flour, dry mustard, salt and pepper. Stir until the mixture starts to bubble.
- Pour in the milk. Bring to a boil, stirring. Lower the heat to a simmer and stir in the cheese. Remove from heat.
- Add the chicken, broccoli, pasta and herbs. Pour the entire mixture into a 9×13 baking dish. Bake 25 minutes at 400 degrees.