Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Chicken and Tomato Mac and Cheese

We are experiencing rain, rain, and more rain here on Vancouver Island and after a long day in what is turning out to be an even longer week, I thought it would be fun to get a little creative in the kitchen last night.

For some strange reason, inventing recipe ideas and taking pictures of the food - "Smile with your eyes, little noodle, smile with your eyes" - has a cathartic effect.

So I went to the freezer to see what was what and then got to thinking about things I could create.

I'm at the tail end of my groceries right now and had a few things I wanted to use up:

The last of my velveeta cheese, shredded mozzarella, and some black olives. I also had nice canned tomatoes, chicken breasts, and macaroni noodles on hand and began to wonder if I couldn't put together some kind of baked macaroni and cheese.

It was raining after all - and perhaps my version could be made with less cream and butter.

So I set to work sauteeing, and tasting, and adding this or that.

And the finished product, Chicken and Tomato Mac and Cheese, turned out to be so comforting, tasty, and easy to make that I decided to share it here. This is something I will definitely make again.

Chicken and Tomato Mac and Cheese
For printable recipe click HERE


















Ingredients
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 boneless skniness chicken breasts cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup sliced black olives (optional)
  • 1/3 cup chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup Velveeta cheese cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 heaping tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 can (540 ml/18 fluid ounce) Aylmer's Accents Tomatoes or other brand of low sodium stewed tomatoes
  • A few dashes of hot sauce (optional)
  • 3 cups elbow macaroni, cooked just to al dente (about five minutes) drained
  • 2 cups crushed garlic and cheese croutons or 2 cups cheese Ritz cracker crumbs
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Sautee the chicken, onions, herbs, salt and pepper in olive oil over medium heat until chicken is cooked and beginning to turn golden.
  3. Add the minced garlic and continue to stir and cook for an additional minute.
  4. Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer.
  5. Add the cheeses and stir until melted to incoporate into the broth.
  6. Add the tomatoes and hot sauce.
  7. Mix with cooked macaroni in a buttered casserole dish and cover with crouton crumbs.
  8. Bake in a 350 oven for 30 minutes.
**Cooks note**

This sauce would be delicious served on other kinds of pasta. For a different take on the recipe, you could mix the sauce with the pasta and not add bread crumbs or bake. It would come off as more of a cream based pasta recipe.

Mangia! Mangia!


    6 comments:

    1. A perfect dish for a rainy day! I can see me tucking into a bowl of this mac and cheese right now.

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    2. Mmmmm.....we're 20* below normal here leaving me cold and ferociously grumpy. This sounds like the perfect antidote!

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    3. Oh YUM! This is very creative and a great use for all those fridge and pantry items. I really like the idea of crushed flavored croutons for topping.

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    4. Great minds think alike Lyndsay. I'm making a buffalo chicken mac and cheese this weekend. No rain though in Toronto, it's supposed to snow on Sunday. Possibly a lot (which I'm excited about because we haven't had a big storm yet this winter in downtown TO). I love how you used what you had in your fridge and pantry. I could learn from you! Sorry I haven't visited in a while, so much going on with Christmas, etc. I hope you had a great week and have an ever better weekend!

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    5. This looks delicious!! I love how you made this! Thanks!

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