Broccoli Chicken Mac & Cheese

Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Mac and Cheese Recipe | gimmesomeoven.com

It’s Friday, it’s Friday!

Even better?  Today happens to be the Friday that my good friends, Michelle and David, are getting married!

Between the shower, bachelorette party, small wedding (tonight) and big reception (tomorrow), this week has turned into one mega celebration of the happy couple.  Which I’m all for.  Because friends as cool as these two, who spent years cultivating cool and thoughtful and inspiring lives while being single into their thirties, then did the beautiful yet often hard work of merging those full lives together later in life, and have now become one of my favorite couples on earth…deserve to be celebrated in style.  Which…our friends just so happen to be mighty good at doing.  ;)

One of my lucky jobs for the weekend is playing in the band for the reception, which is a treat because Michelle and David chose a legitimately awesome set list, and the band is a group of dear (and super-talented) friends.  We’ve already had a little too much fun practicing this week for hours, and then hanging out ridiculously late on a weeknight afterwards catching up over champagne and chips and salsa.  You know, as all good bands should do.

Somewhere in the midst of that conversation, I mentioned that I had just made an epic batch of Broccoli Chicken Mac & Cheese earlier that day, but had writer’s block and couldn’t think of what on earth to write about it other than the fact that it’s delicious and everyone should make it stat.  My friend, Rachel, instantly chimed in to help.  According to her, there’s only one thing that need be said about broccoli mac and cheese:

It’s what to make when you get that total craving for ooey, gooey, decadent mac and cheese…buuuuuuut feel like you should make it at least a teeny bit healthy.  So you toss in some broccoli.  And maybe some chicken, if you’re a meat-eater.  And then voila — comfort food craving and vegetable quotient satisfied.

Works for me.  :)

Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Mac and Cheese Recipe | gimmesomeoven.com

Actually, I’ve shared on the blog before that — of all the veggies out there in the vegosphere — broccoli and I don’t have the best history together.  But we’re slowly and steadily growing a little more fond of one another.  And of course, when served in a heaping dish with cheesy chicken and pasta, I think I can make do.  :)

Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Mac and Cheese Recipe | gimmesomeoven.com

(Those “florets” still freak me out just a tiny bit.  Does it not feel weird to anyone else that we’re essentially eating small trees?!?)

Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Mac and Cheese Recipe | gimmesomeoven.com

I digress.

This dish is really quite simple — a (sharp!) cheddar and Parmesan cheesy pasta base, topped with fresh broccoli and cooked chicken.

You can add in the broccoli however you’d like — steamed, boiled, sauteed, roasted, or even raw if that sounds good (because it will cook slightly in the oven).  I just boiled mine in with the pasta for a few minutes to soften it up, which I’d say is easiest.  And then for the chicken, feel free to saute or bake up some chicken breasts, or even shred a rotisserie chicken that you pick up at the store.  Whatever’s convenient.

Toss it all together with the yummy cheesy pasta, and then you can either serve it stovetop-style just as it is…

Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Mac and Cheese Recipe | gimmesomeoven.com

…or you can pour it into a baking dish and sprinkle some Panko on top and bake it until a nice crispy crust forms on top.
Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Mac and Cheese Recipe | gimmesomeoven.com

I’m usually a stovetop girl, but with this recipe, I vote for the baked version all the way.  The crispy layer on top paired perfectly with the soft broccoli and pasta underneath.
Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Mac and Cheese Recipe | gimmesomeoven.com

And if you really want to indulge, you could even sprinkle a little bit of extra cheese on top.

Comfort food for the win.  With, ahem, a little broccoli.  ;)

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Broccoli Chicken Mac and Cheese

This Broccoli Chicken Mac and Cheese recipe is made with a delicious cheddar-Parmesan cheesy sauce, and kicked up a notch with fresh broccoli and cooked chicken.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound dry pasta (I used small shells, but you could use macaroni or any shape of pasta)
  • 1 bunch broccoli, cut into bite-sized florets
  • 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 cup milk, warmed
  • 2 1/2 cups freshly-grated cheddar cheese (I recommend sharp cheddar)
  • 1/2 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely-ground black pepper, or more to taste
  • 2 cooked* boneless, skinless chicken breasts (*see instructions below for how to cook chicken breasts)
  • (optional topping for the baked version) 1/2 cup extra shredded cheddar cheese and 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cook pasta al dente** in a large stockpot of salted water according to package instructions.  About 2-3 minutes before the pasta reaches al dente, add in the broccoli florets and let them cook alongside the pasta for the remainder of the cooking time.  Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, as the pasta water is heating, melt butter in a (separate) medium saute pan over medium-high heat.  Add garlic and saute for 1 minute or until fragrant, stirring occasionally.  Whisk in the flour until combined and cook for an additional 1 minute, whisking occasionally.  Slowly whisk in vegetable or chicken stock until the mixture is smooth.  Then slowly whisk in the milk until it is combined.  Continue cooking for 1-2 minutes, or until the mixture comes to a simmer.  Then remove from heat, and stir in the cheddar, Parmesan, salt and pepper until the cheese sauce is smooth.  Remove from heat.

Once the pasta and broccoli are cooked, pour the cheese sauce on top of the pasta, add in the chicken, and toss until everything is evenly combined.

At this point, you can either serve the pasta stovetop-style as-is.  Or pour the pasta into a greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish, and sprinkle with extra cheddar cheese and Panko breadcrumbs.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the top becomes slightly crispy and the breadcrumbs are slightly golden.  Remove and serve immediately.

*To cook the chicken breasts on the stove top, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large saute pan.  Pound chicken to even thickness, and sprinkle both sides with a few generous pinches of salt and pepper.  Add to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes per side, or until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink inside.  (Cooking times will vary depending on the thickness of your chicken.)  Or, to bake the chicken breasts in the oven, follow these instructions.

**If making the baked version of this dish, I recommend ever-so-slightly undercooking your pasta, as it will cook a bit more while it bakes in the oven.

If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #gimmesomeoven. I'd love to see what you cook!

Broccoli Chicken Mac and Cheese | gimmesomeoven.com

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Comments

  1. Erin @ Miss Scrambled Egg — June 19, 2015 @ 5:26 am (#)

    Everything about this shouts AMAZING, Ali! Have a blast at the wedding. I’ve been a part of two weddings this year and they were both so much fun. :) I love this mac and cheese dish. I need to try it soon.

  2. Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness — June 19, 2015 @ 6:10 am (#)

    Weddings are so much fun! And playing in the band sounds great!
    ALMOST as great as this crispy-topped-ooey-gooey mac and cheese! I decided that broccoli addition makes it health food..so i can eat two bowls right? ;) Pinned!

  3. Sune Moolman — June 19, 2015 @ 6:46 am (#)

    I just love this combo! Broccoli is one of my favourite veggies – this is beautiful!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — June 23rd, 2015 @ 3:46 pm

      Thank you, Sune, we hope you enjoy!

  4. Jenna — June 19, 2015 @ 7:02 am (#)

    Mac and Cheese is the ultimate comfort food! Love how this has broccoli in it. I’ve always like it, other veggies like peas, well I’ll pass haha! This looks cheesy and delish!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — June 23rd, 2015 @ 3:46 pm

      We totally agree, and we hope you love this! : )

  5. Amanda — June 19, 2015 @ 9:01 am (#)

    Oh my, this looks awesome! I LOVE cheese. I’m living in Paris right now (temporarily) and my three favourite foods are cheese, bread, and cherries. And of course wine.

    I may have to make this for supper this week! :)

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — June 25th, 2015 @ 10:20 pm

      Thank you, we hope you enjoy it! And your favorite foods are totally our favorite foods! Also, we’re very jealous that you’re living in Paris, and we’re not. *sigh*

  6. Amanda — June 19, 2015 @ 9:59 am (#)

    I love Mac & Trees!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — June 25th, 2015 @ 10:19 pm

      So do we! : D

  7. Medha @ Whisk & Shout — June 19, 2015 @ 2:57 pm (#)

    This looks delicious! I absolutely LOVE broccoli, so ever since I was little, I’ve been adding it to mac and cheese. Yum :)

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — June 28th, 2015 @ 9:11 pm

      Thank you, we hope you like this! : )

  8. Nessa — June 19, 2015 @ 3:06 pm (#)

    This looks delicious!! Gonna try as soon as I can! 

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — June 28th, 2015 @ 9:11 pm

      Thanks, Nessa, we hope you enjoy!

  9. Julie Blanner — June 19, 2015 @ 4:17 pm (#)

    This is such a great idea! It looks delicious!

  10. Ana | Espresso My Kitchen — June 19, 2015 @ 8:05 pm (#)

     This Mac n’ Cheese looks pretty amazing! love that it’s a pretty balance meal, it has your carbs, protein and veggies, YUM! :) Pinning! 

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — June 28th, 2015 @ 9:12 pm

      Thanks, Ana, we hop you like it!

  11. Medeja — June 20, 2015 @ 5:10 am (#)

    Broccoli and chicken in mac&cheese sounds really great! Looks good too ;)

  12. Priyanka Patel — June 20, 2015 @ 8:48 pm (#)

    This looks and sounds super delicious! I am definitely going to give this recipe a go! Thank you so much for posting this!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — June 25th, 2015 @ 10:01 pm

      Thank you, Priyanka, we hope you enjoy! : )

  13. Jazz — June 21, 2015 @ 3:47 am (#)

    This looks so good! Just wanted I needed for my usual friday cravingsxx

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — June 25th, 2015 @ 9:53 pm

      Thank you, we hope you enjoy!

  14. Myrtice Stevens — June 22, 2015 @ 7:11 am (#)

    You’ve created a perfect match: broccoli and cheese. Love how vivid the colors are. My veggies always turn out to be like left over. That’s so sad.

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — June 25th, 2015 @ 9:44 pm

      Thank you, Myrtice, we hope you like this dish!

  15. Jennifer @ The Foodie Patootie — June 22, 2015 @ 9:54 am (#)

    Haha, it’s actually really funny that you mention the little trees because my best friend’s son calls them that. He’s all like, “I want a little tree.” It’s adorable.

  16. Josh | The Kentucky Gent — June 22, 2015 @ 10:43 am (#)

    OMG – all my favorite (savory) things in one dish. I’m in heaven. 

    Josh | The Kentucky Gent
    http://thekentuckygent.com

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — June 25th, 2015 @ 9:42 pm

      Yay, we hope you like! : )

  17. Theo Herbots — June 22, 2015 @ 1:36 pm (#)

    A verry nice site

  18. Senika @ Foodie Blog Stalker — June 24, 2015 @ 11:26 am (#)

    Ali you’re so multi-talented! And this mac & cheese? YES! Mini trees and all ;-) ! 

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — June 28th, 2015 @ 8:46 pm

      Thank you, we hope you enjoy! : D

  19. Agata — June 25, 2015 @ 11:25 am (#)

    It looks so amazing! And by adding the broccoli it makes it that more healthy! Need to give it a go!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — June 28th, 2015 @ 8:12 pm

      Thanks, we hope you like it!

  20. Jen — June 26, 2015 @ 3:18 pm (#)

    i followed the recipe, but substituted Brussels sprouts for the broccoli due to an allergy. It turned out awesome! Thank you so much for this recipe!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — June 28th, 2015 @ 7:39 pm

      We’re so glad to hear that, Jen, thanks for giving it a try! : )

  21. Melissa (Lumber Loves Lace) — July 2, 2015 @ 8:30 pm (#)

    Just tried this tonight for dinner. Super easy to make and turned out fabulous. Hubs loved it too :) Thanks for sharing!! <3

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — July 2nd, 2015 @ 9:12 pm

      Thanks Melissa, we’re so glad you liked it! : )

  22. Jon McNeal — September 2, 2015 @ 7:30 pm (#)

    So good! I do wonder how it would taste with sausage instead of chicken…..guessing you would be trading taste for unhealthiness though!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — September 7th, 2015 @ 12:49 pm

      Thanks Jon, we’re glad you liked this! We think sausage would be delicious in this – and not necessarily, especially if you use a lean sausage, like turkey or chicken. If you give it a go, let us know how it turned out! :)

  23. Heather @ Simple Fresh Natural — February 10, 2016 @ 7:09 pm (#)

    Sounds like you had a super fun weekend celebrating your friends marriage!  And I think this recipe would make anyone a lover of broccoli, this would be awesome for picky eaters! 

  24. Shannon — February 28, 2016 @ 5:52 pm (#)

    This was delicious!  My husband doesn’t normally care for broccoli, but he found this dish so yummy that he actually ate all of the broccoli on his plate!  I’m looking forward to trying your other recipes!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — February 29th, 2016 @ 12:56 pm

      Thank you Shannon — we’re happy he enjoyed it! :)

  25. Beverley — March 19, 2016 @ 5:46 pm (#)

    oh these ingredients are so delicious made together in one dish…love this comfort dish and I know my family will too xoxo

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — March 19th, 2016 @ 10:58 pm

      Thanks Beverley — we hope you and your family enjoy! :)

  26. Mary — April 7, 2016 @ 2:38 pm (#)

    I meal prepped this recipe this week and I’m so sad to see it go! It was very easy, affordable and YUMMY. Now I have to look on the site for next week’s dish and maybe try those heart chocolates! 

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — April 8th, 2016 @ 5:45 pm

      We’re so happy you enjoyed it Mary! Thanks for your sweet comment! :)