Baked Macaroni & Cheese

Baked Macaroni CheeseI still hadn’t found a good gluten-free macaroni and cheese for the boys and I really haven’t had much luck with a cheese sauce (especially my mother in law’s recipe).  So when she was up for the day, and Ian asked for macaroni and cheese for dinner, we went to work.

I wanted to make the macaroni and cheese to be more of a meal rather than the standard blue box variety, so I added the broccoli and chicken for that reason.  Which means, both of these can be included or left out entirely.  Also, if you want to change out the broccoli for a different type of veggie – go for it; just make sure you dice it up or it’s a small veggie. Dice up the broccoli.  Steam it and then dice it, that way it’s not fighting with the pasta as a big piece of food to stick in your mouth. *grin*  The same goes for the chicken.

For the cheese sauce, my mother-in-law’s original recipe is 2 tbsp butter, 2 tbsp flour (or 1 tbsp corn starch) and 1 cup of milk.  With Simon’s wheat allergy, we obviously had to make it gluten-free, but we also wanted to make it cheesy.  For the size of the pan, 9×13, we automatically doubled the recipe thinking we’d need it to cover everything.  Once you have the basis for the recipe, you can add as much or as little cheese as you want.  The one thing to keep in mind is to make sure that at least 1/2 of what you use is a white cheese; the white cheeses help make the sauce creamier and less grainy.  We started off the recipe using 2 cups of the 4-cheese Mexican blend, but once the sauce was made, Ian wasn’t impressed and said it needed more cheese. About 8 slices of American Cheese and another 2 cups of Sharp Cheddar later, he finally declared the sauce adequate.  At least that is what I said and told him it was fine.

I think that’s the only weird thing I’ve done, everything else should be pretty straight forward.  We did have this for dinner tonight and it turned out fabulous!  Simon ate it up and kept coming back for more and everyone else seemed to like it as well.  Well…Ian wasn’t too crazy about the “green stuff”, aka the broccoli, but really…which child is? *grin*  There was one thing that I did end up changing from my original directions.  Initially, I didn’t stir the pasta, chicken and broccoli together, simply leaving it layered in the dish, before I poured on the cheese sauce.  This turned out to be not a great idea.  We were thinking, with the pieces layered together, that regardless of how you served the macaroni and cheese, you would end up with some of everything.  In actuality, the broccoli and chicken ended up being more sporadic.  So it didn’t work like we thought it would.  So stir everything together before adding the cheese sauce, or don’t that’s up to you.  However, I do like how the sauce turned out by not mixing it in with the rest.

As for the bread crumbs, I could leave them off the next time I make this.  I wasn’t too thrilled with them, but Jesse said he liked them. I think a lot of it depends on the bread crumbs.  If I recall correctly, I wasn’t a huge fan of the GGFB that last time I cooked with them, but they were what I had on hand and I don’t know of another gluten-free bread crumb.  So next time I will probably leave them off or only sprinkle them on half the dish.

Overall, I think this recipe was a great success.  I probably won’t make as much next time, but with 4 adults and 1.5 kids, we only ended up eating half the pan.  On a normal night, we wouldn’t need this much, but I’m thinking cutting this recipe in half wouldn’t be that hard. However, the bottom line is I would definitely make this again.

Side Note: The before-sauce picture definitely looks a lot yummier than the finished product.  I’m not sure if it was simply my lightening or what, but it is good I promise you.  Although I have been thinking, I wonder what it would do if I mixed the the cheese with the pasta (and maybe the chicken) before adding the broccoli (and maybe the chicken).  If anyone tries it, let me know please.

Baked Macaroni CheeseIngredients:
3 chicken breasts
Olive oil
Tastefully Simple Garlic Garlic
Salt
Pepper
1 cup Broccoli, diced
16oz of Schar Penne
1/4 cup Glutino Gluten Free Breadcrumbs

Cheese Sauce:
2 cups milk
1 tbsp corn starch
2 tbsp butter
2 cups of Colby cheese
2 cups of Sharp Cheddar cheese
Salt
Pepper
Paprika

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook pasta until al dente. Steam the broccoli. Once the broccoli is steamed, transfer it to a cutting board and dice.
  3. After de-fatting the chicken, using a meat tenderizer, pound the chicken once or twice. Brush olive oil over chicken and then sprinkle with the garlic garlic; flip chicken and repeat. Place the chicken in a skillet over medium to medium-high heat and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Flip the chicken at least once in the skillet and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Once cooked, transfer the chicken to a cutting board and chop/dice the chicken.
  4. Grease a 9×13 pan and spread out the cooked pasta. On top of the pasta, spread out the chicken and broccoli. Stir everything together.
  5. Cheese Sauce: In a microwaveable bowl, combine the milk, cornstarch and butter and microwave 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add cheese and stir.  Microwave for another 2 minutes or until cheese is melted, stirring occasionally.  If the sauce is not cheesy enough, add more taste. Once the sauce is cheesy to taste, pour over the pasta mixture.  DO NOT STIR.
  6. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the cheese sauce.  Bake for 30-45 minutes.

November 5, 2011 · jackie · 4 Comments
Tags:  · Posted in: Pasta

4 Responses

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  2. Seth - August 10, 2016

    The mac and cheese looks a bit overcooked. Is the bake time correct on this recipe.

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