Nacho Chicken Mac ‘n Cheese

She says:
The Foodies have been very remiss in blogging recently, as you may have noticed. We have been going out. We just haven’t been in the mood to write about it. But I’m getting there. I have a mostly-finished rundown of our culinary adventures in London in August, which I would love to finish and post soon. And we’ve been to Edison Food and Drink Lab twice in the last month or so, which definitely deserves a blog post. So stay tuned.

In the meantime, I wanted to do a quick post about a dish I semi-created that is a very big hit in our house for quick weeknight dinners. It’s nothing fancy but it is something that almost everyone loves: mac ‘n cheese! The recipe I based my dish on is at MyRecipes.com. But I had a couple of issues with it. Number 1, Hubby doesn’t eat beef. Number 2, when I was a kid, I got a stomach virus. The last thing I ate before the, um, symptoms began was chili mac. Ever since then, anything with ground meat and elbow macaroni makes me gag. So I decided to replace the ground beef with chicken breast. I liked the inclusion of the Rotel tomatoes and the chili powder but thought, “We can make this whole thing spicier and more Southwestern.” I changed some things and added some things and created something I call nacho chicken mac ‘n cheese.

Nacho Chicken Mac ‘n Cheese

2 tsp hot harissa olive oil (Obviously, not everyone will have this, so you can use regular olive oil and just up the cayenne a little.)
1 lb chicken breast (cubed large)
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp chipotle powder
2 c low-sodium chicken broth
1 c water
1 10-oz can original Rotel tomatoes
12 oz corkscrew pasta
1/2 c fat free milk (I use soy)
4 oz 1/3 -less-fat cream cheese
Approx. 5 oz shredded Mexican blend cheese (I use Kraft reduced-fat)

Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil. Add chicken and next 6 ingredients (the spices); cook until the chicken is just white on the outside. Add broth, water, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Stir in pasta; cover and cook 10 minutes or until macaroni is done.

Heat milk and cream cheese in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook 4 minutes or until cheese melts, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Stir in cheddar. Add cheese sauce to macaroni mixture; toss well to coat. The sauce thickens up a little as it cools.

This whole thing (from cutting the chicken to putting the cheese sauce in) takes me no more than 30 minutes. I like to put broccoli florets and/or green peas in mine for some color and veggies. Hubby, of course, eats his plain.

WARNING: The way I prepare the dish is SPICY. Hubby and I both love, love, love spicy food and it even makes my lips burn a little. If you don’t want it as spicy, use mild Rotel and leave out the cayenne. That should take it down a couple of notches.

Tell me what you think!

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About twofoodiesinlove

About the couple: We are thirtysomethings. We’ve known each other since 2001 when we were in college together and we got married in 2009. About the wife: She’s been an accountant since 2004 and loves numbers maybe a little too much. She eats and cooks and bakes and drinks and constantly has to watch her weight because of it. About the husband: He’s a government employee… for 9 years… he likes nice people who don’t talk too much and FOOD!!! He’s a fatty who loves beer, wine and clear spirits. He likes to cook, usually stuff that is too hard for him but usually turns out well. he tries to watch his weight as it goes by at the speed of light but can’t seem to see it… oh and he loves the Wifey. she rocks.
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