Friday, November 2, 2012

Cheesy Chicken Bake

Cheesy Chicken Bake is the result of my intense craving for mac and cheese and my need to use up some leftover roasted chicken. The result was a sharp cheese blend with tender chicken under a crumbly, golden crust. Although I did not originally put broccoli into the meal, this one-dish dinner would be even better, in my opinion, with some blanched broccoli added into the mixture. Feel free to mix up the cheeses to suit your taste.

Preheat Oven Temperature: 350 degrees
5 Tablespoons Butter
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1 Small Yellow Onion, Finely Chopped
1 Clove Garlic, Minced
2 Tablespoons Flour
1 Cup Skim Milk
1 Cup Chicken Broth
1 Cup Button Mushrooms, Thinly Sliced
1 Chicken Breast, Roasted and Chopped
1/2 Cup Each Grated Parmesan, Swiss, and Sharp Cheddar Cheeses
2 Cups Rotini Pasta
1/4 Cup Plain Bread Crumb

1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 4 Tablespoons of butter.
2. Add the onion and garlic to the melted butter and allow to cook until tender, approximately 5 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent burning the garlic.
3. Add the flour to the pan. Stir to combine. Allow to cook for 2 minutes in order to cook off the "flour taste."
4. Slowly add the milk to the pan stirring constantly. You need to continually stir in order to remove any lumps. After adding the milk, repeat the process with the chicken broth. Add the salt, pepper, and cayenne to the mixture and stir.
5. In a separate pot, bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for 4 minutes. After 4 minutes, drain the pasta. Set aside until ready to use.
6. Add the cheese to the cream mixture and stir to combine.
7. In a large bowl, combine the noodles, cheese mixture, mushrooms (or other desired vegetables) and chicken.
8. Melt the remaining butter and combine with plain bread crumbs.
9. Place the pasta mixture into a baking dish or into small ramekins. Top with breadcrumb mixture.
10. Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

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