Homemade Mac & Cheese

A hearty and vegetable packed version of mac & cheese made with whole grain macaroni, broccoli, green beans, asparagus, chicken, a cheddar-parmesan sauce and brown butter bread crumbs.

Number of Servings: 4 - 5 servings

Estimated Cost Per Serving: $3.00

Ingredients

- 2 cups whole grain macaroni

- 1/2 a bundle of asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces

- 1 cup of broccoli florets

- 1 cup of green beans, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

- 3 chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces

- 3 tbsp whole wheat flour

- 1/2 onion, finely chopped

- 1 stick of butter, cut into two halves

- 4 cups of 2% fat milk

- 6 oz of shredded low fat sharp cheddar cheese

- 2 oz of grated parmesan cheese

- 1 tsp of ground mustard

- 2 tsps of smoked paprika, separated into two

- 1 tsp of garlic powder

- 3/4 cup of panko bread crumbs

- 1 tbsp of canola oil

- salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1)  Pat dry the cut chicken pieces and season with salt, pepper, and 1 tsp of smoked paprika.

2) Heat the canola oil in a saute pan, add seasoned chicken, and cook until lightly browned about 10 minutes.

3) Steam the broccoli, asparagus, and green beans for 5-7 minutes. Set aside to cool. 

4) In a separate saute pan melt 1/2 a stick of butter over low heat, once the butter starts to brown and has a nutty fragrance add the panko bread crumbs. Toast until the bread crumbs are golden brown. Set aside.

5) Bring 4 quartz of water to a boil with a teaspoon of salt. Add macaroni to boiling water and cook for 6 minutes stirring occasionally. Drain and set aside.

6) In a large sauce pan melt the other 1/2 stick of butter over low heat and add the onions, cook for 2 minutes.

7) Add in the whole wheat flour and whisk together until it forms a paste.

8) Slowly add in the milk, one cup at a time whisking to combine between each addition.

9) Increase the heat to medium-low and once the milk begins to boil slowly add in the cheddar cheese, continue to whisk until the cheddar cheese is fully incorporated.

10) Next add in the mustard powder, remaining smoked paprika, and garlic powder.

11) Then add in the parmesan cheese and continue to whisk until combined.

12) Season the cheese sauce with salt and pepper as needed.

13) Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

14) Next assembly, in a large bowl combine the macaroni, cheese sauce, vegetables, and chicken until all ingredients are coated with the cheese sauce.

15) In a lightly greased cast iron-skillet pour macaroni mixture and top with brown butter bread crumbs.

16) Cook for 30 minutes, remove from oven, serve and enjoy!