Annnnndd just in time for the weekly email roundup of recipes – sent out to my email subscribers every Saturday afternoon, if new recipes were published – I present to you this Cajun Chicken Mac and Cheese. This recipe was originally in my mini ebook ‘Got An Hour?’
Cajun Chicken Mac and Cheese Ingredients
Feel free to jump to the full recipe, but here are useful notes about the ingredients you will need to make this Cajun Chicken Mac and Cheese recipe:
Boneless skinless chicken: You can use thighs if you like, but I always go for breasts.
Elbow macaroni: So it’s macaroni and cheese, for you particular folks that get caught up on things like that. Shells or any other short pasta with a place to catch sauce will work great.
Milk, chicken broth: Our liquids. These cook pasta and form the sauce.
Garlic, bell peppers: Originally this recipe was written using dehydrated bell peppers
Velveeta,sharp cheddar cheese: Velveeta is mild and very creamy. Sharp cheddar adds a twang and melty-pully goodness. If you have an aversion to Velveeta sub it with cream cheese and choose a milder cheese like Colby Jack instead of cheddar.
Cajun seasoning: It’s Cajun Chicken Mac and Cheese, after all. I make my own, and will be selling you some soon!
Flour: To thicken and build the cheese sauce.
Vegetable oil, butter: Oil to saute the chicken and veggies, butter to make the roux for the sauce.
How to Make Creamy Stovetop Cajun Mac and Cheese
Full instructions are included in the recipe below – scroll down a bit more – but for those of you that aren’t into baked macaroni and cheese, here’s how to adapt this recipe into a stovetop version:
No-Bake. Don’t preheat your oven, but otherwise follow the entire recipe as written below, all the way to step seven.
Switch up how the cheese is used. Instead of adding a third of the cheddar along with the Velveeta, add half of it. Once it’s all melted and incorporated, stir in the cooked chicken and peppers, along with the smoked paprika and black pepper.
Broil it! Turn on your broiler and make sure an oven rack is in the top half. Once you have the mac and chicken mixed together well, spread it out into an even layer and top with the remaining cheese. Pop it under the broiler for a few minutes, until the cheese is completely melted and those toasty brown spots begin forming. This is what it’ll look like:
If you enjoy one-pot meals, check out these other one-pot recipes! I love one-pot meals so I’ve got quite a few.
1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 lb dry elbow macaroni
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
2 1/2 C whole milk
1 1/2 C chicken broth
1 C sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 C Velveeta, cubed
2 tbsp cajun seasoning
1 tbsp vegetable oil
4 tbsp butter
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp kosher salt, to taste
1 tsp cracked black pepper
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
Preheat your oven to 425°F. Season your chicken liberally with one tablespoon of cajun seasoning. If your cajun seasoning doesn’t include salt, add some.
Place a 12″ deep skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat and add the vegetable oil. Let it preheat for a couple of minutes until the oil is shimmering. Add the chicken to the pan in a single layer – don’t crowd the pan; cook in batches if needed. Cook on the first side until it’s nicely seared and the edges are becoming opaque. Flip and continue cooking on the other side for another 3-4 minutes.
After you’ve seared all the chicken, add the bell pepper and garlic to the pan. Stir together and cook until the chicken is cooked through.
Remove the chicken, garlic, and bell pepper from the pan and set it aside. Add the butter to the pan and allow it to melt, then sprinkle the flour over it. Stir them together into a roux and allow it to cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Pour in the chicken broth and milk, and whisk everything together, making sure to scrape the roux off the bottom of the pan so it can be incorporated.
Stir in the macaroni and cajun seasoning. Bring to a low boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cover with a lid. Cook, stirring occasionally until the macaroni is tender – about 15 minutes.
When the macaroni is al dente, stir in the Velveeta and about one-third of the sharp cheddar cheese. Once the cheese has melted and is incorporated totally, fold in the chicken and peppers you cooked earlier.
Once mixed, spread it into an even layer and top with the remaining shredded cheese. Sprinkle the black pepper and smoked paprika over the surface, and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, just until golden brown and bubbling. Dassit!
Check the post above the recipe for instructions on making a creamy stovetop version.