Broccoli-Chicken Mac & Cheese (30-Minute Meal!)

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Broccoli-Chicken Mac & Cheese is creamy, cheesy, and ready in just 30 minutes!

Well, despite getting spanked by Notre Dame, and randomly getting my car window bashed in, I think Ben’s 30th birthday weekend in Chicago was a smashing (pun intended) success! :D

We have tons of friends in Chicago and in 2 short days were able to hang out with almost all of them, drinking good beer, eating great food, and celebrating Ben’s big day. :)

Saturday morning Ben went one way with his buddies, while I went another with my besties, then we all reconvened later that afternoon for tacos and beers before heading out to the main event – Miami vs Notre Dame at Soldier Field.

(click once, than once again on the next page to see big panoramic photo)

Ben was JACKED!

We filed into the stadium, found our seats, then chanted and cheered alongside the other Miami fans with our $8.50 beers until the fireworks exploded overhead, and the game kicked off. Whee!

(click once, than once again on the next page to see big panoramic photo)

It was FREEZING, but so exciting and surreal to be watching the team Ben’s been obsessed with for nearly 20 years in person. Plus, being in a NFL stadium cannot be beat – there’s not a bad seat in the house.

Unfortunately, just as quickly as our beer tab went up, Miami’s ball game came down. ( ↓ Not pleased…)

Blame it on bad calls, cold hands, or just an off night, but it was clear about 20 minutes in that this was not going to be Miami’s game. SO SAD! I think the face of the most die hard Miami fan I may ever meet in the right hand corner of the pic below pretty much says it all. (And please compare it to her face in the first panoramic photo. Priceless!)

(click once, than once again on the next page to see big panoramic photo)

The cherry on the top was when we found my car window had been bashed in overnight, on Sunday morning as we were leaving. Really, vandal?

Luckily nothing was stolen, which is oddly annoying, and one cardboard box, a wine bag, and roll of duct tape later we were ready to rock the 5+ hour drive home in style. BAHAHA. I was embarrassed for about half a minute. What are you going to do?

Truly though, despite the loss of both the game and my car’s window, and, ok, our dignity on the road home, we had an awesome time in Chicago. The window can be fixed (quickly, actually – Safelite’s coming today!) and most importantly, Ben had a blast turning 30.

Plus we actually made it home in good time (apparently a cardboard box duct taped to your window doesn’t produce as much drag as I thought,) and wrapped up the weekend by eating takeout from our favorite Chinese restaurant in our PJs on the couch. It was a perfect way to wrap up a crazy weekend!

In true ‘just getting home from vacation’ fashion, I was trying to think of something really quick and easy to make for dinner tonight, as I haven’t had time to go to the grocery store yet, and remembered a yummy, 30-minute meal I made a few weeks ago that I haven’t shared yet: Broccoli-Chicken Mac & Cheese.

Large macaroni noodles, sauteed chicken, and fresh broccoli are tossed in a luscious, light and creamy sauce that does not get any simpler to make, and tastes totally gourmet. Only you and I will know that it’s made with 99% fridge and pantry staples, and takes 30-minutes (or less) to make. Shhh! Tell ‘em ya’ slaved! ;)

Start the Broccoli-Chicken Mac & Cheese by dropping 8oz large macaroni noodles (gluten-free if you need it,) into salted, boiling water. I know I say this all the time, but adding 1-2 teaspoons of salt to pasta water when it boils adds sooooo much flavor to the pasta. Try it once and you’ll know exactly what I mean!

When the pasta has about 3 minutes left to cook, drop in 3 cups small broccoli florets, then drain everything and set it aside.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add 2 teaspoons cooking oil. We’re going to stir in some chopped sun-dried tomatoes in a bit so I used the oil from the SDT jar, but you can use whatever you want.

Add 2 chicken breasts that have been chopped into bite-sized pieces and seasoned with salt & pepper, then saute until they’re cooked through and remove to a plate.

K. Onto that rich and creamy (gourmet tasting!) sauce. In the same skillet as the chicken, add 6oz Laughing Cow Light Cheese, which is all 6 wedges. Laughing Cow Cheese is a DREAM – so creamy and flavorful, but only 35 calories per wedge. I love it with crackers, and in this mac!

Next add in 3/4 cup milk, and 1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes.

Let the cheese melt and the sauce bubble until everything is thick and melty. YUM!

Finally, add in the cooked chicken, noodles, and broccoli, then toss everything to combine.

Dinner is served!

Broccoli-Chicken Mac & Cheese

Print this recipe!

Serves 4

Slightly adapted from BHG.com

Ingredients:
8oz large macaroni noodles
3 cups small broccoli florets
2 large chicken breasts (about 1lb), cut into bite-sized pieces
salt & pepper
2 teaspoons oil (I used oil from the sun-dried tomatoes)
6oz Laughing Cow Lite Cheese Wedges (I used Garlic & Herb)
3/4 – 1 cup milk
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

Directions:

  1. Cook macaroni noodles in a large pot of salted, boiling water. Add broccoli to the pot 3 minutes before noodles are done cooking, then drain well and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, season chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add chicken and cook until no longer pink. Remove to a plate and set aside. In the same skillet, add cheese, milk, sun-dried tomatoes, salt, and pepper, then stir until cheese is melted, and sauce is thick. Add cooked chicken, noodles, and broccoli to the skillet then stir well to combine. Add more milk if sauce isn’t creamy enough, then serve.

This is total comfort food, but so stinking easy, and much lighter than traditional macaroni & cheeses.

Laughing Cow has a ton of different flavors to customize this dish to your tastes, too. I used Garlic Herb, but was mighty tempted by the Sun-dried Tomato Basil flavor. Go with your gut though! :)

Hope you enjoy!

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