Friday, August 2, 2013

blackened chicken mac and cheese

Oh my, oh my, oh my. I love macaroni and cheese. Although, I guess this isn't macaroni- it's tiny shells. But, in any case, it's so yummy. Homemade cheese sauce always trumps the yellow powder of boxed mac and cheese, and it's so simple too.
My local grocery has had AWESOME sales on chicken lately, and since chicken is so ungodly expensive, I've been stocking up. Much to the chagrin of Ed who thinks our meat ratio should be 75% beef, 15% shrimp and 10% chicken. Oh well.
You want to thoroughly coat some chicken with egg and then...
Into the blackening spice... these babies are gettin' grilled.
Looks good already!
Step one for the macaroni and cheese are the noodles. Use whatever cheese grabbing noodles you'd like- macaroni, shells, rotini, etc.
Macaroni and cheese needs cheese, so make sure that it's ready to go before you start the rue. I used a mix- sharp cheddar and montery jack cheese.
Equal parts melted butter and flour- so it's melt the butter first, then the flour.
Cook for a minute before slowly whisking in the cream. Yes, cream! You'll hate me and love me later for it. All at the same time.
Once the cream has come up to temperature and has begun to thicken, then and ONLY then can you begin to add the cheese in small handfuls.
Now, if you just made this cheese sauce, you could dip broccoli in it, or chunks of bread. But this cheese sauce has a greater purpose.
To make everything easier, I pour the drained shells back into the pot they were cooked in along with the cheese sauce, frozen peas and bacon. The frozen peas will cook all the way through in the hot cheese sauce without breaking up and bacon makes everything better, even macaroni and cheese. Cover while you let the chicken rest.
Slice that yummy grilled chicken up and place it on top of the macaroni and cheese, or serve it along side. Either way, it's delightful.
Blackened Chicken Mac and Cheese
Girl Carnivore is a woman after my own heart :)
2 large chicken breasts
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup blackening seasoning
4 slices bacon, fried crisp and chopped
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 lb pasta, like macaroni or shells
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons flour
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
2 cups shredded cheese, your choice

In to separate shallow bowls, add beaten eggs and blackening seasonings. Coat each chicken breast in egg and then thoroughly coat with blackening spice. Grill or cook on a flat top until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees and juices run clear. Let rest for 5 minutes. Slice and keep warm.Meanwhile, cook pasta according to packaged directions. Drain, pour back into cooking pot and cover to keep warm. Melt butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat and add flour to create a rue. Let this rue cook for 1 minute. Reduce heat and slowly add in milk and cream, stirring constantly. Bring back up to temperature and let thicken, about 2 more minutes. Add shredded cheese in small batches and let thoroughly melt before adding additional cheese. Pour cheese sauce into noodles along with frozen peas and bacon. Top macaroni and cheese with the blackened chicken and enjoy!