Barbecue Chicken Macaroni and Cheese
Two cheese macaroni with sweet barbecue chicken throughout, topped off with a crunchy Panko breadcrumb mixture and a drizzle of barbecue sauce
I feel like this past weekend was a total blur. I honestly had to stop and try to remember what I did. Clearly nothing overly memorable if that’s the case. Tax appointment, lots of playing in the kitchen and hanging out with the family. Saturday was kind of a bust weather wise but Sunday totally made up for it. I can’t wait to share some of the recipes that came out of my kitchen this weekend. Of course you’ll have to wait a bit because I’m a few weeks out on posts and there are always new things being made so we’ll see when they all make it to the starring role here. Did you have a nice weekend?
I realized we’re also in the home stretch for school. Only 2 1/2 weeks to go until summer break officially kicks off! I’m getting kind of excited and am considering celebrating with a trip to the zoo that week. The kids will totally love it and it’s a zoo we’ve never been to. Fingers crossed it’s worth the visit. It’s a total downer when you make a special trip to a new place for it to only disappoint in a big way. Do you have any fun summer plans?
Clearly I’m not over the whole mac n cheese thing or barbecue sauce so I had to put them together. I don’t think it’s humanly possible, at least for me, to ever be over pasta or barbecue sauce. Oh and bacon because yes, that’s totally in there too. How could I not add bacon? I mean it goes with everything! Well… maybe not everything. I bet they wouldn’t taste so awesome with minty gum or sour patch kids.
It’s creamy, sweet and salty. It’s packed with flavor and variety. But the one thing you absolutely must know about this dish – it’s delicious but you 110% must love barbecue sauce or you probably won’t enjoy this quite so much. I don’t want to hear any ‘I tried this and didn’t like it because it tastes like barbecue sauce’. Well duh… there’s barbecue chicken in it. Mmmm. And there’s a glorious drizzle of barbecue sauce on top that seeps flavor into the rest of the dish while it bakes away in the oven. So you have to be a fan of barbecue sauce. Otherwise don’t come whining to me that you didn’t like it. ;) But I promise if you like barbecue sauce, cheese and bacon – you’ll love this!
More pasta recipes to try:
Three cheese skillet mac and cheese
Crispy baked ravioli
Spinach and mushroom lasagna rolls
Buffalo chicken stuffed shells
Italian sausage and ziti
Lobster mac and cheese
Havarti mac and cheese
Yield: Serves 6-8
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes +
Barbecue Chicken Macaroni and Cheese
Two cheese macaroni with sweet barbecue chicken throughout, topped off with a crunchy Panko breadcrumb mixture and a drizzle of barbecue sauce.
For the chicken:
- 1 chicken breast, trimmed and pounded thin
- 1/8 tsp cayenne
- 1/8 tsp garlic powder
- 2-3 Tbsp barbecue sauce
For the pasta:
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
- 1C milk
- 1/4C heavy cream
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
- 7oz extra sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/2lb pasta
For the topping:
- 1/2C plain Panko breadcrumbs
- 1oz extra sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 tsp parsley
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
- Plus additional barbecue sauce, for drizzling
*Optional bacon, cooked and crumbled for the filling.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine garlic powder, cayenne and barbecue sauce. Brush over trimmed chicken. Bake on a foil lined baking sheet for 20-30 minutes or until no longer pink in the center and internal temperature registers at least 165 with a meat thermometer. Cool and slice into small bite sized pieces. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cook pasta according to package instructions.
In a double boiler over simmering water. Melt butter, whisk in flour followed by milk and heavy cream. Warm over medium heat until steaming. Whisk in salt and pepper, followed by Parmesan and cheddar cheese. Stir occasionally to create a smooth cheese sauce.
Drain pasta, transfer to a glass or ceramic 8x8 baking pan. Add chicken, followed by cheese sauce and optional bacon. Stir and toss to coat well.
Melt 1 tbsp unsalted butter, add to a bowl with remaining topping ingredients (minus barbecue sauce*). Toss to combine. Sprinkle over pasta.
Lightly drizzle barbecue sauce over Panko topping.
Bake for 20 minutes. Serve warm.
Baked by Rachel original