Cooking On A Budget: Slow Cooker Chicken and Vegetable Macaroni and Cheese

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Slow Cooker Chicken and Vegetable Macaroni and Cheese


If you have been following my blog or know me personally you know that macaroni and cheese is one of my top five comfort meals of all time. Having viewed other recipes that were made in the crock pot I decided to try my own out. I also wanted to see how the chicken would work along with some vegetables and began the creation process.

It was to my amazement very tasty. The broccoli and tomatoes were key to the all around flavor. The chicken was tender and of course all of the cheesy goodness shown through. I use penne pasta in my macaroni and cheese but any hearty pasta will work well. The only drawback to the dish was putting the dry pasta in. I say that because pasta tastes so much better when you boil it first in salted water. However you can always add extra salt in the dish itself. But first let it cook and then taste and adjust the salt level.
  • 1 1/2 boneless skinless chicken breasts - cut into bite size cubes
  • 1 small head of broccoli - cut into florets
  • 2 cups uncooked pasta (I used a liquid measure cup by the way.)
  • 16 oz. canned whole tomatoes - cut up
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • cooking spray
  1. Start out by making sure your chicken is washed in cold water and you remove any left over silver skin the butcher did not get off. Dice the chicken into bite sized pieces and place in a bowl and then sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.
  2.  Prepare the broccoli florets and the tomatoes next and set aside.
  3. Shred or grate your cheddar cheese.
  4. In a sauce pot on top of the stove bring the milk up to a really low bubble then whisk in the Parmesan Cheese and the shredded cheddar cheese along with some pepper to taste. Cook and whisk just until the cheese is incorporated. The sauce does thicken in the crock pot as the pasta cooks.
  5. Spray your crock pot with some cooking spray to make clean up later on easier.
  6. Add in the chicken broth first followed by the chicken, broccoli, pasta and tomatoes. Give a good stir then add in the cheese sauce. Mix well.
  7. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-7 hours.
This dish did not take a lot of time to put together. If you work outside the home consider doing the prep work the night before so in the morning all you have to do is make the cheese sauce which takes about 5 minutes and you can toss it all in the crock pot. Set it. Go to work and come back home to a fully cooked meal the family will enjoy.

I did not have to buy tomato product because I still have tomato pieces canned to use up. The cost was figured based on you buying the product. The total meal would cost approximately $9.45 to make.
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