Blackened Chicken Mac & Cheese

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This morning  I was sitting at home contemplating how I would enjoy another rainy day off day. I’ve been a little under the weather and originally the plan was to watch Netflix documentaries wrapped in a blanket all day but comfort food was calling my name. On top of that I’ve been promising a few people that this recipe would surface for months now. My lack of social networking prowess is slowly turning around, just bear with me. However, if you are lactose I sincerely apologize. This recipe would definitely cripple your insides which has sparked my interest in an alternative (stay tuned for that)

Mac & Cheese… who doesn’t love macaroni and cheese? I’d say its a comfort food in most households in the south, especially here in beautiful Georgia, typically served with fried chicken or meatloaf. Over the years everyone has been upgrading mac recipes for the fancier palate, or experienced food connoisseur which creates a challenge for the home cook or chef looking to do something at the classic price. I choose to use white cheeses and build my sauce from a roux to bring out all the flavors hidden in the cheese. Buying a mixed 4 cheese blend will save tons of money, although getting each one in a block and grating fresh gives it that little extra.

This recipe serves up to 8 people and calls for prep and very precise instructions but I promise you that within 30 minutes you’ll have demolished a bowl or two. Activate food coma!

Ingredients:

16 oz shredded 4 cheese Italian cheese

1 qt Half & Half Cream

2 cup of melted butter

1.5 cup all purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1.5 tbsp white pepper

1 tbsp powdered mustard

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tbsp garlic powder

(I also added 1.5 lbs of chicken that was “blackened” with Cajun seasoning.  Sear the chicken breasts whole with the seasoning generously rubbed, 2 minutes a side on medium high heat. Bake at 475 for 6 minutes. Chop the chicken into 1/2 inch pieces then add to macaroni. This step is not required for the mac and cheese. To get the same flavor without using meat add 2.5 tbsp of Cajun Seasoning to the sauce) 

Directions:

Begin by heating a large pot, big enough for all ingredients to be served in, on medium low heat. Add melted butter

Slowly incorporate the flour whisking the entire time. We are making a roux here and it is very important not to burn the sauce or add too much flour. You may not need all the flour if the sauce has thickened up to a runny paste.

Once mixed well add garlic powder and 1 cup of half & half.  Whisk well and continue to add the remaining dry ingredients

Add 1/3 of the cheese to the sauce and another cup of milk. You will repeat this step 2 more times, whisking the cheese into the sauce to retain a smooth consistency throughout.

After the final step cover the pot and reduce to low heat. If you chose to make the blackened chicken add it in as well as the Cajun seasoning and stir well. Cook for an  additional 3 to 5 minutes. Once done remove from heat and stir well.

This dish is served best topped with a sprinkle of bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese

 

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