Comfort food at its finest with this recipe for extra cheesy macaroni noodles tossed with seasoned and seared chicken breast, plenty of spices, and extra chili peppers for our own personal tastes. Serves a crowd! Great party and game day food.
Here we are, my friends, with another winter favorite. When the temperatures drop, we often turn to comfort food to help warm the bones a bit, and KEEP them warm with something that will REALLY STICK. You absolutely CANNOT go wrong with a big bowl of macaroni and cheese. NOPE! You simply cannot.
Of course we've cooked ours up a little differently than most, with a spicy twist because...um, we're Chili Pepper Madness and we like things just a WEE bit spicy. If you LOVE mac and cheese but want to dial down the spice/heat level - GASP - it's easy. Just swap out the serrano peppers for milder peppers to your preference. Jalapeno peppers are ALWAYS great, as is the mighty green bell pepper, which has ZERO heat but still a lot of great pepper flavor. Try poblano!
BIG shout out to Chile Pepper Magazine, as this recipe currently appears in their One-Pot issue. I wrote the feature article, "Chicken: One-Pot Champion", and you know, it truly is because chicken absorbs all those AWESOME flavors of the cheese and the spices and it really rounds out this dish.
We used cavatappi noodles for this recipe, because they are Patty's very FAVORITE pasta noodle, but feel free to use any that you'd like. I suggest something thicker, like elbow macaroni noodles or the like, something that will stand up to all that cheese and flavor, something to let the melty cheese stick to.
The cheeses are a combination of cream cheese and shredded gouda, though you could easily incorporate other melty cheeses, like Monterrey Jack, pepper jack, cheddar, or any blend of Mexican cheeses. Give it a go, my friends! Cheers to mac and cheese! Grab yourself a bowl! I hope you enjoy it.
If you're interested, Subscribe to Chile Pepper Magazine (affiliate link!). I've been a regular writer there for several issues now. Highly recommended! Great recipes!
Patty's Perspective: You can't go wrong with a spicy mac and cheese for game day, so consider this dish along with, or instead of, chili if you're hosting a superbowl or other game day party. You'll really impress your guests with this, and it has a nice kick to it, so it's perfect for your spicy food loving friends. I could eat this every week. It isn't overly rich like some that I've had. Definitely satisfying.
One-Pot Spicy Chicken Mac and Cheese - Recipe
- 16 ounces pasta – I used cavatappi noodles
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4-5 serranos, chopped
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1 pound chicken breast, chopped
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 6 tablespoons butter, divided
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1-1/2 cup milk
- 6 ounces cream cheese
- 10 ounces shredded Gouda cheese
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ¾ cup panko
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook noodles until al dente, according to the package instructions. Drain and set aside.
- Heat the same pot to medium heat and add olive oil. Add peppers and onions and cook about 5 minutes to soften.
- Season chicken with chili powder, salt and pepper. Add to pot and cook about 6-7 minutes to cook through.
- Add 3 tablespoons butter and allow to melt. Add flour and stir. Cook a couple minutes until the flour browns.
- Add milk and swirl to incorporate.
- Add cream cheese and Gouda. Stir until the cheeses melt through.
- Add pasta back to the pot and mix well. Remove from heat.
- Melt remaining butter in a small cup and add garlic powder and panko. Mix well, then top the mac n’ cheese.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees and bake 20 minutes or until golden and bubbly.
- Remove from heat and serve.