It is cold in Boston. And there is still SO. MUCH. SNOW.
When it’s cold we tend to reach for the comfort foods so I wanted to find a healthy alternative to my ultimate comfort food – Mac and Cheese!
You might remember my original 21 Day Fix: Chicken Mac and Cheese recipe that I posted in back in October. Well since then I have come up with countless varieties and switching it up with whatever I have in house – mushrooms, parmesan cheese, sauteed squash and zucchini – you name it I have done it! What is so great about this recipe is that you can tweak it to your taste preferences.
By using reserved pasta cooking water you can melt your cheese of choice to get that great mac and cheese gooey-ness without having to load the dish up with milk or heavy cream. Even after eating a big bowl of this I don’t feel bloated and sluggish. Gotta love the 21 Day Fix nutrition plan for that!
If you are doing the 21 Day Fix Extreme or just want to have a day here and there where you carb-deplete just cut the portion of pasta in half! You can load it up with extra veggies or protein to help fill you up if you are extra hungry, especially if you cut out half of the carbs.
When I made this batch I used all of my carb containers I get for the day (2 yellow) but I do try to cut my carbs in half or to none at all at 3 times a week. Other times I try to split my carbs out throughout the day and have half during lunch and half during dinner to help balance out hunger.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
- 1 small chicken breast, shredded (will portion out to 1 red)
- 1 broccoli crown, steamed (will portion out to 1 green)
- 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil 0.5 spoon
- 1 tablespoon of shallots, diced
- 5 asparagus stalks, chopped 0.5 green
- Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 cup whole grain pasta 2 yellow
- 1 large clove of garlic, minced
- Squirt of lemon juice
- 1/4 cup of cheddar cheese, shredded 1 blue
Place the chicken breast in a sauce pot and cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Boil the chicken for 15-20 minutes until cooked through and no longer pink in the middle. Transfer to a cutting board or plate. Once cool shred using 2 forks or by hand. Portion out 3/4 cup (1 red) and set aside.
While the chicken is cooking cut the florets off of a broccoli crown. Add an inch of water to a large stock pot and insert a steamer basket. Place the broccoli florets on top. Cover an steam until the broccoli is bright green and cooked through (approx. 5-7 minutes). Portion out 1 cup of broccoli (1 green) and set aside. **Test a piece to make sure it still has a little bite to it and is not mushy. If it is mushy it will fall apart in your dish.
Once the chicken and broccoli are finished (or if you made them ahead of time) bring a pot of water to a boil. Add 1 cup of whole grain pasta (2 yellow) and cook according to the package directions until al dente, approx. 7 minutes.
While the pasta is cooking heat a 1/2 of teaspoon (0.5 spoon) of coconut oil in a non-stick skillet over a medium-low heat. Add 1 tablespoon of diced shallots, 5 stalks of asparagus (chopped), and a pinch of red pepper flakes (optional) and saute for 3 minutes. Add 1 clove of minced garlic and saute for 1 minute. Squirt lemon juice in the pan and add 1 cup of cooked shredded chicken (1 red) and 1 cup of steamed broccoli (1 green) to the pan. Keep over a low heat.
Reserve a 1/2 cup of the pasta water and then drain. Add the pasta to the veggie and chicken saute. Add 3/4 cup (1 blue) of shredded cheddar cheese and stir to combine. Add the reserved pasta water as needed to help melt the cheese until it creates a sauce consistency you like.
Who said you can’t eat Mac and Cheese on the 21 Day Fix!?