Well, this certainly was an unexpected treat! I knew it was going to be delicious, because, I mean, how can you go wrong with chicken and creamy, cheesy noodles, right? But I sure wasn’t expecting how truly wonderful this simple, comfy dinner of Mac ‘n Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts would really be!
And it’s so silly-easy it’s crazy!
Perfect for busy weeknights, or something fun for the kiddos on a Saturday night! (And us big kids have just as much fun devouring this, too!)
So let’s just get right to it!
Since this is going to be baked, I wanted a macaroni and cheese recipe that would chill firmly, so that during baking, it wouldn’t melt out all over the place before the chicken had time to get done.
So I went with an easy-peasy, back-of-the-box recipe using good old-fashioned, reliable Velveeta! And it worked perfectly for this!
I cooked it on the stovetop, then poured it into an 11 x 7 dish, (sprayed), and leveled it with an offset knife. I then pressed plastic wrap to the top of the mac ‘n cheese, let it cool a little, then popped it into the fridge to chill completely.
*I used rotini noodles for this, but you can certainly use a more traditional pasta such as macaroni.
While you’ve got part one chilling, rinse your chicken breasts in cold water, and trim off any unwanted fat, gristle, and any rib cartilage that the butcher missed. *And always check for bones! Especially if serving to small children!
Then slice into the thicker long side to within a half of an inch of the three sides making a nice pocket.
These two breasts that I used were GINORMOUS. The package said that they were GMO-free and NO hormones added, but they must’ve done something to them to make them this big. I shudder to think what. The smallest one was 1 1/4 pounds! (The largest almost a full 2 pounds…for one breast!) The package only had three of them in there, and we thought that there were four.
Needless to say, we won’t be buying these again. Since it was just the two of us, I only ended up making two of the three in the package, and that ended up making 4 meals total for us. Two meals apiece. (*What I made with the third one coming soon!)
So, you will surely get 4 – 6 out of this recipe depending on the size of yours.
Anyways, back to what we were doing. Once you have made pockets in the chicken meat, over-stuff them with sliced squares or rectangles of the completely chilled and firm mac ‘n cheese. Press it in there so that there’s plenty in each. (You may have some leftover to reheat later for lunch!)
As you can see, I really packed it in there!
Once that’s done, you’ll lightly coat them in seasoned flour, then dip into an egg wash, then press on the seasoned cracker crumbs.
I highly recommend placing them onto parchment paper or sprayed foil on a baking sheet, as they might leak a little bit. This will make the cleanup a breeze.
Lastly, I sprinkled them with a little paprika, then lightly sprayed the tops with butter-flavored no-stick spray, and popped them into the oven!
Mine, due to their enormous size, of course took longer in the oven than yours will, so mine leaked a tiny bit.
But I was actually surprised and relieved at how little they actually did leak! Not too bad at all!
So, since yours should be done in about 30 – 35 minutes, (unlike mine that took a whole 50 minutes!), yours probably won’t leak at all!
But no matter, even if it does, just scoop it right up with your spatula when plating! That’s what I did!
And I actually featured the one in the back for the final photos that didn’t look as pretty, but I liked how it opened a little, so you can see the inside, and the ugly duckling turned out to be the prettiest!
So you don’t have to fret if they do.
But I would still line my baking sheet just in case.
Unless scrubbing melted cheese off your pan is something you enjoy doing…..then I can’t help you with that.
And, seriously, just look how pretty they are!!
The chicken was tender and juicy….
…the crumb breading was crispy with wonderful flavor, and the mac ‘n cheese was fully heated, and creamy-melty-cheesy!
We ended up splitting one and that was plenty for us with a very light salad on the side!
But you could also serve this with buttered broccoli, green beans, or peas. Or go a totally different route, and make some barbecued baked beans or cole slaw!
Toasted garlic bread, or even just bread ‘n butter, would also be a nice addition!
If it were summer, I’d just probably go with a sliced, fresh tomato from the garden, myself. But we have a long wait for that!
So, if you’re in need of a super fun, super quick and easy, delicious meal that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to make, be sure to give this a try!
It even stretches out the mac ‘n cheese without anyone even noticing, so it isn’t quite as bad for you. And being inside of the chicken breast, it stays hot and creamy! And the presentation just couldn’t be prettier!
Eyes will and faces will light up all around the table when you serve this Mac ‘n Cheese Stuffed Chicken, and it will fast become one of your new additions to your monthly rotation! Hope you all enjoy!
*Stick around! I’ll not only show you a fun way to use any leftover mac ‘n cheese, but wait until you see what I did with the last chicken breast!!
- For Easy Mac 'n Cheese:
- 2 cups uncooked rotini or macaroni noodles
- 1 Tbl. real butter such as Minerva Dairy Amish Butter
- 12 oz. Velveeta® cheese, cut into small cubes
- ⅓ cup whole milk
- ⅛ tsp. coarse ground black pepper
- For Chicken:
- 2 extra-large boneless skinless chicken breasts (1 - 1¼ lbs. each), trimmed of fat (or 4 - 6 regular-sized or small ones)
- 1 extra-large egg, beaten
- 1 Tb. milk
- For Seasoned Flour:
- ¼ cup flour
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ⅛ tsp. coarse ground black pepper
- For Crumb Breading:
- 20 round buttery crackers (*such as Ritz®)
- ¼ tsp. garlic powder
- ⅛ tsp. onion powder
- ⅛ tsp. coarse ground black pepper
- paprika for garnish
- (butter-flavored no-stick spray, and parchment paper or foil)
- Make Mac 'n Cheese First: Add noodles to boiling, salted water, and cook according to box directions. Drain. Add butter to hot pan, add half of cubed cheese, pour drained noodles, rest of cheese, milk and pepper over the top, and stir over low heat until cheese has fully melted. Pour into sprayed 11 x 7 dish. Cover with plastic wrap pressing plastic wrap onto surface of mac 'n cheese. Press lightly to level. Let cool a little, then place into fridge until firm and chilled.
- To Prepare Chicken: Preheat oven to 350º.
- Make pockets from thick side slicing to within a ½ an inch all around the three sides, stuff with pre-made and chilled squares of mac 'n cheese. Stuff inside packing well. (*If just making two large ones, you'll only use about half of the mac 'n cheese.) *Ways to use the other half coming soon, but can be warmed and served alongside another dish.
- In one pie plate add seasoned flour ingredients and stir to mix well. In second pie plate, beat egg, beat in milk. In mini food processor, and crumb breading ingredients, and process until fin crumbs. Place into third pie plate. Dredge each side of stuffed chicken into flour, then egg wash, the pack on crumb breading. Place onto parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with rest. Sprinkle tops lightly with paprika, and lightly spray tops with butter-flavored no-stick spray.
- Pop into oven and bake for 50 minutes. (*Smaller - regular sized - breasts may be done as soon as 30 -35 minutes. Baking times depend on size of chicken breasts.)