Creamy havarti cheese is the shining ingredient in this mac and cheese! Tender chicken and roasted red peppers are added to make the dish a complete simple supper!
If I had to choose one recipe for macaroni and cheese that I would turn to if I wanted to REALLY impress someone, I’d likely choose this Four Cheese Macaroni and Cheese. It’s a splurge on time, calories, AND ingredients (about $50 to make), and it’s beyond delicious, but I wanted an every day type recipe for mac and cheese that would still impress.
This creamy havarti macaroni and cheese is my new go-to recipe for mac n’ cheese because it’s simple to make, it doesn’t cost nearly as much as the aforementioned four-cheese version, and with the addition of chicken and roasted red peppers, it’s a complete simple supper!
After a recent trip to Costco, I ended up with a mega package of havarti deli sliced cheese in my fridge. I don’t know what I was thinking when I thought that two people would go through enough havarti cheese to feed a small army! Don’t get me wrong, I love the stuff! Havarti cheese is creamy, mild, and just lovely, but really, it was a huge package for two people. In an effort to use it all up before it went bad, I decided I’d come up with an additional way to use it, aside from our daily sandwiches for lunch. It turns out that havarti cheese and elbow macaroni are a match made in heaven, because this recipe is deeeelish!
Notes: If you choose to use sliced havarti like I did (you can also buy it in chunks), just stack several slices together and shred it with a box grater.
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch chunks
- 1/4 cup flour
- Salt, pepper, garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 roasted red pepper, chopped (roast your own, instructions here, or buy the jarred version found in the same aisle as the pickles)
- 1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked according to package directions
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 3 cups milk
- 3 cups havarti cheese, shredded
- 1 tablespoon grated onion
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper
- Place 1/4 cup flour in a shallow dish, like a cake pan.
- Lightly season chicken chunks with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
- Dredge the chicken chunks in flour so that they are lightly coated.
- Heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, sauté the chicken until they are nicely browned, and cooked through. Juices should run clear. Remove the chicken from the pan.
- Add the roasted red pepper chunks to the pan and sauté for a few minutes, just to heat through, then remove from the pan. Cover the chicken and roasted red peppers with foil and set aside.
MACARONI AND CHEESE DIRECTIONS
- In a large skillet, melt three tablespoons butter. When the butter has melted and turns foamy, whisk in 3 tablespoons flour and grated onion. Cook for a few minutes, continuing to stir. This is called a roux.
- Begin to SLOWLY stir in the milk. Whisk vigorously to eliminate any clumps of roux. When the mixture is smooth and bubbly, remove from heat.
- Off-heat, slowly stir in havarti cheese, salt, and pepper. If you add the cheese too quickly, you may end up with a gritty consistency. When all of the cheese has been added, stir in fresh basil, parsley, and dried dill.
- Stir in chicken and roasted red peppers and serve immediately. Enjoy!