Creamy Mac and Cheese with Broccoli is a comforting and delicious twist on the classic macaroni and cheese dish. This recipe combines the creamy, cheesy goodness oftraditional mac and cheese with the added nutritional benefit and flavor of fresh broccoli. It’s a perfect dish for those seeking a comforting meal that also incorporates a serving of vegetables. Ideal for family dinners, potlucks, or as a satisfying meal on its own, this dish is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
- 4 cups elbow macaroni (approximately 8 ounces)
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder (or 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups broccoli florets (no stems), chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 3 ½ cups cheddar cheese, grated
Step 1: Cook the Macaroni
In a large pot, bring the 4 cups of chicken broth to a boil. Add the elbow macaroni to the boiling broth. Cook the macaroni according to the package instructions until it is al dente. The chicken broth will infuse the macaroni with additional flavor as it cooks.
Step 2: Season the Macaroni
Once the macaroni is cooked, do not drain the broth. To the pot, add 3/4 teaspoon of garlic powder (or minced garlic), 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Stir the seasonings into the macaroni and broth mixture.
Step 3: Add Broccoli
Add the 2 cups of chopped broccoli florets to the pot. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until the broccoli is tender but still vibrant green. The broccoli should be cooked through but not overdone to maintain its texture and nutrients.
Step 4: Create the Creamy Cheese Sauce
Reduce the heat to low. Stir in 1 cup of heavy cream, 1 cup of milk, and 1/4 cup of melted butter into the pot with the macaroni and broccoli. Gradually add the 3 ½ cups of grated cheddar cheese to the pot, stirring constantly until the cheese is completely melted and the sauce is creamy.
Step 5: Combine and Serve
Continue to stir the macaroni, ensuring that the creamy cheese sauce coats each piece. Once everything is thoroughly combined and the macaroni is coated with a rich, creamy sauce, remove the pot from the heat.
- It’s important to stir the mac and cheese regularly while adding the cheese to prevent any sticking to the bottom of the pot and to ensure an evenly creamy texture.
Serve the Creamy Mac and Cheese with Broccoli hot as a main dish or a side. It pairs well with a variety of proteins like grilled chicken, meatloaf, or a simple green salad for a lighter meal.
- Cheese Varieties: Experiment with different types of cheese such as Gouda, Monterey Jack, or a blend of cheeses for a different flavor profile.
- Broccoli Prep: Ensure the broccoli is cut into uniform, bite-sized pieces for even cooking.
- Leftovers: If you have leftovers, reheat them with a splash of milk to maintain the creaminess.
- Preparation Time: 15 minutes
- Cooking Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Calories: Approximately 400-450 per serving (varies based on serving size and specific ingredients used)
- Protein: 15-20g per serving
- Sodium: Varies based on the chicken broth and added salt
Creamy Mac and Cheese with Broccoli is a delightful and comforting dish that offers the perfect balance of cheesy indulgence and wholesome nutrition. This recipe is not only easy to make but also versatile, allowing for various adaptations to suit different tastes and dietary preferences. Whether you’re serving it to kids or adults, this dish is a surefire way to bring smiles and satisfaction to your dining table.