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Mac and cheese chicken skillet

Jennifer is a stay-at-home mom with a passion for writing, vintage clothes, old movies and cooking, especially dinners and desserts. Jennifer loves writing so much that whenever she has a spare moment, she spends it writing fiction or ad...

Make mac & cheese Italian

Instead of serving the same old boxed macaroni and cheese, why not turn it into something new and interesting by adding some chicken and tomatoes?

Sometimes it's just easier to take a box of mac and cheese off the shelf instead of trying to come up with some new and interesting dinner the family will enjoy. Don't beat yourself up about it -- we all do it, even me. Believe me, there are times when the last thing I want to do is stand over a stove for an hour or so and make something that I know I'll love but the rest of my family may not. These are the times I grab the pre-boxed items. But instead of simply following the directions, I'll use the box as my base. That's right, I use the box of mac and cheese but then add in a protein, a vegetable or both. That way the kids are getting something I know they like, but I'm adding a little something extra to make it more filling or even better, healthier.

Taste of Home does this quite often and I love them for it. They've given me wonderful ways to spice up rice pilaf, tater tots and now mac and cheese. So the next time you're not in the mood to make a complicated meal, go ahead and grab that box off the shelf. You can whip up something unexpected that the family won't be able to get enough of.

Mac and cheese chicken skillet

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 (7 ounce) package macaroni and cheese dinner mix
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup chopped zucchini
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 (14 ounce) can Italian stewed tomatoes

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet, cook the chicken in the olive oil over medium-high heat until no longer pink, about five minutes.
  2. Set aside the cheese packet from the mac and cheese. Stir in the pasta, stock, zucchini, onion and oregano. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 7-8 minutes or until pasta is tender, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes and the contents from the cheese packet. Cook and stir for 3-4 minutes or until heated through. Serve immediately.

>>More Tonight's Dinner Recipes

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Creamy macaroni and cheese soufflé

Gluten-free macaroni and cheese

Macaroni and cheese loaf

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