I’ve had some requests to share more of our dinners and meal ideas with you, so without further ado – here is a recent dinner Mr. How Sweet hogged we shared.
See that cheesiness up there? You can’t go wrong with BBQ and chicken and cheese and pasta and caramelized onions and… well, it just doesn’t get any better. Oh wait, yes it does. Add some panko for crunch.
And of course I used smoked cheese. I have a mild obsession with smoked cheese. I just can’t get enough of it. Especially when it comes to BBQ dishes – it adds even more of the smokey flavor and compliments the BBQ sauce perfectly.
We had a little smorgasbord of pastas going on in this casserole. I wanted to use up the remainders of a few boxes, so into the pot went elbow macaroni, penne and rotini. Ideally, I think penne would work best here. Perhaps this would also be tasty made into cupcakes?
Mr. How Sweet and I both agreed that this could not be classified as mac and cheese. When I think of mac and cheese, I think of a delicious pool of artery-clogging cheese and heavy cream sauce. The cheese sauce I made was very light (I used skim milk, a little butter + flour) and I only added about 1/4 of a cup to the entire dish to simply act as a “glue.” You can skip it entirely, but I think it helps hold the whole thing together.
Not that I really needed to worry about holding it together, considering Mr. How Sweet ate this entire dish in one sitting. And when I say “one sitting,” I really mean about 10 minutes. He is a walking garbage disposal. Sometimes he even sounds like one too.
4-5 ounces boneless chicken breast, shredded
3 cups cooked whole wheat pasta
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons BBQ sauce
1 small onion, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon butter
1/2 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup skim milk
2 ounces shredded smoked cheese (I used cheddar, gouda and gruyere blend)
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 350.
Prepare pasta and shredded chicken and set aside. In a small sauce pan, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and sliced onions with a sprinkle of sea salt and let caramelized – about 10 minutes. During this time, combine shredded chicken with 2 tablespoons bbq sauce. Once onions are caramelized, set aside.
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and whisk in flour to create a roux. Immediately add skim milk and turn down to low heat. Add 1 ounce cheese and stir until cheese is melted and mixture thickens – about 2-3 minutes.
In the casserole dish, alternate layering pasta, bbq chicken, and onions. Add cheese mixture about 1-2 tablespoons at a time, throughly mixing to act like glue and hold the pasta together. Top with additional cheese sauce, remaining shredded cheese, BBQ sauce drizzles and panko bread crumbs.
Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.
Yes, Mr. How Sweet finished this whole dish. No, I didn’t even get one bite. But I was way ahead of him and made a second small casserole dish that he didn’t even know about. So I got my share.
But when I say that it serves 2-3? Just make sure we aren’t coming for dinner that night. Because in that case, it serves 1.