Quick and Easy Weeknight Dinner – Grown Up Mac and Cheese

Grown Up Mac and Cheese!
Grown Up Mac and Cheese!

My wife and I don’t have children, but, like many people, we are busy during the week. Usually we cook delicious and healthy dinners together, but some nights you need something that can be put together in less than half an hour with ingredients you (should) have on hand. This is one of those recipes and what happens when my wife says, “Honey I want mac and cheese for dinner. Have fun and be creative!”

This grown up mac and cheese has everything that you’re looking for in the childhood favorite, but will satisfy you even on those nights when you could eat your weight in burgers (not very healthy, but I’ve seen people try). The best part is that it starts out with your traditional box of mac and cheese that you buy in the grocery store. I know, I’m usually all about making everything from scratch, but ona weeknight it helps to cut corners a little. The bacon, chicken, and broccoli make this recipe satisfying and delicious. Give it a try, but keep in mind that this recipe is meant to feed two adults with generous portions. For more, just double the amounts.

Grown Up Mac and Cheese


  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast (split into two halfs and cut into bite-size pieces)
  • 2 strips of bacon (any kind you like)
  • 1 box of macaroni and cheese (any kind you like, but I like Annie’s or Trader Joe’s brands)
  • 2 cups of frozen broccoli
  • 1-2 tsp. mustard powder
  • 1-2 tsp. paparika
  • 2 tsp. parsley (chopped fine)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Place a large pot of water on the stove and turn on the heat to bring it to a boil.
  • Toss the chicken with half of the mustard powder, paparika, salt and pepper. Set the chicken aside.
  • Crisp the bacon in a pan and remove when browned and crispy. Place the bacon on a paper towel to remove some of the fat.
  • Cook the chicken in the remaining bacon fat in the pan. Cook the chicken thoroughly and, when finished, place on the same paper towel as the bacon.
  • Once the water is boiling, add salt and toss in the broccoli to cook (3-5 minutes, depending on desired texture). When it’s finished, remove the bacon from water and place on a cutting board to chop into bite-size pieces.
  • Place the macaroni in the same water that you cooked the broccoli in, cook according to package instructions, and add the cheese or other elements when the macaroni is finished.
  • To the finished macaroni and cheese, add the broccoli, chicken, and crumbed bacon. Once the mixture has been combined, add the remaining mustard powder and paparika, as well as the parsley. Place into a bowl and enjoy!

It’s easy to have a delicious and nutritious meal, even on weeknights.



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