Tarragon Chicken Mac and Cheese. A delicious casserole twist on everyone’s favourite, mac and cheese! Substitute any favourite cheese or herb you like in this versatile recipe.
In need of some comfort food during some of the hustle and bustle of the season?
I sure was last night after a full day of tree trimming and Christmas preparations. Spouse and I threw together this great twist on everyone’s favourite, macaroni and cheese.
This time our mac and cheese twist was accomplished by incorporating some cooked chicken breasts. Some fresh tarragon that needed to be used up was the other ingredient inspiration
It was really delicious. Feel free to try your own cheese combinations for this one. I personally like it with more Swiss cheese!
Not a fan of tarragon? You can easily substitute oregano, basil or thyme. It might also be quite good with sage .
If using sage though, be careful. I use only about half the amount of chopped sage as I would for other fresh herbs.
I generally do this with sage in all recipes, if substituting for a herb. I find sage, like rosemary, to be a far stronger flavoured herb than the others.
Between switching up the herbs and cheeses, you can make many different possible versions of this delicious, versatile recipe.
NOTE: I like to debone my own chicken breasts so that I can roast the bones and skins for stock later. I freeze them until I have enough to cover a baking sheet then use the instructions in my post on making Chicken Stock here.
Looking for more chicken dinner ideas. Be sure to check out this collection of our Most Popular Chicken Recipes of the last decade.
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Tarragon Chicken Mac and Cheese. A delicious casserole twist on everyone's favourite, mac and cheese! Substitute any favourite cheese or herb you like in this versatile recipe.
- 2 1/2 cups macaroni (uncooked)
- 4 large boneless skinless chicken
- 6 ounces mozzarella
- 6 ounces Swiss cheese
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
For the Mac 'n Cheese sauce
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 4 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp flour
- 1 tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 4 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
- For the crumb topping
- 1 cup cracker or bread crumbs (I use Ritz cracker crumbs)
- 2 tbsp melted butter
- Pinch of cracked black pepper
- Start by cooking the macaroni to al dente in salted water.
- Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and then grill or pan fry in olive oil
- Cook the chicken completely and set aside to rest for a few minutes before cutting the breasts into quarter inch slices. You can dice it if you prefer.
To prepare the sauce for the mac'n cheese
- In the microwave, scald the milk and chicken stock, to almost boiling.
- In a large saucepan cook together the butter, flour, pepper, salt and garlic over medium heat.
- Cook together for 1 to 2 minutes until the mixture is slightly foamy.
- Whisking constantly, slowly pour in scalded milk and stock in about 3 equal portions.
- Continue to cook for 2 more minutes stirring constantly between the stock/milk mixture.
- Continue to cook and stir if necessary, until the sauce thickens.
To construct the dish
- Stir in the dijon mustard and tarragon. Grate the cheeses and blend them all together.
- Butter an 8-10 cup casserole dish.
- Place 1/3 of the pasta in the bottom of the dish and cover with half the chicken slices.
- Pour on 1/3 the sauce. Repeat the layers ending with cheese on the top.
To prepare the topping
- Simply mix together the cracker crumbs, melted butter and pepper.
- Cover casserole dish and bake at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes.
- Uncover and cook for 15 minutes longer.
- If you double this recipe, add additional baking time for larger casserole dish.
Serving Size1 serving
Amount Per Serving Calories 742Total Fat 39gSaturated Fat 21gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 14gCholesterol 191mgSodium 918mgCarbohydrates 36gFiber 2gSugar 6gProtein 60g