Chipotle Chicken Mac & Cheese

Let me tell you a little story to further give evidence of my ineptitude in kitchen. Because unfortunately, my failures rank right up there with my successes. You don’t see them too much here, obviously. I know I probably wouldn’t be too trusting of recipes posted by someone who admits defeat as often in the kitchen as I do. (And thanks to those of you that do!!) But yet, I like to keep it real. For me, that just makes those winning dishes so much better!

I’m never afraid or hesitant to try new things in the kitchen. I’ll make entirely new recipes for company and cross my fingers that they’ll turn out the way I expect. I’ll take new ingredients and fashion them into a dish that I hope works just because I think it sounds good.

So, I had this little can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. This was one ingredient I’ve wanted to play around with for a long time. I thought it would be fun to spice up our usual mac & cheese with some chipotle and then toss in some chicken for a full meal. Sounds good, right?

Well the recipe you’ll find below was definitely good, although not very photogenic. But this recipe didn’t develop without a little pain – pain to all of our mouths, that is. You see, the first time I attempted this dish, I added the whole can to our mac & cheese. It made sense at the time. Unfortunately, the kids couldn’t eat it at all without following each bite with a swig of milk, and that was after I stirred in a huge dollop of sour cream in each of their helpings. Eric and I liked, with the sour cream addition, but it was borderline even for us.

So I tried again until I finally hit on the perfect combination of spice and flavor without the overwhelming burn-your-tongue-off bite.

Chipotle Chicken Mac & Cheese

  • 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 2 – 3 T. diced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1 lb. rotini, elbow mac or pasta of choice
  • 4 T. butter
  • 2 T. flour
  • 1 1/2 c. milk
  • 2 c. shredded colby-jack or cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 t. salt

1. Place chicken in a large skillet. In a small bowl, stir together diced tomatoes, water and chipotle peppers. Cover and cook over medium heat until chicken is fully cooked, about 35 minutes. (You could also let this simmer all day over low heat or in a crock pot.) Shred chicken. Remove chicken with a slotted spoon and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. In same pot, melt butter. Stir in flour and cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in milk and cook until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in cheese until melted. Add the chicken to the cheese then add the noodles. Stir to coat evenly.

6 thoughts on “Chipotle Chicken Mac & Cheese

  1. I made a pom-marinated chicken topped with crunchy strips of sweet potato a couple weeks ago that, although delicious, was not photogenic or appealing. Maybe I should post it afterall! This mac and cheese sounds great.

  2. I find that sometimes the less photogenic a food item is, the more tasty it is. I LOVE spicy food. I make a Buffalo Chicken mac and cheese that does not last very long. I am absolutely going to try this chipotle chicken soon. Yum!

    PS – You are braver than I. I am scared silly of failures in cooking with company. I only stick to what I know. Only my wife gets to be my guinea pig. Good for you! 🙂

  3. we love chipotle around here. A light touch is certainly key! I like to blenderize a can of chipotle with a small can of tomato sauce. Portion into ice cube trays, freeze, and store longterm in a zip top bag. The extra tomato sauce keeps me from adding too much at once!

    1. Great idea! After opening a can of chipotles, I freeze them in a plastic bag laid flat. Then I break up the frozen chipotles and use them individually as needed. Your method would definitely ensure more even portions–some chipotles are enormous and others are tiny–and the heat levels certainly vary, too, so the spice level would be uniform as well. Thanks for the tip!

  4. Yum! This sounds like a great recipe! I’ll definitely be trying it. My husband loves anything chipotle flavored!

    And I’ve had the same problem with using too much chipotle… several weeks back I attempted to make a chipotle cream pasta based on a dish I had had at a restaurant. Well. I *think* the flavors were pretty close to the restaurant dish, but I couldn’t really tell because it ended up being burn-your-face-off-hot! That’s never a good thing. I’m glad that you did the experimenting for me on this one 😉

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