Healthy Eats

Secret Ingredient Healthy Macaroni and Cheese & BBQ Chicken

At my brother’s wedding in Alabama several weeks ago, we were served the best southern BBQ chicken and Macaroni & Cheese for dinner. And ever since that delicious dinner, I haven’t been able to get BBQ chicken and Macaroni and Cheese off my mind. So I decided I was going to make BBQ chicken and Macaroni and Cheese for dinner for my husband and I. Buttt there was one little catch; I wanted to make a healthy version. And that’s where this secret ingredient Healthy Macaroni and Cheese comes into play.

This Macaroni and cheese is thick, creamy, loaded with flavor, and you’ll never guess what the hidden secret ingredient is… BUTTERNUT SQUASH! It saves you from having to use butter and heavy cream because when the squash is blended with greek yogurt, chicken broth, and cheese, it makes a delicious, creamy thick sauce. . It’s a miracle! Healthy Macaroni and Cheese WITH veggies hidden in the mix, who knew Mac n Cheese could be so nutritious?! I found the recipe from Kelly’s blog Eat Yourself Skinny. Thank you Kelly; you and your Mac n Cheese are amazing. I am forever thankful.

 

The recipe is super easy to make and will leave delicious leftovers for lunch or dinner. I love meals like this one that I can cook in a big casserole dish and save for several meals. It freezes great as well, so if you don’t have room in the fridge, no problem! Now, for the healthier version of the BBQ chicken, I threw a few chicken breasts into my crockpot, poured in low sodium chicken broth, let them cook on low for 7 hours, shredded them with a fork, and added some of my favorite Stubbs BBQ sauce on top. Easy peasy lemon squeazy! I especially love Stubbs BBQ sauce because it doesn’t have a ton of fake ingredients in it, it’s low in sugar, and it tastes delicious. So now that your mouth is watering for this delicious healthy Macaroni and Cheese & BBQ chicken, let’s get cookin’!

The Recipe:


Secret Ingredient Healthy Macaroni and Cheese & BBQ Chicken

Mac and Cheese: 4-6 servings BBQ chicken: 2-3 servings

Secret Ingredient Healthy Macaroni and Cheese & BBQ Chicken

Ingredients

  • For the Macaroni and Cheese:
  • 3 cups cubed peeled butternut squash
  • 1¼ cups fat-free, lower sodium chicken broth
  • 1½ cups Almond Milk
  • 2 Tbsp plain fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 2 Cups Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 box (1 lb) uncooked Shell or Rotini Noodles
  • ½ cup whole wheat panko breadcrumbs
  • For the BBQ Chicken:
  • 2-3 chicken breasts, frozen or thawed
  • 3/4 container low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup Stubbs BBQ sauce

Instructions

  1. Place chicken breasts in crockpot, pour in 1/2-3/4 container low sodium chicken broth until the meat is covered, and place the lid of the slow cooker on top. Set to low for 7-8 hours or medium for 4-6 hours.
  2. For the Mac:
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  4. In a medium saucepan, combined cubed butternut squash, chicken broth, and almond milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes, until squash is tender.
  5. While the squash is simmering, boil a pot of water and cook your noodles per instructions on the box
  6. Pour hot squash mixture into a blender (I used our nutribullet and it worked like a charm) and add Greek yogurt, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth and pour mixture into a large bowl.
  7. Stir in cheese until melted, then fold in your pasta.
  8. Pour everything into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray and spread evenly.
  9. Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top and place in oven for about 30 minutes, depending on your oven.
  10. Turn to broil for the last 3-5 minutes, until breadcumbs are browned.
  11. For the BBQ chicken:
  12. While the Mac is cooling, take tender cooked chicken breasts out of the slow cooker and place them into a bowl
  13. Take a fork and shred the chicken thoroughly
  14. Pour 1 cup (more or less depending on preference) Stubb's BBQ sauce into the bowl and stir well
  15. Serve BBQ chicken with a side of healthy Macaroni and Cheese and ENJOY! 🙂

I give this recipe a 10/10 and I hope you and your family feel the same way. Let me know how the meal turned out for you in the comments below, and don’t forget to subscribe so you won’t miss another healthy recipe again!



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4 thoughts on “Secret Ingredient Healthy Macaroni and Cheese & BBQ Chicken

    1. Thanks! I hope she does and I hope you both like it! 🙂 Just make sure she takes a few dairy pills haha even though it doesn’t have butter or cream it still has cheese.

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