I love mac and cheese as much as the next person, but now that I’m (kind of) an adult it’s getting a little embarrassing to down boxes and boxes of it. Here’s an upgraded version of all of our favorite childhood meal with queso fresco, chicken, 3 types of chili peppers and elbow pasta. It’s just fancy enough to make you look like an adult — you can bring it to your adult potlucks to share with all you friends — but tastes familiar to that good ole mac and cheese. Plus, it has veggies and protein. Healthier, fancier mac? Yes, please.

3 Chili Chicken Mac

  • Prep Time:5 minutes
  • Cook Time:40 minutes
  • Total Time:45 minutes
  • Servings:4
  • Advanced Course

    Ingredients

  • 1/2 box Barilla elbows
  • 1 poblano pepper, charred and peeled
  • 1 serrano pepper, charred and peeled
  • 1 dried guajillo pepper
  • 1/2 jar roasted garlic tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup shredded rotisserie chicken meat
  • 3 oz queso fresco cheese, crumbled
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • Pumpkin seeds
Photo by Phoebe Melnick
Photo by Phoebe Melnick

Step 1

Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add 1/2 of a box of Barilla elbows and cook for 7 minutes. Strain.

Gif by Phoebe Melnick
Gif by Phoebe Melnick

Step 2

Press the poblano pepper on the hot surface of the skillet until skin is blistered. Rotate on all sides until the outside looks slightly charred, about 15 minutes. Peel off the charred layer using a paper towel. Cut the top off and clean the seeds. Cut into strips.

Gif by Phoebe Melnick
Gif by Phoebe Melnick

Step 3

Press the serrano pepper on the hot surface of the skillet until skin is blistered. Rotate on all sides until the outside looks slightly charred, about 15 minutes. Peel off the charred layer using a paper towel. Cut the top off.

Gif by Phoebe Melnick
Gif by Phoebe Melnick

Step 4

Combine charred and peeled serrano pepper with the dried guajillo pepper, roasted garlic tomato sauce and a splash of water in a blender. Blend until smooth.

Gif by Phoebe Melnick
Gif by Phoebe Melnick

Step 5

Pour the serrano tomato sauce into a sauce pan on medium. Add in shredded chicken and poblano strips. Add in Barilla elbows. Warm through.

Gif by Phoebe Melnick
Gif by Phoebe Melnick

Step 6

Top pasta with pumpkin seeds, queso fresco and cilantro.

Gif by Phoebe Melnick
Gif by Phoebe Melnick