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Mac And Cheese Makeover

What’s in a name?

Macaroni and cheese seems entirely self-evident. There’s macaroni. And there’s cheese. Yes, there are more than 600 kinds of pasta, so there are plenty of options on that side of the equation. And of course, there’s always another kind of cheese to try. But what if you truly wanted to transform this comfort food classic, not only boosting the flavor but also adding lean protein? The result would be Smoky Chicken Mac ‘N Cheese.

Smoky yet sublime.

First things first, Smoky Chicken Mac ‘N Cheese is not a five-alarm fire. Instead, the smoky flavor comes from a sublime blend of smoked cheese, smoked paprika and bacon. Onion, garlic, oregano and tomato paste also contribute to the depth of flavor. And chicken? Fourteen ounces of chicken breast pack more than 110 grams of protein, so this is a dish sure to satisfy family and friends for dinner and one that reheats well the next day for a workday lunch.

The stuff of legends.

Any food that’s been around as long as pasta has accumulated a wealth of stories and legends. Did Marco Polo really bring pasta to Italy from China in the 13th century? Actually, pasta was in Europe long before that. Ancient Greeks and Romans made pasta with barley flour, and in Asia wheat noodles go back at least 4,000 years. In America, Thomas Jefferson was an early enthusiast for pasta and helped popularize mac ‘n cheese. He was introduced to pasta when he lived in Paris in the 1780s and later imported a pasta making machine to the United States. As president, he even served mac ‘n cheese at White House dinners

Flavor by the forkful.

Smoky Chicken Mac ‘N Cheese is delicious with a wide range of noodle types. Fusilli, penne or macaroni are all good choices. The short lengths and textured surfaces help the cheese adhere. For a gluten-free option, consider a brown rice pasta. And cheese? Try smoked cheddar, gouda or provolone. This recipe is all about comfort and creativity.