Like any self-respecting foodie, I often have the Food Network on TV in the background of our household. At the gym, I also like to have the Food Network on while I’m doing cardio. My only complaint is that there are waaaaay too many cooking competition shows, and not enough true cooking instruction shows. I can’t stand shows like Chopped or Cupcake Wars because I feel like there is limited learning opportunities in those shows. I love the true cooking instructional shows like Giada At Home or Pioneer Woman.
This broccoli mac & cheese recipe is adapted from the Pioneer Woman recipe. And in true Pioneer Woman fashion, it is a simple, guilt-inducing, satisfying, comforting meal. I mean, it has three cheeses in it, one of which is Velveeta! I never thought in this lifetime I would purchase Velveeta!
I’ve adapted it somewhat – I didn’t have celery, so I omitted that. I added garlic into my recipe for some more kick. I also changed some of the quantities of cheese – the recipe called for a cup of cubed Velveeta, but I just used half the block so that the other half can be saved and used when I make this recipe again next week. I know it sounds contradictory considering this recipe contains processed Velveeta, but remember to buy real cheddar and Parmesan and grate it yourself! Canned, pre-grated cheeses won’t melt as nicely in this recipe. Tip: buy your cheeses from right from the deli aisle – the stuff that you find in the dairy aisles by the yogourts and sour creams are all processed and contain fillers. I made sure to buy a block of cheddar and a block of Parmesan right from the deli aisle, grated them myself, and they melted beautifully in this recipe.
The original Pioneer Woman recipe can be found here: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ree-drummond/broccoli-cheese-mac-n-cheese-3703650
My adaptation is below. I served mine with some baked chicken breasts and lots of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce. Enjoy this comforting dish and try not to feel too guilty about it!
Broccoli Mac & CheesePrint Recipe
- 4 tbsp salted butter
- 1 box of macaroni (I used a 375 g box of Catelli macaroni)
- 2 small heads of broccoli, broken into very small florets
- 1/2 onion, finely diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1/4 cup half and half cream
- 2 cups grated sharp Cheddar
- 1/2 block of Velveeta cheese, broken into small pieces
- 1 cup grated Parmesan
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and a grease a baking dish (I just used a bit of olive oil in my 9x13 ceramic backing dish).
Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the macaroni according to the package instructions. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and broccoli, stirring often for about 5-6 minutes. The vegetables should be soft enough that you can use your wooden spoon to break the broccoli pieces.
Sprinkle on the flour and the mustard powder and coat the vegetables.
Pour in the milk, chicken broth and half and half, stirring often, as it warms up. Do not let it boil.
Add the cheddar, Velveeta and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan and stir until they have all melted into the sauce.
Add the macaroni and stir. It should be beginning to thicken up now.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Pour into the prepared baking dish.
Combine the breadcrumbs and the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmesan in a small bowl and sprinkle over the top of the dish.
Bake in the oven for 25 minutes.