Smoky chicken & jalapeño macaroni cheese

A delicious twist on traditional mac’n’cheese, a perfect quick dinner for any night of the week using melty Primula for an easy cheese sauce

smoky chicken and jalapeno macaroni cheese Slimming World

Every year in the run-up to Christmas I promise myself that I won’t let it become stressful, that I’ll pace things out so that I can enjoy it, and not leave anything to the last-minute. I’ve failed this year yet again- Christmas is looming closer and I’ve barely done any Christmas shopping, I haven’t thought about what food I need for the day (apart from having ordered the turkey), the last few days of my girls being at school are a flurry of Nativity, Christmas get-togethers, and trying to get on top of work enough to be able to relax over the holidays!

 

Cooking healthy daily meals can be one of the first things to go out of the window when things are so hectic, and so rather than let that happen, I tend to stick to quick favourites to stay on top of it all! Batch cooking and simple recipes keep things in control, and many of my favourite meals are actually quick and easy to make.

 

One of the best things about winter is eating lovely, comforting winter-warmers, and I have teamed up with Primula to create a recipe that is not only the ultimate in satisfying comfort food, but that is also quick to make, uses very few ingredients, and is still healthy but completely delicious!

 

Primula is a fantastic ingredient to have in the fridge- it doesn’t go out of date quickly, and it can be a staple in so many different meals! Don’t have time to make white sauce for a lasagne? Just squeeze some Primula Original Cheese over the pasta sheets instead, it has fantastic meltability, and will cover the pasta just as well as a traditional white sauce!

 

There is a great variety in the Primula range, all of these are made of delicious cheese with real, tasty ingredients added (you can read more about what they offer on the Primula website). Primula is the only spreadable cheese to be made in the UK. Have a look at the different flavours on offer:

Primula varieties Slimming World

I’ve created a twist on original macaroni cheese that I think makes it ten times more delicious, and it’s completely fuss-free- it only takes 20 minutes from start to finish, it’s perfect to rustle up after a long day at work, or a busy day running around completing Christmas tasks!

 

For my smoky chicken and jalapeño macaroni cheese you will need:

Ingredients for smoky chicken and jalapeno macaroni cheese

You can find the full recipe and instructions below. Primula is perfect for mac’n’cheese because there is no need to pre-melt the cheese, or make any kind of sauce. All you need to do, is stir it straight from the tube into the hot pasta, and it will easily melt to cover the pasta perfectly. You can always loosen it up slightly with just a little of the pasta cooking water, which will keep it smooth and silky.

 

The simple flavours of the smoked paprika, and jalapeños give this a fantastic flavour, with no need for any further additions- it’s so simple to make you won’t believe how good it tastes! I have added a crisp, breadcrumb and parsley topping to this to give that extra bit of texture.

Easy smoky chicken and jalapeno mac'n'cheese

 

This post was written in collaboration with Primula. All images and words are my own.

 

My Recipe

Serves: 2
Syns: 1.5 syns per portion (this may change in the new year when Healthy Extra A allowances change)
Healthy Extra: A- 50g Primula, B- 1/4 of your HEB

Ingredients

  • 150g tube Primula Original Cheese
  • 180g macaroni
  • 200g chicken mini fillets
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 30g pickled red jalapenos, chopped
  • 30g wholemeal bread (approx. 1 small slice), made into breadcrumbs
  • 5g (approx) fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • Low calorie cooking spray or spray oil

Method

  1. Make the breadcrumbs by whizzing up the slice bread in a food processor along with the parsley, and a little salt and pepper
  2. Put the macaroni in a large pan of boiling water, and leave to simmer for 15 minutes
  3. In the meantime, spray a non-stick frying pan with low calorie cooking spray or spray oil and pop in the mini chicken fillets, fry gently, turning occasionally for 10 minutes, then add the paprika and fry for a further 3 minutes, stirring to cover the chicken.using a wooden spatula or plastic spoon, break the chicken up in the frying pan into smaller pieces.
  4. Drain the pasta, and save a little bit of the cooking water. Pop the drained macaroni back into the saucepan.
  5. Add the chopped jalapenos, and the cooked chicken into the saucepan of pasta and stir.
  6. Squeeze in the Primula, and then mix thoroughly to melt the cheese and thoroughly coat the other ingredients. You can add a little of the pasta cooking water to help create a silky consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Spoon the macaroni cheese into an oven-proof dish, and sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the top. Pop under a hot grill for 5 minutes to brown the breadcrumbs on top, and serve!

Additional Info

Can't stand the heat? 30g of jalapeños gives this a good kick of heat- if you aren't a fan of anything being too spicy, just adjust this to your own taste!

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