We all love Hamburger Helper type meals. However, we really try not to eat too much processed stuff. The last time I made a box of that stuff, I spent 2 days in the bathroom.. so… yeah, we just don’t go there any more. I do not think we have had a box of that in almost 13 years.
Every now and then, I make my own version. The other night, none of us could decide on what to eat. Hubby suggested that I make one of my home made helper-type meals. With everyone in agreement, I thawed out some boneless, skinless chicken thighs, diced up a large onion, and tossed them in a cast iron skillet with some butter, salt, pepper, and towards the end, some fresh garlic.
As that cooked up, I got a pan of water on to boil, and tossed in a box of rigatoni (my favorite). When that was done, I drained it (reserving about 1.5 C of pasta water) and returned it to the pan. My chicken was done and had been resting. I cut the chicken into pieces, and added it to the pasta.
In the pan I had cooked the chicken and onion in, I added some butter and garlic, over low heat. I made a roux, and added in some shredded cheddar cheese and a packet of bad-for-you, overly-processed-cheese-like sauce, and some half and half. I can’t help it. I know that sauce is bad, but OMG it is SO good. I also added in about 4 TBSP of cream cheese.
While this was getting all bubbly-blub, I tossed a bag of frozen broccoli into the microwave. I finished my sauce, adding in splashes of the pasta water until it was the consistency that I wanted. I added the sauce to the pasta and chicken, tossed in the steamed broccoli, seasoned it with salt and pepper, and we devoured it. There was enough left for 3 of us to have leftovers the next day. Hubby really wasn’t a fan. But my mom and I loved it. The pasta REALLY soaked up all of the sauce, so I think if I do it again, I will make sure the sauce is more…saucy. LOL.. Less thick..
I also want to redo this recipe using Zoodles instead of pasta. I think I will omit the cheese sauce next time too, and just stick with my roux and cheddar cheese. And MORE pasta water!