Sunday, January 13, 2013

Gluten Free Macaroni and Cheese

Gluten-Free, Wheat-Free Mac and Cheese with Sauteed Chicken

I oftentimes make this tasty treat on weeknights, after I get home from work. This dish requires minimal prep work, and each portion can be cooked simultaneously. I will usually put the water on boil, start the chicken, then by the time the chicken is done, the noodles are ready to go in the water. Then, as the noodles are boiling, I start the cheese sauce all the while keeping an eye on the chicken. This can all be done on and around the stove top, and requires very little mixing of ingredients. All in all, I would say the prep time is about 30 minutes. Perfect for a late evening meal. 

For the Pasta

For the Pasta I used Ancient Harvest Quinoa Wheat Free Shells. I really like the quinoa noodles, because I know that they are not only wheat-free, but they also are high in protein and high in fiber. If you're following a wheat-free diet, it's important to get your fiber from other sources.

The qunioa noodles also taste 'right,' don't clump together like other gluten-free wheat-free pasta, and keep well if there are leftovers. These also have the capacity to be cooked al dente, just as regular pasta.

Ancient Harvest Quinoa Wheat Free Shells

Prepare these noodles as directed on the box.

For the Cheese Sauce


  • 1 Cup Grated Cheddar
  • 1/2 Cup Half-and-Half (or substitute regular milk or rice milk)
  • 1/8th Cup Butter (this is a quarter of a stick)
  • 1 Tablespoon Grated Parmesan, for topping
  1. In a medium sauce pan, heat melt butter of LOW. 
  2. When butter is completely melted, add the half-and-half. Heat until simmering.
  3. Pinch by pinch, add the grated cheddar while stirring.
  4. Once the sauce is completely mixed up, keep over LOW heat until noodles are ready to be added.
  5. Add noodles, mix together, and top with grated Parmesan. 

*   *   *

You can of course substitute other cheeses for this dish. I once made this with a mix of mozzarella, Parmesan, and Swiss.  

Half-and-Half adds a rich, creamy taste. If you want a more modest dish, try adding regular milk or rice milk. I like rice milk as a non-dairy substitute because out of my few choices (there is of course almond and soy milk, which I cannot have), this one has the closest consistency to regular skim milk, the taste is comparable  and it works well as a milk-substitute in baking. 

For the Sauteed Chicken


  • 1 Large Chicken Breast, thawed (for substitutions, this is about 1/2 lb)
  • 1/2 Medium White Onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced (or 2 teaspoons garlic powder)
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 2 Teaspoons Black Pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  1. In a medium frying pan, add the olive oil and tip the pan around until it fully covers the surface of the pan.
  2. Sprinkle salt, pepper, garlic powder, if you used it, into the pan. 
  3. Drop the minced garlic and chopped onion into the pan, making sure it's evenly distributed across the surface of the pan.
  4. Turn on MED-LOW heat, and simmer while you are prepping the chicken. This allows the flavors to meld together before the chicken soaks them up.
  5. Chicken breast: prep the chicken breast by slicing into 1/2 inch strips, 2-3 inches long.
  6. Place chicken into the pan, being careful to slowly lay down each strip, rather than dropping it, as the olive oil will be very hot.
  7. Saute the chicken for 10-12 minutes, or until done, stirring every 2 or so minutes. 
  8. Serve on top of macaroni and cheese.

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