Food recipe

Cooking recipe: barbecue mac and cheese


Photographs by Kris Ilich / Vaughn Images

“When I was a kid my favorite food was mac and cheese, ”says Jordan Gillis, executive chef of the Vast Kitchen and Bar in Shelby Township. “At Thanksgiving, Christmas, and even Easter, my mom would bake macaroni in the oven, and as I got older I started making them myself. Gillis started cooking at the age of 4, and every time one of his parents cooked a meal he was “glued to their side,” he says. “My mom always told me that I would grow up and be a chef.” On cold fall days, Gillis enjoys making this BBQ Chicken Mac and Cheese, which brings him back to those vacation memories.

Macaroni and cheese and BBQ chicken (15 people)

1 lb elbow macaroni
16 oz. finely grated mozzarella
16 oz. finely grated mild cheddar
16 oz. finely grated parmesan
8 ounces Monterey Jack Cheese
1 ½ cup heavy cream
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. hot sauce
1 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. black pepper
1 tbsp. garlic powder
4 large chicken breasts
1 lb bacon
1 cup of barbecue sauce
1 cup of green onions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cook the chicken, season to taste. Fry the bacon and remove the fat. Chop the chicken, bacon and green onions and set aside. In a large saucepan, bring two quarts of salted water to a boil and cook the noodles until medium-tender. Heat heavy cream in a separate pan over medium heat until it begins to simmer. Add the lemon juice, hot sauce, salt, black pepper and garlic powder. Sprinkle four ounces of Parmesan cheese and four ounces of mild cheddar cheese into the mixture, stirring continuously until all the cheese has melted evenly in the sauce. In a large bowl, toss the cooked noodles with the cheese sauce so that the noodles are well coated. Next, grease a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish and pour in half the noodle mixture. Top with remaining cheddar, Parmesan, mozzarella, half the bacon and half the chicken. Add the rest of the noodle mixture, followed by the rest of the Monterey Jack cheese. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes. Then remove the foil and cook uncovered for an additional 15 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes, drizzle with barbecue sauce to taste, sprinkle with green onions and enjoy!


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