Easy Chicken, Macaroni, and Cheese Casserole

Shells and Cheese Casserole With Chicken
Diana Rattray
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 35 mins
Total: 45 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
777 Calories
42g Fat
54g Carbs
44g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 777
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 42g 54%
Saturated Fat 16g 82%
Cholesterol 151mg 50%
Sodium 1749mg 76%
Total Carbohydrate 54g 20%
Dietary Fiber 5g 17%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 44g
Vitamin C 11mg 56%
Calcium 373mg 29%
Iron 5mg 30%
Potassium 553mg 12%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This easy recipe starts with a box of macaroni and cheese and becomes a main dish casserole with the addition of diced cooked chicken and frozen-thawed vegetables. The casserole is topped with buttery breadcrumbs and then is baked to homemade perfection. Sprinkling on some shredded Cheddar cheese before the breadcrumb topping adds a bit more flavor and texture but is not necessary.

This is a quick and easy meal to prepare with convenience foods, but if you are not a fan of condensed soup, replace it with about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of white sauce or a seasoned bechamel sauce made with part chicken broth. Use leftover cooked chicken or a rotisserie chicken in the dish, and whatever frozen vegetables your family likes. You can also use a package of the deluxe-style macaroni and cheese in place of the regular.


  • 1 (12-ounce) package Velveeta shells and cheese

  • 1 can cream of chicken soup

  • 2 to 3 cups cooked chicken, cubed

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 small onion, chopped

  • 1/2 cup chopped celery

  • 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables, thawed

  • 2 tablespoons chopped roasted red pepper, or pimiento

  • Salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese

  • 1 cup soft fresh breadcrumbs, tossed with 2 tablespoons melted butter

  • 2 tablespoons melted butter, for the breadcrumbs

Steps to Make It

  1. Heat the oven to 350 F (180 C).

  2. Lightly butter a 2- to 2 1/2-quart baking dish or spray it with nonstick cooking spray.

  3. Cook the shells as directed on the package. Drain, return to the saucepan or a large bowl and add the cheese mixture, cream of chicken soup, and the diced chicken.

  4. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a skillet or saute pan. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are tender. 

  5. Add the thawed vegetables and red pepper or pimiento to the skillet and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes longer.

  6. Combine the sauteed vegetables with the pasta and chicken mixture; taste and add salt and freshly ground black pepper as needed. Spoon the pasta mixture into the prepared baking dish.

  7. Top with shredded cheese, if using, and the buttered breadcrumbs.

  8. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the breadcrumbs are lightly browned and the casserole is bubbling around the edges.

  9. Serve this easy all-in-one dish with a simple tossed salad or sliced fresh tomatoes, along with hot biscuits.