Tonight’s dinner was a REAL treat!
There are only a handful of meals that can really get my husband excited; anything that includes beef, and he’s a happy camper. But as soon there’s mention of “mac & cheese,” then I’ve really got his attention.
Throw in the words “chicken,” “bacon,” and “ranch” and I’ve got him hooked.
Tonight, he was definitely hooked, thanks to this recipe!
Chicken, Bacon, and Ranch Mac & Cheese
(Recipe adapted from myrecipes.com)
- 8 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni
- 1 slice bacon
- 8 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 cups fat-free milk
- 1/3 cup condensed 98% fat-free cream of chicken soup, undiluted
- 3/4 cup shredded six-cheese Italian blend
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp dried dill
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup shredded Colby-Jack cheese
- Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.
- Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving drippings in pan. Finely chop bacon; set aside. Increase heat to medium-high. Add chicken to drippings in pan; sauté 6 minutes or until done.
- Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat; sprinkle flour evenly into pan. Cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk. Combine milk and soup, stirring with a whisk; gradually add milk mixture to saucepan, stirring with a whisk. Bring to a boil; cook 2 minutes or until thick. Remove from heat; let stand 4 minutes or until sauce cools to 155°. Add Italian cheese blend, onion powder, garlic powder, dill, and salt, stirring until cheese melts. Stir in pasta and chicken.
- Preheat broiler. Spoon mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle evenly with reserved bacon and colby-Jack cheese. Broil 3 minutes or until cheese melts. ENJOY!
First, cook your pasta, drain it, and set aside.
Next, cook your one, lonely strip of bacon. Just don’t overcook it like I do.
Using the same pan, cook your chicken in the remaining bacon drippings.
Once the chicken and bacon are cooked, start prepping your cheese sauce. Heat up the oil in the bottom of your pasta saucepot…no sense in dirtying more dishes, right? Add the flour and stir continuously for about 2 minutes.
Next, whisk together your cream of chicken soup and milk…
…and add it to the saucepan.
Once the sauce has been heated and brought to a boil, remove from heat and allow to cool to about 155 degrees. If you don’t have a thermometer, just wait about 5 minutes, and you should be good to go!
Next, add in your cheese & spices.
Whisk everything together until the cheese is all melty and smells incredible.
Now, go ahead and add in your pasta and chicken, and let everything get nice and acquainted.
Mmmmm, so cheesy!
Pour the mac & cheese into an 8-inch square baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.
Then go ahead and add some MORE cheese!
Oh yeah, and the bacon, too.
Place the mac & cheese under your preheated broiler for about 3 minutes, and before you know it, you’ve got yourself one amazing, cheesy dish of mac & cheese!
Ready to dig in!!
Does that not look tasty or what??
While I finished up the mac & cheese, I had a little help from hubby preparing some side salads.
I figured it would be a good idea to add some veggies to curb myself from OD’ing on mac & cheese, and it worked. Talk about delicious!
Our salads consisted of some mixed greens, cukes, tomato, red pepper, & onion, drizzles with some roasted red pepper vinaigrette.
The mac & cheese was probably one of my favorite to date; it had all the flavor of the full-fat version, but thanks to the use of skim milk and a smaller amount of cheese, you’ve only got half the guilt!
Apparently, this dish is even feline-friendly, too?
He’s such a little sneak!
Time to get ready to get back to the grind tomorrow…hey, at least it was a great weekend!
Hopefully yours was just as fun!