Nothing says comfort quite like home-made mac-n-cheese. I never could resist cheese nor the crunchy browned goodness on top of a casserole. Putting the two together is sheer bliss in my book. Besides the boxed mac-n-cheese is nowhere near what mac-n-cheese should be. I have never purchased powdered cheese so why would I use it in a meal for my kids? Last time I looked cheese was something that was fresh!
This is a great go to meal, it comes together quickly and the aroma of cheese and bacon fill your home with deliciousness. Once you bite into the crunchy bacon topped, oozy gooey cheesy pasta you will be digging in for more!
My kids ask for this at least once a week. I have to restrict them, so I make a second smaller batch that I freeze. Let me tell you the frozen one is almost better than the fresh.
- 16 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni
- 1/2 lb sliced smoked bacon of your choice
- 3 chicken breasts, skinned boned and diced into bite sized pieces
- 3 tablespoon butter
- 3 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 3 cups milk
- 1/3 cup condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
- 2.5 cups shredded cheese, 1 cup jack, 1 cup pepper jack, 1/2 cup sharp cheddar (or whatever your favs are!)
- 2 tbs powdered ranch
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Cooking spray
Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente.
Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. I cut it up before cooking using my handy kitchen shears into bite sized pieces, then drain on paper towel and set aside. Reserving drippings in pan.
Add chicken to drippings in pan, sprinkle with pepper and a little salt (remember the bacon is salty) sauté for 10 minutes or until done.
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat; sprinkle flour evenly into pan. Cook 2 minutes to get the flour taste out, stirring constantly with a whisk. Combine milk and soup in a bowl with a whisk; gradually add milk mixture to saucepan, stirring with a whisk, then add ranch powder.
Bring to a boil; cook 2 minutes or until thick. Remove from heat and add cheese. Once cheese is all melted into sauce, stir in pasta and most of the chicken and most of the bacon. (Reserve a little of each to sprinkle on top)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Spoon mixture into a greased 9 x 11″ glass baking dish, and an 8 x 8″ glass baking dish. (Or if you have a super large one use that. I freeze the small one for later.) Sprinkle evenly with reserved bacon and chicken.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until heated through. DO NOT BROIL IN GLASS DISH, IT WILL BREAK ON YOU.
Serve with a side salad or vegetable to round out the meal.
My concoction of cheeses
Ready for the oven
Just out of the oven