Mac & cheese is one of the ultimate comfort foods. Adding a little protein makes it even healthier.
On these cold, blustery, rainy days nothing tastes better than comfort food. And nothing is more comforting than macaroni & cheese. But just pasta and cheese while delicious is all carbs and very fattening. So why not get some good carbs out of this comforting dish? Take Cooking Light‘s advice and add some protein. Chicken and bacon not only make this mac & cheese even tastier, it makes it even more filling. Add a variety of shredded Italian cheeses and this creamy, cheesy goodness gets even better than that little blue box we all know so well.
Bacon and chicken mac & cheese
- 8 ounces elbow macaroni
- 2 slices bacon
- 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1-1/2 cups milk
- 1/3 cup cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
- 1 cup shredded six-cheese Italian blend
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly dill, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup shredded colby-Jack cheese
- 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
- Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside.
- Preheat the broiler.
- Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from the pan, resesrving the drippings in the pan. Finely chop the bacon and set aside. Increase the heat to medium-high. Add the chicken to the drippings and sauté for six minutes or until done.
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook for two minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk.
- Whisk together the milk and soup in a small bowl. Gradually stir the milk mixture into the sauce pan. Bring to a boil and cook for two minutes or until thick. Remove from the heat and let stand for four minutes. Add the Italian cheese blend, garlic powder, dill and salt and stir until the cheese melts. Stir in the chicken and pasta.
- Spoon the mixture into a 2-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle the reserved bacon, colby-Jack cheese and bread crumbs over the macaroni in the baking dish. Broil for three minutes or until the cheese is melted. Serve immediately.