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Bacon, Ranch, and Chicken Mac and Cheese

Photo: Romulo Yanes, Randy Mayor; Styling: Mary-Ellen Weinrib
Total time 45 mins
Yield 4 servings (serving size: about 2 cups)
Dress up classic macaroni and cheese with applewood-smoked bacon, chicken, and Ranch dressing-inspired seasonings for a delicious twist on this classic dish.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 1 slice applewood-smoked 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 45% reduced-sodium 98% fat-free cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded six-cheese Italian blend (such as Sargento)
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded colby-Jack cheese

Nutrition Information

  • calories 497
  • fat 17 g
  • satfat 7.4 g
  • monofat 4.7 g
  • polyfat 1.4 g
  • protein 33.3 g
  • carbohydrate 51.7 g
  • fiber 2 g
  • cholesterol 74 mg
  • iron 2.4 mg
  • sodium 545 mg
  • calcium 368 mg

How to Make It

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Preheat broiler.

  5. 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.