I had no issues with the preparation of the recipe. It came together smoothly and easily. I used three pieces of bacon, and one medium sized chicken breast (which I seasoned with a modest amount of salt and pepper). I also cut the bacon prior to cooking it to save time. While the chicken wasn't bad, it didn't seem to contribute much to the recipe. Everyone cherry-picked the bacon out and wanted more. Next time, I believe I'll just use bacon - and probably moreso. I know this takes away from the "light" factor. It was a good creamy, mildly cheesy dish. I thought it had great flavor. The leftovers re-heated well.
Bacon, Ranch, and Chicken Mac and Cheese
Photo: Romulo Yanes, Randy Mayor; Styling: Mary-Ellen Weinrib
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Amount per serving
- Calories: 497
- Fat: 17g
- Saturated fat: 7.4g
- Monounsaturated fat: 4.7g
- Polyunsaturated fat: 1.4g
- Protein: 33.3g
- Carbohydrate: 51.7g
- Fiber: 2g
- Cholesterol: 74mg
- Iron: 2.4mg
- Sodium: 545mg
- Calcium: 368mg
- 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
- 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.
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