Monday, August 23, 2010

27. Chicken Bacon Mac & Cheese

I was trying to figure out what to make for breakfast. By the time I had chosen from my 30 some saved breakfast recipes it was 10:00am. We had to make it to DOL to license our new boat and trailer, then hit the grocery store. At the very last minute we chose a lunch option given our anticipated arrival time home.

My husband loves all things cheesy and of course bacon, so this will work for today.

Start with 4 slices of bacon, cook over medium heat until browned. Make sure they're not too crispy, but not too soft.

Slice or dice half of a sweet onion. When the bacon is finished - remove from the pan and reserve 1tbsp of the bacon grease. Cook onions over medium heat until just browned. Remove and set aside.

Grate 1 cup of cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup gruyere cheese and 1/2 cup parmesan cheese.

Bring your pasta water to a boil and add 1lb elbow macaroni and cook according to the package.

In the pan used to cook the bacon and onions, combine 1tbsp butter and 1tbsp flour. Mix to make a roux. Add 2 cups milk and 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream to the roux. Be sure to stir constantly to avoid clumping. Cook over medium-low heat and allow to thicken slightly. Add in the grated cheese and a pinch of nutmeg. Stir well to combine and simmer for 5 minutes to allow time to thicken. Stir frequently to avoid burning.

Cook up 2 chicken breasts. We had ours on the smoker, then finished them up on the stove to ensure they were cooked all the way through. Grill or bake them. We seasoned with a smoky kickin' chicken seasoning blend. Cube up both breasts and set aside with your bacon and onions.

In a 9"x13" pan, add half the macaroni.

Then add half the bacon, onions and chicken.

Top with half the cheese sauce and repeat. I topped my second layer off with a sprinkle of bread crumbs and extra shaved parmesan cheese. Bake for 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven, then broil on high for 2-3 minutes to brown the top.

This is a beautiful, flavorful dish. I'm not a huge mac & cheese fan and I absolutely loved this. Best mac & cheese recipe I've made by far (sorry PW)!

Chicken Bacon Mac & Cheese
adapted from How Sweet It Is

1lb elbow macaroni
2 boneless chicken breasts, grilled and chopped
4 slices of bacon, fried and crumbled
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
1tbsp bacon grease
1tbsp butter
1tbsp flour
pinch of nutmeg
2 cups milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated smoked gruyere cheese
1/2 cup shaved parmesan cheese
Bread crumbs (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Boil water for pasta and cook according to directions. In a skillet fry bacon reserving 1tbsp bacon grease. Remove bacon, crumble and add onions to the bacon grease to brown. Set onions aside with the crumbled bacon. While water is boiling, make sauce. Add 1tbsp butter and 1tbsp flour to skillet to create a roux. Add milk and cream, stirring constantly. Add cheeses and pinch of nutmeg, stirring consistently for 5 minutes until mixture thickens.

In a 9"x13" baking dish layer half the pasta, onion, bacon, chicken and cheese sauce. Repeat process. (Optional) Add bread crumbs and shaved parmesan cheese and place in the oven to bake for 20 minutes. Broil under high heat for an additional 2-3 minutes to brown the top.

Makes 8-12 servings depending on portion size.

Happy Monday & Enjoy!


Kate said...

Looks great!

How long did it take to make?

Cassie said...

It was so good, Kate! It gave us plenty of leftovers too. I think it took me about 40 minutes.