Sunday, February 3, 2013

Bacon, Ranch & Chicken Mac & Cheese





Wow!!!   This is a definite keeper!

I thought we would have leftovers. Nope. No leftovers.







I did adapt from the original. It needed more bacon and only called for one slice. I used whole milk and regular cream of mushroom soup.
The original blogger did make this a "healthier" version but we have different opinions on what is healthy.
I see no need to fry bacon in a non-stick pan. I used my KitchenCraft and stainless steel pans, less chemicals. I did not use all the bacon drippings as that would have been too much.
I do not use commercial cooking spray. I prefer to use my own oil in a spray bottle like the one Pampered Chef uses. It has no propellant.
I did not finish this under the broiler because it was too hot and I did not want the oven on.
I do like the broiled topping so on a cooler day or if the oven was already on I would broil the topping.

Ingredients

  • 8  ounces  uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 4 slices applewood-smoked bacon
  • 8  ounces  skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1  tablespoon  butter
  • 1  tablespoon  all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2  cups  milk
  • 1/3  cup  condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
  • 3/4  cup  (3 ounces) shredded six-cheese Italian blend 
  • 1/2  teaspoon  onion powder
  • 1/2  teaspoon  garlic powder
  • 1/2  teaspoon  chopped fresh dill
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2  cup  (2 ounces) shredded colby-Jack cheese

Preparation

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.
Cook bacon in a large 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.
Melt butter 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. Preheat broiler.
Spoon mixture into an 8-inch square pan coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle evenly with reserved bacon and colby-Jack cheese. Broil 3 minutes or until cheese melts.




Verdict:
Fantastic! I liked the whole food approach to the Ranch. It doesn't take any more time to mix in the seasoning than a packaged mix. If I have to look up an ingredient or it is not food I try not to use it.
I would encourage you to use fresh dill if at all possible. 
The eaters all loved this. The non eater wouldn't taste it but he didn't mind the smell too much so that is progress.
This is a keeper and will be added to our regular menu of family recipes.



pinned from First Look Then Cook

http://firstlookthencook.com/2010/02/26/bacon-ranch-and-chicken-mac-and-cheese/

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