Monday, January 28, 2013

Chicken Bacon Ranch Macaroni and Cheese

 Here's another fabulous mac n cheese dish. I seem to be getting quite of collection of mac n cheese recipes, but seriously, is that a bad thing? I think not. As soon as I saw the name of this one, I knew it fell into the "how can this not be good" category. And ya know what? I was right!!! How can this not be good???? First of all, it had me at bacon. And then with the chicken and ranch, well, all I can say is bring it on! It's warm and comforting and the flavors blend perfectly. No, it's not too "ranchy". It's just perfect. You should probably make this. Like, TODAY!

16 ozs macaroni (elbow, or other cut pasta shape)
6 thick slices bacon
16 ozs boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut into 1/2" pieces) 
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt 
2 tbs butter 
2 tbs flour 
3 cups milk 
1 10 oz can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup Ranch dressing 
2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese 
1 cup French fried onion rings

 Heat oven to 350F.
Boil pasta until al dente, omitting salt; drain. 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. Season chicken with onion powder, garlic powder and salt. Add chicken to drippings in pan; saute 5 or 6 minutes or until almost 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; then gradually add milk mixture to saucepan, stirring with a whisk. Bring to a boil; cook 2 minutes or until thick. Add ranch dressing and 2 cups of the cheese, stirring until cheese melts. Stir in pasta and chicken. Spoon pasta mixture into a casserole dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle evenly with reserved bacon, onion rings and remaining 1/2 cup of cheese. Bake for about 20-30 minutes or until bubbly.

 The amounts are just guidelines. Well, the chicken and the pasta are probably the correct amounts to fit in the casserole dish, but if you want more bacon, or more cheese and onion rings on top, go for it!

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