I have never been much of a Mac and Cheese fan. Sure, I made the "blue box" variety, when my kids were growing up, and they loved it, but I never ventured into realm of Mac and Cheese recipes. Until now. You know that I love Chicken and Broccoli, and then I saw this Chicken and Broccoli Mac and Cheese with Bacon. I didn't hesitate, sign me up. Who could resist ooey, gooey, cheese covered Mac with chunks of chicken, and tender broccoli, sprinkled with bacon? Not I! I had everything in my pantry and fridge to make this amazing dish. Even though it's Spring, we had snow on Tuesday, and we have February temps again, so we needed comfort food.
I had seen this dish in the latest edition of Cooking and Light, so this is a healthier version of the beloved dish. The recipe says that it can be made in about 25-35 minutes. I had some cooked, frozen chicken breasts in the freezer, leftover from making the enchiladas, so I used those. This dish is made on the stove top, and finished off under the broiler to brown the cheese. Added turmeric gives the cheese sauce a deeper color and more flavor. I did use about 7 oz of light cheddar cheese, because there was a lot of broccoli and chicken, as well as the macaroni, and the sauce was wonderful. This Mac and Cheese is brimming with broccoli, cooked chicken. and bacon, covered in a cheese sauce. It's is whole meal in a bowl, so good, so cheesy, but a little healthier, too. I will definitely be making this dish again for sure, and Scott loved it, too.
This dish would also be good way to use up leftover ham from your Easter Dinner or Brunch.
Chicken and Broccoli Mac and Cheese with Bacon
Adapted from Cooking Light
- 6 ounces uncooked large or regular elbow macaroni
- 3 cups chopped broccoli florets
- 3 bacon slices, coarsely chopped I used turkey bacon
- 12 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, or pre-cooked chicken
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
- 1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 1/4 cups 1% low-fat milk I used Almond milk
- 1 cup unsalted chicken stock
- 1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
- 5 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 1/4 cups) I used reduced fat cheddar cheese
Directions:1. Preheat broiler to high.
2. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Add broccoli to pan during last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain.
3. While pasta cooks, place bacon in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat; cook 4 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Remove bacon from pan with a slotted spoon; reserve 1 1/2 teaspoons drippings in pan. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add chicken to drippings in pan; cook 4 minutes. Sprinkle with garlic; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with turmeric; cook 30 seconds, stirring frequently.
4. Combine remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, milk, stock, and flour, stirring with a whisk. Add milk mixture to pan; bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook 2 minutes or until thickened. Add pasta and broccoli mixture and 2 ounces cheese; toss to coat. Sprinkle with remaining 3 ounces cheese and bacon. Broil 2 minutes or until cheese melts and just begins to brown.