Wednesday, March 03, 2010

cheesy delight: bacon, ranch and chicken mac and cheese

this month's cooking light magazine arrived in my mailbox last week and i felt like a fat kid hyped up on candy. i frantically tore through that bad boy, ooo-ing and aah-ing over every page, all while trying to catch the drool dripping from my mouth. this recipe immediately caught my eye because i obviously love ranch and bacon. the serving size is 2 cups and it rounds out to be about 500 calories.  you definitely don't need 2 cups to fill you up and when served with a side salad, its a great dinner option.  it's always nice to feel like you're eating something bad, even if you're not.

source: cooking light
8 oz uncooked elbow macaroni
2 slices turkey bacon
8 oz chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1.5 cups skim milk
1/3 cup condensed 98% fat-free cream of mushroom soup
3/4 cup shredded six-cheese italian blend (such as Sargento)
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
1/2 cup shredded colby-jack cheese

cook pasta according to package directions; 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. add chicken to drippings in pan and 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 s&p, stirring until cheese melts. stir in pasta and chicken.

preheat broiler. 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.
(photo credit -

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