Are you looking for the ultimate comfort food or maybe just a 30 minute dinner for the weeknight? You’ve found it! This loaded macaroni and cheese recipe will have you scraping the bottom of the bowl for more. It’s super hearty and delicious with chicken, bacon, mushrooms and of course LOTS of cheese.
What You’ll Need:
- 1 large chicken breast
- 1 cup fresh mushrooms, chopped
- 4 slices bacon
- 1 box rotini pasta (or your choice)
- 2 cups mild cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 cup milk
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp pepper
- extra salt, pepper and garlic powder to season chicken breast
To ensure this meal is prepared within 30 minutes and that everything is ready at the same time it is key to do the following three steps first and then read the rest of the directions.
1. In a large pot begin boiling water for the pasta.
2. In a medium skillet drizzle 2 – 3 tablespoons of olive oil along the bottom of the pan and heat on medium.
3. Preheat your oven or toaster oven to 375 degrees for the bacon.
Now the rest of the directions!
Season the chicken breast with some salt, pepper and a little garlic powder. Once seasoned on both sides place in the skillet and brown on both sides cooking the chicken completely.
Once the oven has reached 375 degrees insert the bacon and cook for about 20 minutes. (Place the bacon on an aluminum foil covered pan to help make clean up a breeze and reduce the amount of grease spills.)
When the water comes to a boil add the box of pasta and cook until al dente. While the pasta is boiling start the cheese sauce.
In a medium sauce pan melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat. Add 3 tablespoons of flour while whisking. Next add the salt and pepper. Slowly add the cup of milk while whisking. Continue to stir until the sauce has thickened. Add the cheese and stir until melted and blended. Reduce heat to simmer and stir frequently while the pasta finishes cooking. Once the pasta is al dente, drain and return to the pot and pour the cheese sauce over the pasta. Mix and cover to keep warm.
When the bacon is browned and almost crispy, remove and drain the grease.
Chop the bacon slices and then add to the pasta and cheese.
When the chicken is fully cooked cut into bite size pieces with kitchen scissors. I added the chicken back to the pan and the chopped mushrooms. Sauté for two or three minutes to heat the mushrooms through and absorb any chicken juices left in the skillet.
Once the mushrooms have softened and browned add (along with the chicken) to the pasta.
Mix well and serve. Top with grated parmesan cheese if you would like.
I love this recipe because it allows for so much interpretation to your favorite additions with different meats, cheeses and pastas. I hope you enjoy this dish as much as hubs and I did.
xo – M