Growing up, we didn’t have homemade macaroni and cheese very often. Most of the time when we did have it, it was a boxed variety. We ate the boxed macaroni and cheese A LOT. It was a side dish for hot dogs, hamburgers, fish sticks…you name it.
I, however, have been making homemade mac and cheese for years. Generally when I make it, I don’t include meat, like this version does, but sometimes I mix things up a bit and do something different.
This Chicken-Bacon Macaroni and Cheese is one such example of that. I love the combo of chicken and bacon, so this was a natural progression in my mac & cheese making.
In the words of Courtney: “It’s really, really, really good. It’s my favorite macaroni and cheese that you make”. It includes bacon, one of her favorites, so I’m not surprised. It’s one of my favorites too and perfect for the cooler weather we are FINALLY starting to get in Las Vegas. Enjoy!
Chicken-Bacon Macaroni and Cheese
- 4 cups cooked & cubed chicken
- 12-16 ounces bacon cut into small pieces & cooked
- 1 pound elbow macaroni
- 1 cup stick butter 1/2
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/2 pound extra sharp cheddar cheese shredded
- 1 pound Monterey Jack cheese divided and shredded
- 6 cups milk
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 3 tablespoons butter melted
Spray a large casserole dish with cooking spray. Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain well, and place pasta in a layer in the bottom of the large casserole dish. Top pasta with cubed chicken and bacon pieces.
While pasta is cooking, melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Whisk flour into the melted butter, so that both are fully mixed together and smooth. Continue to whisk, cooking the flour and butter, for approximately 5 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk so that it is smooth and fully incorporated with the flour/butter mixture. Add in salt, pepper, and Dijon mustard. Keep whisking, fairly constantly, until mixture is starting to simmer and thickening. Reduce heat to low and whisk in cheddar cheese. When cheddar cheese is fully melted, turn off heat, and whisk in 1/2 lb of Monterey Jack. Whisk until complete melted.
Pour cheese sauce directly over the pasta, chicken and bacon that is in the large casserole pan. Gently stir ingredients together until well combined. Sprinkle with remaining Monterey Jack cheese.
In a small bowl, mix melted 3 tablespoons butter with Panko. Sprinkle evenly on top of macaroni and cheese.
Baked at 375 degrees F for approximately 30 minutes, or until breadcrumbs are browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5-10 before serving.
Recipe Notes--For the chicken I used, I boiled 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts for my cubed chicken, which gave me about 4 cups. This will vary depending on the size of the chicken breasts you use.
--Since bacon packages vary so much, I don't list a specific size. I buy one package, however, sometimes they are 12 oz and sometimes 16 oz.
--If you prefer, you can skip the melted butter for the Panko. Simply sprinkle Panko on top of the macaroni and cheese and spray the top lightly with cooking spray. It will brown differently, but I often do this.
Want a baked pasta dish with lots of vegetables added? This Veggie Loaded Pasta Bake is a favorite in our house.
Want more Macaroni and Cheese Recipes? I have a whole Pinterest board devoted to them: Macaroni & Cheese Recipes
Do you have any food memories of macaroni and cheese?