There isn’t much in the comfort food realm more comforting than a homemade Mac and Cheese. Whenever you are making mac and cheese as a main dish or whole meal, you want to add in some fun flavors and of course some meat. Chicken and bacon is such a great combo to go with a mac and cheese. And some green chilis added in give this Chicken Mac a little kick. A hearty weeknight meal is exactly what you are getting from this meal.
The thing I love about learning to make sauces from scratch is that you can tweak them to make very different dishes that are essentially the same thing. Sometimes it’s because you want to use up what’s in your cupboards and fridge and sometimes its because the month has gotten away from you and you gotten make due with what you have. As they say – necessity is the mother of invention! Once you know how to really make a roux, you can make just about any flavor profile in a cream sauce. I, personally have a preference of butter and flour for my roux. Some use oil instead of butter and some use cornstarch instead of flour. I would suggest that you play around with it to decide which you are more comfortable with.
I almost always have some form of pasta, chicken, bacon and cheese in my home. They are my staples because I know I can always makes something tasty with it. I also like to keep a variety of mix-ins like diced tomatoes, green chilies, corn, and jalapenos. If you wanted to give this mac and cheese an even bigger kick you could use a can of diced jalapenos instead. This is definitely a stand alone meal of a dish, you might serve with a green salad.
Now let’s get cookin’!
- 2 lb Chicken Breast
- 1 qt Chicken Broth
- 3 Garlic Cloves minced
- ½ lb Bacon cut into ½inch pieces
- 1½ lb Short Pasta elbows, penne, rotini, etc.
- 3 Green Onions chopped
For Cheese Sauce
- 3 tbsp Butter
- 3 tbsp Flour
- 1 tsp Garlic Salt
- 1 cup Broth chicken or vegetable
- 1 tsp Ground Mustard
- 1 7 oz can Green Chilies diced
- 1 cup Heavy Cream
- 2 cup Cheddar Cheese shredded
- Start water boiling for pasta.
- In a frying pan over medium high heat, add bacon. Cook until crispy and remove to paper towel covered plate.
- In a sauce pan over medium high heat, add chicken broth, chicken and garlic. Boil for 20 minutes. Remove from pan and chop into bite-sized pieces.
- Add pasta to boiling water. Cook as directed on package. Drain in a colander and rinse with cool water. Return to pot away from heat.
- In a sauce pan over medium heat, add butter and garlic salt. Once melted add flour and mix together. Cook for 3 minutes then whisk in broth and ground mustard. Cook for 3 minutes and add green chilies. Cook another 2 minutes then whisk in heavy cream. Cook for 2 minutes and add cheese (one handful at a time) until completely melted.
- Pour cheese sauce over cooked pasta. Add chicken and half of bacon. Stir until fully combined. Serve in a shallow pasta bowl and garnish with remaining bacon and scallions.
Estelle Forrest’s self-published first cookbook – Homemade on a Weeknight: A Family Cookbook – was created after a lot of playing around in the kitchen. You can purchase your own copy here:
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