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Chicken and Bacon Mac & Cheese

Occasionally when Rob see's the Pizza (Pasta) Hut commercial with the Bacon Macaroni and Cheese he will say, that looks awesome. While I agree it looks pretty good - I'm not going to order pasta from Pizza Hut. First of all - it's like 2 pounds, right?! Secondly, if I have a reason to have that much pasta that means I'm having people over and either I'll make the food or where ordering pizza - NOT PASTA! But, again, it does look good so clearly I could make it - only make it better. To make it better I wanted to add some real protein to it because I really didn't feel like making it a side dish. I just wanted a one-pot meal so to speak. While this was actually a semi-home made kind of meal I was very happy with it. It really hit the comfort food spot and was super easy. Would still be just as easy with out the store bought help but I just couldn't resist trying it. (The store bought help I'm referring to is Ragu Double Cheddar Sauce. I saw it at the store on sale super cheap and just wondered how it tasted so I bought it. Not bad to have around the house to jazz it up for cheese sauces)

Chicken and Bacon Macaroni & Cheese

Ingredients

2 b/s chicken breasts, seasoned and cut in to small chunks (I used one ginormous chicken breast!)
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
4 slices of bacon, chopped
10 oz. pasta shape of choice
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup milk
tiny bit of fresh ground nutmeg
3 oz. Gruyere Cheese, shredded
1/2 jar of Ragu Double Cheddar Sauce
S&P to taste

Directions

- heat olive oil on medium-high heat, throw in cubed chicken and cook 5 - 8 minutes or until 165-170 degrees internally. Set aside
- add chopped bacon to chicken drippings and cook until just crispy and set aside
- meanwhile, while cooking meats, cook pasta of choice in boiling water with a bit of salt until al dente and drain
- add pasta back to large pot
- melt butter in small sauce pan and add flour to melted butter, whisking in and cooking for about 2 mintues to get rid of flour taste
- add milk slowly, while whisking and add a bit of nutmeg
- reduce heat and simmer about 5 minutes or until liquid is slightly reduced
- add Gruyere cheese and stir to melt
- add in double cheddar cheese sauce and stir well to mix flavors and heat through
- Mix together cheese sauce, chicken, bacon and pasta, reserving a little bacon for topping
- Season to taste with S&P and enjoy!



** this could be made less semi-homemade by not using the Ragu and increasing the butter, flour and milk by double and adding maybe 6 ounces of cheddar. I'm bad at amounts of cheese - I love it super cheesy!

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