How to Make Chicken Broccoli Mac and Cheese with Bacon

Indulge in the ultimate comfort food with “Ultimate Comfort: Chicken Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon.” This hearty dish combines tender chicken, crisp broccoli, and smoky bacon with creamy, cheesy macaroni. Perfect for family dinners or a cozy night in, this mac and cheese is a satisfying and flavorful meal that everyone will love.

Why You’ll Love Chicken Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon:

  • Rich and Creamy: The cheese sauce is velvety and full of flavor.
  • Hearty and Satisfying: A complete meal with protein, veggies, and carbs.
  • Smoky Bacon: Adds a delicious savory and smoky note.
  • Easy to Make: Simple ingredients and straightforward preparation.

Ingredients Notes For Chicken Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon:

  • Pasta: Elbow macaroni or your favorite pasta shape.
  • Chicken: Boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cubed.
  • Broccoli: Fresh or frozen, cut into small florets.
  • Bacon: Cooked until crispy and crumbled.
  • Cheese: A mix of cheddar, Gruyère, and Parmesan for rich flavor.
  • Milk and Cream: For a creamy cheese sauce.
  • Butter and Flour: To make the roux for the cheese sauce.
  • Garlic: Minced for added flavor.
  • Salt and Pepper: To taste.
  • Paprika: Optional, for a hint of smokiness.

Recipe Steps:

  1. Cook the Pasta:
    • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add 12 ounces of elbow macaroni and cook according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  2. Cook the Bacon:
    • In a large skillet, cook 6 slices of bacon over medium heat until crispy. Remove from the skillet and drain on paper towels. Once cooled, crumble the bacon and set aside. Reserve a bit of the bacon fat in the skillet.
  3. Cook the Chicken:
    • In the same skillet with a bit of bacon fat, add 1 pound of cubed chicken. Season with salt and pepper, and cook until the chicken is browned and cooked through, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
  4. Cook the Broccoli:
    • Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the broccoli florets and cook for 2-3 minutes until tender-crisp. Drain and set aside.
  5. Make the Cheese Sauce:
    • In a large saucepan, melt 1/4 cup of butter over medium heat. Add 2 minced garlic cloves and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes to form a roux.
    • Gradually whisk in 2 cups of milk and 1 cup of heavy cream. Continue to whisk until the mixture is smooth and thickened, about 5 minutes.
    • Reduce heat to low and stir in 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese, 1 cup of shredded Gruyère, and 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese until melted and smooth. Add a pinch of paprika if using, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Combine the Ingredients:
    • Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked pasta, chicken, broccoli, and cheese sauce. Gently mix until everything is well coated with the sauce.
  7. Assemble and Bake:
    • Transfer the mixture to a greased 9×13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle the crumbled bacon over the top. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is golden and bubbly.
  8. Serve:
    • Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Serve warm, garnished with extra cheese or fresh herbs if desired.
» MORE:  Mozzarella cheese slices

Storage Options:

  • Refrigerate: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave before serving.
  • Freeze: Freeze the unbaked mac and cheese in a freezer-safe container for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and bake as directed.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups elbow macaroni or your favorite pasta shape
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 pound chicken breast diced
  • 6 slices bacon cooked and crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley optional, for garnish

Instructions

  • Cook the Pasta and Broccoli:
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook according to the package instructions until al dente. Add the broccoli florets to the pot during the last 3 minutes of cooking.
  • Drain the pasta and broccoli and set aside.
  • Cook the Bacon:
  • In a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until crispy. Remove the bacon and place on a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Once cooled, crumble the bacon and set aside.
  • Cook the Chicken:
  • In the same skillet, add the olive oil and diced chicken. Season with salt and pepper and cook over medium-high heat until the chicken is browned and cooked through, about 6-8 minutes. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside.
  • Make the Cheese Sauce:
  • In the same pot used to cook the pasta, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk continuously for about 2 minutes to form a roux.
  • Gradually whisk in the milk and heavy cream, ensuring no lumps form. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and starts to bubble.
  • Reduce the heat to low and stir in the shredded cheddar, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheeses until melted and smooth.
  • Add the garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper to taste.
  • Combine and Bake:
  • Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • Add the cooked pasta, broccoli, chicken, and crumbled bacon to the cheese sauce. Stir until everything is well combined.
  • Transfer the mixture to a greased 9×13-inch baking dish or similar-sized casserole dish.
  • Sprinkle additional shredded cheese on top, if desired.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the sauce is bubbly.
  • Serve:
  • Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
  • Garnish with chopped fresh parsley, if desired.
  • Serve hot and enjoy!

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