Gooey Italian and jack cheeses, crispy applewood-smoked bacon and juicy chicken breast pieces . . . sounds great (and unhealthy) right? Amazing as it is, this dish is lightened up enough that a serving of two cups is under 500 calories. Butter is removed from this dish and replaced with cream of mushroom soup and skim milk. Finished with reduced fat shredded cheeses and a single piece of crumbled bacon these ingredients add the perfect amount of creaminess and salt without going overboard. For the chicken, I utilized a rotisserie chicken and removed the skin/fat and shredded the breast meat for this dish. I then heated up the breast meat it the pan drippings from cooking the bacon. I’ve gotten in the habit of buying a rotisserie chicken on Sundays and storing the meat for use later in the week. Having the chicken done ahead of time makes this dish simple and quick to make. I also recommend cooking this dish in a pan that can be put in the oven and on the stove. This means a lot less dirty dishes to clean.
I promise that even though this dish is a lightened-up version of a favorite comfort food recipe – it tastes great! Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from MyRecipes: Bacon, Ranch and Chicken Mac and Cheese
8 oz uncooked elbow macaroni (or shells)
1 slice applewood-smoked bacon (I’ve also used reduced sodium bacon)
1 cup shredded chicken breasts (rotisserie chicken with skin/fat removed works great!)
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs flour
1 1/2 cup fat-free milk
1/2 cup condensed, reduced sodium & fat, cream of mushrrom soup
3/4 cup reduced fat, italian blend, shredded cheese
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dill
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup reduced fat, shredded colby/jack cheese
1) Cook pasta according to package directions and drain.
2) Cook bacon in large nonstick skillet (that can go in the oven) over medium heat until crispy. Remove from pan and reserve drippings. Chop bacon and set aside.
3) Add shredded or cubed chicken breasts to pan and saute until heated through or cooked (3-6 minutes). Remove chicken and set aside.
4) Add oil to pan and heat over medium-high. Add flour and cook two minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk. Combine milk and soup and add mixture to pan. Continue stirring until mixture comes to a boil; cook two minutes or until thick. Remove from head and let stand four minutes so sauce can cool. Add Italian cheese blend, onion powder, garlic powder, dill and salt. Stir until cheese melts. Add the past and chicken and stir to combine.
5) Preheat broiler.
6) Sprinkle with bacon and colby/jack cheese. Broil 3 minutes or until cheese melts
Serving size – 2 cups