Chicken bacon ranch mac and cheese is everything you could possibly love about dinner, all wrapped up into one quick, easy, and tasty casserole.
I’m super excited about today’s chicken bacon ranch mac and cheese recipe for some very special reasons. First and foremost, it involves bacon and cheese. If you haven’t heard, those are two of my very favorite foods in the food world. Plus, I lightened it up so that it’s lower in carbs and fat, so enjoying it can come with a little less guilt. Awesome, right?
Disclosure: I’m part of the Dreamfields Pasta “Taste & Tell Team”. Dreamfields sent me some free product coupons so that I could try their products. I wasn’t paid or required to post a recipe for them, they just asked that I mention them in exchange for the free product.
I adore carb-loaded recipes like pasta, potatoes, and rice. Especially macaroni and cheese. Oh. em. gee.
There is one small problem, though. I promised myself that I’d eat less carbs this year. WHY do I torture myself like this?!
Oh yeah… it’s because I absolutely refuse to buy a larger pair of stretchy pants.
So I put on my thinking cap and then remembered that I’m part of the Dreamfields Pasta “Taste & Tell Team”. They sent me some coupons so that I could try their products. I wasn’t paid or anything, they just asked that I mention them in exchange for the free product.
Dreamfields pasta products are excellent sources of fiber, have the same great taste and texture of regular pasta products, but they only have 5 grams of digestible carbs per serving!
This is perfect for those of us who are are watching our weight, or for those who count carbs for health related reasons like diabetes. I grabbed one of the coupons they provided me with and off to the store I went.
They make 7 different varieties of pasta, so I was indecisive about what kind I wanted to put into my mac & cheese. I passed over the spaghetti, linguine, angel hair, and lasagna noodles and narrowed the selection down to elbow, rotini, and penne pasta. I decided to go with elbow for this batch.
Truth be told, this recipe isn’t too far off from Ina Garten’s Grown Up Mac and Cheese, but the added tang of ranch flavor boosted up the mac and cheese to a whole new, amazing taste level.
Please do your taste buds a favor and make yourself some of this comfort food. You can thank me later 🙂
I’d love to know what you think of this chicken bacon ranch mac and cheese recipe.
Feel free to leave me a comment below. I love hearing from you!
Chicken Bacon Ranch Mac and Cheese
- 16 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni
- 1/2 lb sliced bacon (any variety)
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced into bite sized pieces
- 3 Tablespoons butter
- 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 24 ounces (3 liquid cups) milk (I used 1%)
- 2.5 cups shredded cheese (I used 1 cup Grueyere, 1 cup Colby Jack, and 1/2 cup sharp cheddar)
- 2 tablespoons powdered ranch dressing mix
- Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
- Cooking spray
- Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain, but don't rinse; Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
- Use kitchen shears or a chef's knife to cut bacon into bite sized pieces. Cook in a large 3-quart saucepan over medium heat until crisp, then drain on paper towel and set aside. Reserving drippings in pan.
- Add chicken to drippings in pan, sprinkle with pepper and salt and sauté for 10 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.
- Melt butter into the same pan over medium heat and add flour. Stir to combine and cook 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Gradually whisk in milk, then stir in ranch powder.
- Bring to a slow boil; cook 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in cheeses. Once cheese has all melted, stir in pasta, chicken, and most of bacon. (Reserve some bacon to garnish the top of the dish)
- Spoon mixture into a greased 9" x 13" baking dish. (A lasagna pan works well.) Sprinkle evenly with reserved bacon and bake for 20-25 minutes or until heated through.
If you love mac and cheese recipes (and really, who doesn’t?), be sure to check out my Pinterest boards for more dinner recipe inspiration!