Chicken Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon

Ultimate Comfort Food: Chicken Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon


In the realm of comfort food, few dishes can rival the sheer satisfaction and indulgence of macaroni and cheese. But why stop at the classic version when you can elevate it to an even more delightful and wholesome experience? Enter Chicken Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon, a dish that combines the creamy richness of mac and cheese with the savory goodness of chicken and bacon, all while sneaking in a touch of green from broccoli. It’s a symphony of flavors and textures that will have your taste buds singing with joy.

This recipe isn’t just about indulgence; it’s about creating a balanced meal that satisfies both your craving for comfort and your need for nourishment. We’ll guide you through the process of making this delectable dish step by step, and by the end, you’ll have a new family favorite that’s perfect for any occasion.

Ingredients for Chicken Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon

To embark on this culinary journey, let’s start by assembling the essential ingredients:

For the Macaroni and Cheese:

2 cups elbow macaroni (or your favorite pasta shape)
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups milk (preferably whole milk)
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

For the Chicken and Broccoli:

2 cups cooked and diced chicken breast (rotisserie chicken works well)
2 cups fresh broccoli florets, blanched
6 slices of bacon, cooked until crispy and crumbled

Optional Toppings:

Chopped fresh parsley or chives for garnish

Step-by-Step Instructions

Now, let’s dive into the delightful process of making Chicken Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon:
1. Prepare the Pasta
a. Boil the Macaroni

Cook the elbow macaroni according to the package instructions until it’s al dente. Drain and set aside.

2. Make the Cheese Sauce
a. Create a Roux

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the unsalted butter. Once melted, add the all-purpose flour and whisk continuously for about 2-3 minutes until the mixture turns a light golden color. This is your roux.

b. Add Milk and Spices

Gradually whisk in the milk, making sure to eliminate any lumps. Continue to whisk until the mixture thickens, usually around 5-7 minutes. Season the sauce with salt, black pepper, and garlic powder.

c. Add Cheese

Reduce the heat to low and gradually stir in the shredded sharp cheddar cheese and mozzarella cheese. Continue to stir until the cheese is completely melted and the sauce is smooth and creamy. Remove the saucepan from the heat.

3. Combine Pasta, Chicken, Broccoli, and Bacon
a. Mix It All Together

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked macaroni, diced chicken, blanched broccoli florets, and crumbled bacon. Gently toss everything together.

4. Add the Cheese Sauce
a. Pour It Over

Pour the creamy cheese sauce over the pasta mixture and stir until everything is well coated and evenly distributed.

5. Bake to Perfection
a. Preheat the Oven

Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).

b. Transfer to Baking Dish

Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish and transfer the macaroni and cheese mixture into it.

c. Bake Away

Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden and bubbling.

6. Garnish and Serve
a. Finish with Fresh Herbs

Sprinkle chopped fresh parsley or chives over the top for a burst of color and flavor.

b. Dish It Out

Serve your Chicken Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon hot and enjoy the fusion of creamy, cheesy, and savory goodness.

Variations and Tips

Cheese Variations: Experiment with different cheese combinations to find your favorite. Gouda, Monterey Jack, or Swiss can add unique flavors.
Veggie Options: If broccoli isn’t your favorite, try other vegetables like spinach, peas, or roasted red peppers.
Crunchy Toppings: For added texture, consider topping your dish with breadcrumbs mixed with melted butter before baking.
Spice It Up: Add a pinch of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes for a hint of heat.
Gluten-Free Option: Use gluten-free pasta and a gluten-free flour blend to make this dish suitable for those with gluten sensitivities.

Conclusion: A Flavorful Harmony

Chicken Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon is the epitome of a well-balanced and delicious meal. It marries the creaminess of mac and cheese with the heartiness of chicken and the smoky allure of bacon. With a touch of green from broccoli, it becomes a dish that both adults and kids will adore. Whether served on a weeknight dinner table or at a special gathering, this recipe is sure to earn its place as a beloved classic in your culinary repertoire. So, don your apron and let’s get cooking!

Chicken Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon is a mouthwatering comfort dish, but it’s important to be aware of its nutritional content, especially if you’re mindful of your diet. Here’s an approximate breakdown of the nutritional information for a typical serving:

Nutritional Information for One Serving (approximately 1/6th of the recipe):

Calories: 600-650 calories
Total Fat: 35-40 grams
Saturated Fat: 15-18 grams
Trans Fat: 0 grams
Cholesterol: 120-130 milligrams
Sodium: 800-900 milligrams
Total Carbohydrates: 40-45 grams
Dietary Fiber: 3-4 grams
Sugars: 3-4 grams
Protein: 30-35 grams

Nutritional Considerations:

Calories: Chicken Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon is calorie-dense, primarily due to the cheese, bacon, and pasta. It’s a hearty dish suitable for occasional indulgence or for those with higher calorie needs.
Total Fat: This dish is relatively high in fat, mainly from the cheese and bacon. While it contributes to its richness and flavor, it’s essential to consume it in moderation if you’re watching your fat intake.
Saturated Fat: Saturated fat is notably high in this recipe, primarily due to the cheese and bacon. Keep this in mind, especially if you’re managing your saturated fat intake.
Cholesterol: The cholesterol content is relatively high due to the use of cheese and bacon. If you have dietary restrictions or health concerns related to cholesterol, consider enjoying this dish sparingly.
Sodium: This dish contains a moderate amount of sodium, primarily from the cheese and bacon. If you’re on a restricted sodium diet, you may want to adjust the recipe or portion size accordingly.
Total Carbohydrates and Sugars: The carbohydrates primarily come from the pasta. There is a minimal amount of sugar in the dish. If you’re watching your carbohydrate intake, consider smaller servings.
Protein: Chicken Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon is a decent source of protein, mainly from the chicken, cheese, and bacon.

Tips for Moderation:

Enjoy this dish as an occasional treat or on special occasions, given its calorie and fat content.
Balance your overall diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to complement the indulgence of this dish.
Consider using leaner cuts of bacon or turkey bacon if you want to reduce the fat content.
Portion control is key. Be mindful of the serving size to manage calorie and fat intake effectively.

Remember that nutritional values can vary based on the specific ingredients and portion sizes used, so these estimates are approximate guidelines. While Chicken Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon is a delightful and comforting meal, it’s best enjoyed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

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