We usually pack up our snowboards and gear in April, but this year, the stars aligned (MVP12 season pass + cheap condo) and we spent this past weekend in Mammoth with a couple of friends.
Henry and I wanted to shop for groceries before we left for Mammoth so we had to make a game time decision on what to make for dinner (breakfast is so much more simple!). Our friends suggested pasta and the first thing that popped into my head was spaghetti bolognese. I totally would have went with that if I hadn’t made it for lunch earlier in the week; my stomach just can’t handle that much acidity :( So, we went with mac n’ cheese instead. You can’t go wrong with mac n’ cheese, am I right??
(yields 4 servings)
8 oz uncooked Cavatappi (do NOT substitute elbow macaroni!!!!)
3 slices maple bacon
8 oz boneless, skinless chicken thighs – cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 can of cream of mushroom soup
1 cup shredded four-cheese Italian blend
1 cup shredded Parmesan
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup shredded Colby-Jack cheese
1. Cook pasta in large pot; drain.
2. While pasta cooks, cut bacon into small pieces and cook in large non-stick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan and place onto paper towel covered plate. Reserve about half of bacon drippings.
3. Increase heat to medium-high. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken to bacon drippings and cook until browned and done (about 5-6 minutes).
4. In medium size bowl, combine milk and cream of mushroom soup. Set aside.
5. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook for 2 minutes.
6. Gradually add milk/soup mixture and stir with whisk. Bring to a boil and cook until thick. Turn heat down to low and let sit for a few minutes.
7. Add Italian cheese blend and Parmesan cheese, onion powder, garlic powder and salt. Stir until cheese is melted.
8. Preheat boiler.
9. Coat baking dish with cooking spray. Pour in the pasta, chicken, bacon and cheese sauce. Mix together so that the sauce is well incorporated. Sprinkle evenly Colby-Jack.
10. Broil for 3 minutes or until the Colby-Jack cheese is melted.
We made two containers full and that was all that was left. Proof that you can never go wrong with mac n’ cheese… especially when bacon is involved.
I’ve also made this recipe with chicken breast and it tasted just as good. If you want a more high-end mac n’ cheese, substitute the Italian cheese blend with a combination of smoked Fontina and smoked Gouda – they’ll definitely take the mac n’ cheese to another level of deliciousness!!!!