Loaded And Baked Mac And Cheese

The mac and cheese recipe to top all mac and cheese recipes. The sauce is rich, creamy, cheesy, with just a little kick of spice. There's chicken and crispy bacon. And sweet tomato to give it an unexpected but welcome bite of sweetness -- Tyler Fetzer

Recipe courtesy of: Adventures of a Young Couple
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1 lb small noodles (elbows, shells, etc.) (can use gluten free)
6-8 strips bacon
½ pint cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
2-3 cloves garlic, minces
½ lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, seasoned well, cooked and diced
Parmesan cheese for topping
For the sauce:
3 T butter
3 T flour (can substitute cornstarch and gluten free noodles for gluten free version)
½ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp paprika
3 cups 1% milk (I am sure other percentages would work, I just always have this on hand)
1 c cream
3 c cheddar cheese, shredded
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees to cook bacon. Line a cookie sheet with a cooling rack and place bacon on rack. Cook at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes until desired crispiness. Pat excess grease off and chop. While the bacon is cooking, season chicken well and cook until just barely done (will continue to cook in oven). Let rest for a few minutes and dice. Start boiling water for pasta. Remove any brown bits from pan chicken was cooked in and saute garlic for about 30 seconds on medium heat and add in tomatoes. Cook for just about a minute or two. Remove from heat. Cook pasta according to package directions. In a medium saucepan, melt butter and whisk in flour or cornstarch when melted. Add in cayenne and paprika and mix in well. Let cook for about 30 seconds. Add in milk and cream and bring to a quick boil. Stir frequently so nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan. Add in cheese and remove from heat. Add chicken, bacon, and tomatoes to drained pasta in pot. Pour in the cheese sauce. Mix well. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan and top with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes.