A mound of ranch-seasoned cheesy elbow macaroni is topped with ranch-seasoned chicken and crumbled bacon in this Chicken Ranch Macaroni and Cheese.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless, cut into cubes
1 box dry ranch seasoning (about 3 teaspoons)
Cheese and Macaroni
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup flour (all-purpose)
1 1/2 cups warmed whole milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon powdered garlic
2 tbsp ranch seasoning (dry)
1/2 cup freshly grated white cheddar cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated mozzarella cheese
elbow macaroni, 8 ounces (2 cups uncooked) cooked al dente and drained
4 cooked and crumbled bacon strips
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
chopped parsley (for garnish)
Chicken from a Ranch
Combine the chicken and ranch seasoning in a large mixing basin. Toss to coat evenly.
In a large pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken in batches once the oil is heated. Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side (or until golden brown and the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit). To keep warm, remove from the fire and tent with aluminum foil.
To make the macaroni and cheese, wipe out the skillet.
Cheese and Macaroni
Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat.
Whisk frequently for 1-2 minutes after adding the flour (or until the mixture turns light brown).
Remove the pan from the heat and slowly drizzle in the heated milk, stirring continually.
Return the pan to heat and stir for an additional 3-5 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened.
Combine the salt, garlic powder, and ranch seasoning in a mixing bowl. Remove from heat after stirring to mix.
Stir in the cheeses to melt them.
Over the top of the sauce, pour the cooked noodles. To blend, stir everything together.
Season with salt and pepper before adding the chicken, bacon, and parsley.
Notes on the Recipe
PRO TIP: I like to keep the chicken and bacon separate from the macaroni and cheese. (Dump everything on top!)
I tested this recipe numerous times by combining all ingredients and discovered that it wasn’t as tasty as the creamy macaroni drowns out that great ranch chicken. I recommend serving as indicated, with the option for the family to combine the ingredients in their dish if they want.