Four creamy cheeses envelope tender macaroni, savory chicken and crisp bacon to create the ultimate comfort food – Chicken, Bacon and Blue Macaroni and Cheese!
About 4 years ago on a trip to San Diego we tried a newly opened restaurant called Stacked. This particular chain hadn’t made it’s way north to Orange County where we lived yet, and some friends had recommended we try it during our trip. We were there for two nights, and both nights we ate at Stacked! To top it off, I ordered the same dish both nights…and the two times after that when we returned a year and two years later.
Imagine my delight when last summer I noticed a new restaurant being built near our home and the sign said “STACKED – coming soon!” I couldn’t wait for the opening, and I new just what I was going to order. That dish that I have now ordered each of the 5 times I’ve been to that restaurant – Stacked Mac & Cheese! The thing I love about this restaurant (and no, this is not a sponsored post!) is that you can customize your food just the way you like it. Try something completely new and different or just be able to be your picky self with no judgement – and it’s all done on ipads at your table!
I figured if I loved a dish that much I needed to try and recreate it at home. There are three main cheeses in this ultra creamy sauce – cheddar, pepper jack, American. The sauce is poured over tender elbow macaroni and then the blue cheese, chicken and bacon is stirred in. The macaroni and cheese is all baked to perfection with a crispy Parmesan breadcrumb crust. I’m not sure they use a sauce at the restaurant, they might just stir in the cheeses, but I’m a big fan of the creamy cheese sauce and that’s what I like to make at home.
This meal is definitely an indulgence, so you might want to make it sparingly…say, once a week max.
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Boil macaroni according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
Combine melted butter with breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan cheese. Set aside.
Meanwhile, cut bacon into ½ inch pieces and cook in a medium size skillet over medium heat until crisp. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate.
While bacon is cooking, cut chicken into 1 inch pieces and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Wipe some of the bacon grease out of the skillet and cook chicken pieces in a single layer until no longer pink, turning once. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Cut chicken into smaller, bite-sized pieces if desired.
In a medium sized pot, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook until the mixture is fragrant and is beginning to lightly brown. Turn heat to medium-low, whisk in milk and cream and simmer until thickened; about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cheeses (except blue cheese) until smooth. Add cooked macaroni to the cheese sauce and stir until
completely coated. Stir in bacon (reserve a tablespoon or so for topping), half of the blue cheese and the chicken pieces.
Spray a baking dish (I used 11″x7″) with cooking spray. Pour macaroni and cheese mixture into the dish. Top with reserved bacon pieces, blue cheese, and breadcrumb mixture.
Bake in the 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes, or until topping is golden brown.
Feel free to serve this before baking as a creamy stovetop version.
Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.