Cheesy Crack Chicken Casserole

Ingredients

  • 3 cups  uncooked elbow macaroni 

Bacon:

  • 2 tablespoons  butter 
  • 12 slices  bacon  (diced into 1-2 inch pieces)

Chicken:

  • 1.5-2 lbs  uncooked chicken  (cubed)
  • 1/4 teaspoon  salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon  ground black pepper 
  • 1/2 tablespoon  paprika 

Veggies:

  • 1  green bell pepper  (diced)
  • 1 medium  onion  (diced)
  • 2 tablespoons  minced garlic 

Cheesy Mixture:

  • 3 tablespoons  butter 
  • 1/3 cup  all-purpose flour 
  • 3 cups  milk 
  • 1 package  Dry Ranch Mix  (optional)
  • 1 package  (8oz) cream cheese  (room temperature)
  • 3 cups  shredded Cheddar cheese 
  • 1 can  (10 3/4 oz) cream of chicken soup, condensed 

Toppings:

  •  Cooked bacon 
  • 1 cup  shredded cheddar cheese 
  • 1/4 cup  panko crispy bread crumbs  (optional)

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 375°F.
  2. Cook and drain macaroni as directed on package.

Cook Bacon:

  1. In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, melt two tablespoons of butter and cook the bacon, stirring frequently, until crispy. Remove from skillet and set aside. Drain grease, leaving only about 2 tablespoons in the skillet.

Cook Chicken:

  1. Add the cubed chicken to the skillet, season with salt, pepper and paprika. Cook stirring frequently, until golden and no longer pink in the center. Remove from skillet and set aside.

Cook Veggies:

  1. Add diced onion, diced bell pepper and minced garlic to the skillet and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and tender. Remove from skillet and set aside.

Cheesy Mixture:

  1. In same skillet, on medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Stir in flour with whisk until a paste forms.
  2. Gradually stir in milk, beating with the whisk.
  3. Stir in Ranch Mix if using.
  4. Stir in condensed cream of chicken soup and cream cheese until fully combined.
  5. Stir in 3 cups of cheddar cheese. Remove from heat.

Combine:

  1. In a large bowl combine: cooked pasta, chicken, veggies and cheese mixture. Stir well to combine and transfer to a 13×9-inch (3-quart) baking dish.
  2. Top with the cooked bacon, 1 cup shredded cheese and sprinkle some bread crumbs on top if desired.

Bake:

  1. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until mixture is bubbly and cheese is fully melted.

Serve and enjoy!

This article and recipe adapted from this site

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