Baked Mac and Cheese

With summer coming up me and Eddie have cut cheese out of our daily diet but do give ourselves one cheat day per week and on "Cheat Day" we take it to the max. Tonight we are having Baked Mac and Cheese full of Buffalo Chicken, a ton of cheese, and topped with Bacon  . . . yup yup going all out!

Baked Mac and Cheese

-Frank's Buffalo Sauce
-4 Chicken Breasts
-4 Slices of Bacon (chopped)
-1 box of Mac and Cheese
-1/3 cup pasta water
-splash of milk
-12oz Shredded Cheese
-Bread Crumbs

1) Marinate Chicken Breasts in Franks Hot Sauce
         - I usually start this the night before or morning of
2) Preheat oven to 375 degrees and cook Chicken for 40 minutes
3) Turn oven down to 350 degrees
4) Cook the Bacon and let drain on a paper towel until ready to use
5) Boil Water and cook Macaroni for 7 minutes
6) While pasta is cooking cut chicken into bite size pieces
7) Before draining place 1/3 cup of the pasta water to the side then drain the rest of the water from the Macaroni
8) Place Macaroni back into pot add powdered cheese (found in box), 1/3 cup pasta water, splash of milk and mix
9) Add Chicken and a little over half of the cheese and stir until fully mixed
10) Place into a greased baking dish and spread out until smooth on top
11) Layer on top remaining cheese, bread crumbs, then bacon
12) Cook for 30 minutes at 350 degrees

-You can use whatever kind of cheese you like - I used 4oz White Cheddar Cheese, 4oz Colby Cheese, and 4oz Monterrey Jack Cheese
-If you want the top more brown and crunchy (after cooking for 30 minutes) turn on broiler and leave under for about 2-3 minutes
-In replace of the Chicken, Ham also works (skip the marinating step)
-If you don't like spicy skip the marinating step or try a different marinade/seasoning (BBQ - Garlic and Herb - etc)
-You don't need to top it with bacon (that's just an added plus) however the extra cheese and breadcrumbs are a must and key to getting a good crust


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