Amazing, comforting macaroni and cheese dish. This mac and cheese is loaded with chicken, smoked bacon, smoked cheese, baked with addition of bbq sauce. It’s truly a treat for your taste buds and such a comforting dinner.
MAC AND CHEESE
It’s almost that wonderful season, the season for comfort foods!
It’s my absolute favorite season for cooking because there is not just pumpkin, apples and all the delicious fall produce, it’s also the comfort food. Casseroles, soups and of course, macaroni and cheese. When it comes to pasta, bread and cheese, I have such a weakness.
Since so many kiddos are going back to school already, I’m sure it’s starting to feel like fall faster and faster. I got excited the other day, when I realized that there are only three months left until Halloween. I’m like a little kid on Halloween. I’m already badgering my little guy about what costume he would want to wear and it’s not even his birthday yet. Although, that’s coming up with a speed of light too.
I decided to kick of comfort food season early with this fabulous mac and cheese. It’s full of smokey flavors from bacon, cheese, and chipotle chili powder. This tasty dish is loaded with bacon and chicken too. So good, you won’t want to share!
TIPS FOR MAKING THIS RECIPE
Overall, this is a pretty each dish but you can always make it easier by using rotisserie chicken instead of cooking it separately. Use 2-2 1/2 cups of diced rotisserie chicken meat for this dish.
Choose smoked cheddar cheese for more smokey flavor but if you can’t find it, use sharp cheddar. Cheddar will melt nicely and has a strong, rich flavor. You can always add a dash of liquid smoke to the pasta mixture for more smokey flavor. (Liquid smoke is very potent so start with only about a 1/4 teaspoon and taste.)
To save some time, you can cook bacon ahead or time and keep it in the fridge, in an air-tight container.
It’s easy to make the whole dish ahead of time. Prepare the whole recipe as instructed up to the baking step, spread the macaroni mixture in a baking pan, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. When ready to bake, pull the baking pan out of the fridge, take off plastic wrap, and let it sit on the counter while the oven is preheating. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes.
MORE MAC AND CHEESE RECIPES TO TRY:
Baked Mac and Cheese (With Bacon Topping)
Beer Bacon Mac and Cheese from Slow Roasted Italian
Vintage Cheddar and Gruyere Mac and Cheese with Kielbasa from Vikalinka
Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese from Nutmeg Nanny
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Smokehouse Mac and Cheese
- 2 chicken breasts boneless skinless
- 10 slices raw bacon hickory smoked flavor, diced
- Fresh cracked black pepper
- 1/2 lb elbow macaroni
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
- 8 oz smoked cheddar cheese sharp cheddar if can't find smoked, grated
- 3/4 cup whole or 2% milk
- 1/4 tsp chipotle chili powder
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- BBQ sauce for drizzle about 1/4 cup
- In a medium cooking pan, over medium heat, cook chicken breasts seasoned with some salt and pepper and diced bacon.
- While chicken is cooking, cook pasta according to the package instructions. Drain and set aside in a mixing bowl.
- Dice cooked chicken and add it to the pasta. Add cooked bacon bits as well.
- Preheat oven to 350 and lightly grease a baking dish. (It can be a 2-quart baking dish or a 10-inch cast iron skillet.)
- In a small sauce pot, melt butter. Sprinkle flour and mix until combined. Immediately but slowly, pour in milk, while whisking carefully.
- Once the milk mixture is smooth and heated through, add grated cheese.
- Add chipotle chili powder, paprika, some salt and pepper. Whisk slowly until the cheese mixture is smooth and cheese is all melted. (I recommend using a silicone covered whisk so that your cooking pot does not get scratched.)
- Pour cheese mixture into the mixing bowl with pasta and meat. Mix very well and add a little more salt to taste.
- Transfer into an oven-safe dish or a cast iron skillet. Spread it evenly and bake for 10-13 minutes.
- Drizzle mac and cheese with bbq sauce and enjoy!
Mark Blethen says
Wow! This looks delicious! I can’t wait to try it. I already have a block of sharp cheddar, so I may kick the smokey flavor up a notch by adding in a splash or two of liquid smoke. 🙂
Awesome! I really hope you’ll like it! Thank you, Mark 🙂
I first made your recipe last October and have made it many times since. We smoke our own cheese and the only change that I do is, instead of bacon or chicken I use little ham chunks that I Sautee until there is no more water (juices). When we sat down to eat this the first time…we all looked at each other and we knew this was it!! The ONLY Mac and cheese I make now!! When they know I’m making eat, they hover like vultures! Lol
Thank you so much, Joleen! That’s great to hear 🙂
David L Hensley says
I don’t cook in a crockpot to often but will this cook in a crockpot? I have a family reunion coming up and it it is 1 1/2 hours away, I am trying to figure out it how to keep it hot.