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Spicy Chicken and Bacon Mac

Total Time

Prep/Total Time: 30 min.

Makes

6 servings

I've been working to perfect a creamy, spicy mac and cheese for years. After adding smoky bacon, chicken, jalapenos and spicy cheese, this is the ultimate! I use rotisserie chicken and precooked bacon when I'm pressed for time. —Sarah Gilbert, Aloha, Oregon
Spicy Chicken and Bacon Mac Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups uncooked cavatappi pasta or elbow macaroni
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup 2% milk
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 6 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup crushed kettle-cooked potato chips or panko bread crumbs

Directions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions for al dente; drain. Preheat broiler.
  2. In a 10-inch cast-iron or other ovenproof skillet, heat butter over medium heat. Stir in flour until blended; cook and stir until lightly browned, 1-2 minutes (do not burn). Gradually whisk in cream, milk, Cajun seasoning, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat; cook and stir until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in cheese until melted. Add pasta, chicken, bacon and jalapeno; cook and stir until heated through. Sprinkle chips over top.
  3. Broil 3-4 inches from heat until chips are browned, about 30 seconds.

Test Kitchen tips
  • If your family likes spicy foods, add more Cajun seasoning or jalapeno pepper.
  • Cavatappi is a tube-shaped pasta in the shape of a corkscrew.
  • Nutrition Facts

    1 cup: 673 calories, 50g fat (28g saturated fat), 175mg cholesterol, 705mg sodium, 26g carbohydrate (3g sugars, 1g fiber), 32g protein.

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