|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
Bacon gives this chicken casserole nice smoky flavor, and the combination of American and cheddar cheeses makes it extra creamy.
I used mini penne in this casserole (pictured); elbows or shells can be used as well. And feel free to omit the bacon or replace it with about 1 cup of diced ham.
- 8 ounces mini penne pasta or elbow macaroni
- 6 to 8 slices bacon
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 pound chicken breasts or chicken tenders (cut in 1-inch pieces)
- 4 green onions (sliced)
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1/2 cup chicken broth or more milk
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried leaf thyme
- 8 ounces cheddar cheese (shredded)
- 4 ounces American cheese (shreds or chopped)
- 1 cup frozen peas (thawed)
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
Cook the pasta in boiling salted water following package directions.
Grease a 2 1/2- to 3-quart baking dish. Heat oven to 350 F.
In a large skillet or saucepan, cook bacon until crispy. Remove bacon to paper towels; crumble.
Pour off grease in the skillet, leaving about 1 or 2 teaspoons. Add 2 tablespoons of butter to the skillet and cook the chicken over medium-low heat until cooked through. Add green onions and cook for 1 minute longer.
Add flour and stir until blended into the fat. Gradually stir in the milk, cooking and stirring until slightly thickened. Stir in salt, pepper, and thyme. Add the cheeses and thawed peas, along with crumbled bacon.
Spoon into the prepared baking dish.
Combine bread crumbs with 1 tablespoon melted butter; sprinkle over the casserole. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the topping is browned and casserole is bubbly. Serves 6.