Don't Sleep On Healthy Options...Part Two!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Bacon, Ranch, and Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

Happy Hump Day Divas and Gents! As you may recall, a few months back I shared with you a recipe for macaroni and cheese that I found in my Cooking Light Magazine. The recipe shaved a whopping 500 calories per serving from the traditional mac and cheese recipe by substituting butter, eggs, and full-fat milk with butternut squash, skim milk, and non-fat Greek yogurt. While I was initially skeptical as to how the mac and cheese would turn out, I was pleasantly surprised by the results…it was delicious! (See Previous Post Here!)

I received a lot of positive feedback after posting this recipe…even from those who were expecting another martini recipe! As such, I thought it prudent to share yet another mac and cheese recipe that also sheds hundreds of calories from the traditional recipe. This time, Cooking Light suggests bacon, garlic powder, onion powder, and chicken to create the decadent Bacon, Ranch, and Chicken Macaroni and Cheese. I tried this recipe a couple of weeks ago, and it was AMAZING! Even more amazing are the nutritional stats (Because Professional Divas love stats!):

Classic Recipe
908 Calories Per Serving
963 Milligrams of Sodium
36 Grams of Saturated Fat

Cooking Light’s Recipe
497 Calories Per Serving
545 Milligrams of Sodium
7.4 Grams of Saturated Fat

WINNING! Now we can have our mac and cheese and eat it too! Check out the recipe for the Bacon, Ranch, and Chicken Macaroni and Cheese.


8 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni
1 slice applewood-smoked bacon
8 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups fat-free milk
1/3 cup condensed 45% reduced-sodium 98% fat-free cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
¾ cup (3 ounces) shredded six-cheese Italian blend (such as Sargento)
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon chopped fresh dill
1/8 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray
½ cup (2 ounces) shredded colby-Jack cheese


1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.

2. Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving drippings in pan. Finely chop bacon; set aside. Increase heat to medium-high. Add chicken to drippings in pan; sauté 6 minutes or until done.

3. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat; sprinkle flour evenly into pan. Cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk. Combine milk and soup, stirring with a whisk; gradually add milk mixture to saucepan, stirring with a whisk. Bring to a boil; cook 2 minutes or until thick. Remove from heat; let stand 4 minutes or until sauce cools to 155°. Add Italian cheese blend, onion powder, garlic powder, dill, and salt, stirring until cheese melts. Stir in pasta and chicken.

4. Preheat broiler.

5. Spoon mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle evenly with reserved bacon and colby-Jack cheese. Broil 3 minutes or until cheese melts.

Voila! To see this recipe at Cooking Light Online, CLICK HERE!

For other delicious recipes courtesy of Cooking Light, check them out at

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