Okay, this recipe for Chicken Florentine Mac and Cheese with Bacon was an improvisation. I just went through the fridge and pantry and threw a little something together with the ingredients I found. So what did I find? Well, of course, I had some pasta in the pantry. I also had some shredded cheddar cheese in the fridge left over from the Super Bowl. And I had some frozen chicken breast florentine in the freezer. Hmmm, what could I do with all this? And I had a few strips of bacon left also! As Lt. Col. Hannibal Smith might have once said, I saw a plan coming together, and I liked it.
So if you couldn’t tell where this is heading, I decided to go ahead and post my first mac and cheese recipe. This Chicken Florentine Mac and Cheese with Bacon recipe came together pretty well and was delicious. Sometimes I find homemade mac and cheese lacks texture, especially if the pasta is too soft. You can get around this a few ways. First, use a pasta that will stand up to the cheese sauce. A pasta that will stand up? Fettucine, come on down! Second, use some mixins to change the texture up. That is the role of the chicken florentine and bacon. The chicken florentine gives you the meaty-spinachy goodness, the bacon gives you some delicious saltiness.
Now I am not going to lie to you. This dish is extremely rich and you shouldn’t necessarily eat it frequently. It makes a great side dish in a small portion. But it is also a perfectly delicious meal all to itself on occasion when you feel like going the extra mile with your mac and cheese.
Without further ado, here is the impromptu Chicken Florentine Mac and Cheese with Bacon recipe!
- 2 chicken breasts stuffed with cheese and spinach (Florentine-style)
- 4 slices bacon
- 1 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups shredded cheddar or colby-jack cheese
- 1 lb fettucine
- salt and pepper to taste
- fresh chopped parsley (for garnish)
This recipe is going to require some parallel cooking skills, as you will be undertaking multiple steps at the same time (an important cooking skill to learn and master).
First, bake the chicken florentine in your oven for about 30 minutes, the cheese should be bubbling when finished.
In the meantime, in a large skillet, begin cooking the bacon strips over medium heat.
When the bacon is crunchy on both sides, remove from the skillet and set aside on some paper towels, keeping the bacon grease in the pan. At the same time, put the milk and nutmeg in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir well.
In a large saucepan, begin boiling the fettucine in well salted water until al dente.
Over low heat, add the flour and butter to the grease in the skillet and mix until you've created a smooth roux. The grease will be hot, be sure to lower the heat before adding the flour and butter.
Slowly add the warm milk to the roux and stir well, creating a bechamel sauce.
Slowly add the shredded cheese to the bechamel, allowing the cheese to melt into the mixture. Continue simmering the cheese sauce over low heat until the fettucine is finished. Keep stirring as the cheese sauce thickens. Check the salt and pepper seasonings and fix to taste.
Now, chop the bacon and the chicken into small bite sized pieces and add to the cheese sauce. Mix well. Then add the al dente fettucine and mix until the fettucine is completely coated with the cheese sauce.
Plate out the mac and cheese while getting some of the meat into each portion, garnish with some fresh parsley, and enjoy!
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