Southwestern Mac & Cheese

Tuesday, May 19, 2009
I adapted this from the BLT Mac & Cheese recipe out of the Pampered Chef 29 Minutes to Dinner cookbook. I wanted to make this because of the unique way it was made - boiling pasta and cheese all together in one pot. Tadd really liked this. There are lots of variations that you could do with this basic recipe - blacked chicken, shrimp, etc.

Southwestern Mac & Cheese

4 3/4 cups water
8 slices of tukey bacon
4 oz. sharp white cheddar cheese
1 oz. Parmesan cheese
4 oz. cream cheese
1 lb. uncooked cellentani or cavatappi pasta
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbs southwest seasoning
1/2 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
10 oz cooked southwestern chicken strips
1 can Rotel tomatoes

To start pasta mixture, bring water to a boil in 8-qt. stockpot.

Meanwhile, slice bacon crosswise into thin strips. Place into 10-in. skillet; cook over medium-high heat 8-10 minutes or until crisp. Remove bacon from skillet to paper towel-lined plate.

As bacon cooks, grate cheddar and Parmesan cheeses. Add pasta, cream cheese, grated cheeses, salt, and black pepper to boiling water in stockpot. Cover and simmer vigorously 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add chicken, seasoning and Rotel tomatoes. Cook, uncovered, 5-7 minutes or until pasta is cooked to desired tenderness and sauce is thickened, stirring occasionally.

Spoon pasta mixture into serving bowl and garnish with bacon. Serve immediately.

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