27 August 2012

August Secret Recipe Club: Bacon Chicken Alfredo Pasta

Bacon, cheese, tomatoes, pasta, and chicken. Did I mention the cheese sauce?

Hello August. Or should I say goodbye? You've come and go so quickly. Is it really the fourth Monday? It's a good thing I remember it was time to make my Secret Recipe Club pick last night!

I was tickled when I got my assignment this month! I was assigned Fantastical Sharing ofRecipes and she had me last month! Too fun! I perused her sight and was immediately drawn to her Bacon Chicken Alfredo Pasta. It doesn't hurt that I always put bacon in my alfredo! I did enjoy that she had a different take and make it into a cheddar and parmesan sauce instead of just a parmesan sauce! I added a twist and replaced the parmesan with asiago. Feel free to use your favorite tomato as well. My cherry tomato plant is between batches at the moment, and yesterday morning I found this guy. Grr. It's going to be a bit longer before I have new tomatoes.

This recipe looks complicated from its long ingredient list, but don't be discouraged. It's easy to make and delicious!

Bacon Chicken Alfredo Pasta

2 chicken bone-in chicken breasts, baked at 400ºF for 45 minutes or until done (or leftover rotisserie chicken)
1 cup diced ham
1 tablespoon brown sugar
4 slices of your favorite bacon
1 tomato of your choice
1 crown of broccoli
8 ounces pasta of your choosing (elbow macaroni works well)
Shaved or grated parmesan cheese, for passing

1 cup milk
1 cup chicken broth (I make mine with water and chicken bouillon)
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
1 cup grated asiago cheese
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
½ teaspoon salt

From a cold skillet over medium heat, fry bacon until crispy (or your desired done-ness), place on paper towels to drain and set aside. Remove all but one teaspoon of bacon grease from the skillet and add diced ham. Sprinkle a tablespoon of brown sugar on top of the ham, and toss until the ham is golden and the brown sugar has caramelized. Remove ham from skillet and set aside. Add broccoli and saute quickly until brown on the edges. Chop or shred the chicken and chop the tomato. Set aside.

Over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add 2 tablespoons flour, salt, pepper, garlic, and onion powder and whisk together with the butter until bubbly. Continue whisking, and slowly add the milk, cream, and the chicken broth. Whisk constantly to prevent lumps. Continue whisking until the sauce has thickened. Turn heat to low, and add the grated cheddar and Parmesan cheese, one handful at a time, stirring constantly. Make sure the cheese is melted before your next addition. Once melted and mixed thorougly, turn your heat to the lowest temperature and cover. Prepare your pasta until al dente. Drain well.

Plate the pasta, and serve the sauce over the top. Crumble your bacon on top of the sauce, and also top with ham, broccoli, tomatoes and grated parmesan cheese.

You can choose to serve it all in one dish or as a pasta with customizable toppings. 

My word I have a lot of dirty dishes! Next time I'll combine it all into one dish (minus the tomatoes) and serve it all mixed up to prevent the use of so many bowls! In the meantime, it was easy and delicious! The sugared ham was a nice foil to the broccoli and cheese. The tomatoes brightened things up and kept the dish from being too heavy. Overall, it was great!

I have a lot of leftovers, and I'm still debating what to do with them. I've combined everything into one dish (except the tomatoes of course) and am contemplating eating them cold for lunch tomorrow (yes, I like mac and cheese cold). OR I could put it in a baking dish, crumble more bacon on top with a bit more cheese and bake it for forty-five minutes at 350. One pot mac and cheese! Many thanks to Fantastical Sharing of Recipes for sharing this outstanding dish!

Not-bad-and-very-filling: 1 vote*
Hey-that's-pretty-good: 1 vote

*Bender's vote changed the next day. Now it's more along the lines of Man-this-is-awesome-it's terrific-you-should-always-serve-it-all-mixed-up-after-the-sauce-has-thickened!

Yummy cheesy goodness!

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