1 lb. box of uncooked elbow macaroni
4 slices bacon
16 oz or about 3 cups of cooked chicken or turkey, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
OR you can use uncooked skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
freshly ground pepper
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons flour
3 cups fat free milk
2/3 cup condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella, provolone, parmesan mix or shredded Italian blend
2 teaspoons Ranch seasoning
1 cup shredded colby-jack cheese
1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.
2. Cook Bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving drippings in pan. Chop bacon; set aside. Increase heat to medium-high. Add chicken or turkey to drippings in pan; Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper; Just heat through if the chicken or turkey is already cooked. If chicken is uncooked, saute 6 minutes or until done.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
4. Combine milk and soup, stirring with a whisk; set aside near the stove top. You will need this mixture in the next step.
5. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat; sprinkle flour evenly into pan. Cook 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk. You are making a roux. The butter and flour will turn a golden brown, be careful not to let it burn! Gradually add the milk mixture to saucepan, stirring with a whisk. Bring to boil; cook 2 minutes or until thick. Remove from heat; let stand 4 minutes or until sauce cools to 155 degrees. Add Italian cheese blend and Ranch seasoning, stirring until cheese melts. Stir in pasta and chicken.
6. Spoon mixture into a 9x13 baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle evenly with reserved bacon and colby-jack cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes until heated through and cheese is melted.
Makes 8 servings