Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta

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Ingredients:

2 small chicken breasts, cooked and chopped

2 cups diced ham

2 packages bacon recipe pieces

8 ounces swiss cheese, freshly shredded

1 1/2 cups bread crumbs

About 12 oz Penne pasta, boiled (I usually boil a 16 oz pkg and reserve the rest)

1 8 ounce package cream cheese

16 ounces heavy whipping cream

2 Tablespoons dried parsley

1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder

1 1/2 teaspons garlic powder

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

I usually boil my chicken in a pan just covered in water about 20 minutes until cooked through, then chop it up. While cooking chicken boil the pasta with a little oil until done then drain, set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. To make the sauce; melt cream cheese on medium low in pot. Add cream, about an ounce at a time, whisking into cream cheese. Once they are combined smoothly, add garlic and onion powders, salt and pepper. Whisk. Then add in 4 ounces of your freshly shredded Swiss. Don’t use the preshredded stuff, it doesn’t melt well. Let it simmer on medium low for about 15 minutes, whisking often. You want to be able to pull the whisk up and not have a long string of cheese hang off. It takes a little while to fully melt it.

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While you are simmering cheese sauce, assemble the pan. I use a 9X13 nonstick casserole. Layer the bottom with the pasta, then top with chopped chicken, diced ham, and bacon bits.

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Once cheese sauce is of the right consistency, pour evenly over pasta mixture. I usually gently tap the whole thing on the counter a few times after I add the sauce to push it through to the bottom. Top that with the rest of your shredded cheese, parsley, and breadcrumbs.

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Bake in oven for about 15-20 minutes to heat through thoroughly and melt cheese. Put oven on broil for about 1-2 minutes at the end to brown the top. Be careful…oven temps vary so keep an eye on it.

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I like to garnish with a little extra bacon and as usual, green onion. Today I didn’t have time to make fresh bread, so I made some boxed Red Lobster Cheddar Bay biscuits to go along…these ARE SO GOOD. I recommend these highly. About 20 minutes from box to table and delicious!

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