Monday, March 15, 2010

Coleen's Bacon Mac n' Cheese

I found this recipe on Coleen's Recipes. She stated that it is one of their favorite side dishes, but I looked at this and saw a main course! With pasta, milk and cheese, veggies, and bacon this dish covers 4 of the 5 food groups. It's the full meal deal in one yummy dish!

To begin, you cook the pasta and the veggies together in broth.

I thought that I'd up the nutritional value here and I used my homemade whole wheat macaroni.

Once the pasta is tender, drain and set aside.

Next, I sautéed 1/4 cup of onion in 3 tablespoons of butter until tender and sweet.

Stir in 3 tablespoons of flour, pepper, dry mustard, and parsley (I used fresh because I had it on hand, but dried would work fine too).

Gradually add 2 1/4 cups of milk. Stir, stir, stir! No lumps allowed!

Cook and stir until the sauce thickens.

Then remove from the heat and stir in the cheese until melted.

Next, stir in the macaroni, veggies, and crispy bacon. Transfer to a 9 X 13 in. baking dish.

Coleen had a helpful suggestion for preparing the bread crumbs. "Place 2 cups of plain dry bread crumbs in a frying pan and add 2 tablespoons of butter. Toast over medium high heat (stirring) until bread crumbs have absorbed all of the butter and the crumbs are golden."

This worked really well.

Spread evenly over the macaroni and cheese before placing the casserole in the oven.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until bubbly and serve it up!

A note: I took a couple of missteps with this recipe. First, I'm not sure that this was the best place for my whole wheat macaroni. It seemed to really soak up the sauce. Second, I used 2 cups of really fine, store-bought bread crumbs, which also made for a drier dish. The texture of the casserole resembled a stuffing rather than the creamy mac n' cheese I was shooting for. Still, the flavor was right on. I tasted the sauce before I stirred in the other ingredients. YUM! time, I'll stick to Coleen's recommended penne or a similar pasta and I'll use either fresh bread crumbs or cut the amount used in half.

Coleen's Bacon Macaroni and Cheese (original recipe found HERE)adapted slightly by me

2 cups mini-penne pasta
4 cups chicken broth
¼ cup finely minced onions, sautéed
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables (corn,peas,carrots)
5 strips of bacon fried and crumbled
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon ground dry mustard
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2¼ cups milk
1 cup diced American cheese or Velveeta
bread crumbs & butter

Boil the pasta and vegetables (together) in the chicken broth until tender, then drain and stir a tablespoon of butter and set aside.

In a sauce pan, melt 3 tablespoons of butter. Sauté the finely minced onions until they are tender and sweet. Then stir in 3 tablespoons of flour, parsley, pepper & dry mustard. Stir and cook very slowly (let it just bubble) for about a minute, then add the milk (whisk like crazy when you first start to add the milk to avoid any lumps). Stir and cook this sauce until it thickens. Remove from heat and add the cheese. After it sits for a few minutes, stir and the cheese should be mostly melted. Stir in pasta, veggies, and bacon. Mix well.

Pour into a 9 x 13 baking dish and top with bread crumbs. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until bubbly.

To download or print this recipe click here!


Mary | Deep South Dish said...

You are right, this is a meal!!! It sure looks good. I have heard that homemade pasta is much more absorbent - not that I would know LOL...

Inspired by eRecipeCards said...

I was very interested in your final outcome. I have only tried whole wheat pasta once, and it was painfully dry.

At the least (and no small thing), the taste sounds right. I just think it is difficult to use.

maybe Julie's idea of some fatty hamburger, but that would defeat the purpose of the whole wheat

Katy ~ said...

Whole wheat pasta sounds like a good idea but it's one one that we particularly enjoy, alas. Mac and cheese with bacon...YUMMMMMM...I'd almost be tempted to add additional sauce just cuz, grins.

Anonymous said...

─ Wooh ─ Looks crumby. I made M n C once with bread crumbs as an ingredient and found it added little to the taste. Your version sure looks 'interesting' in the picture, dark and delicious! How I like my... coffee. ;}

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