It’s fall! Well, our version of fall anyways!! That means an increase in rainy days, and nights! And while the temperatures don’t drop to a low that requires a multitude of layers, they drop just enough to warrant some good old fashioned and authentic comfort-food. Which, it just happens, is just what this Baked Bacon Mac N’ Cheese is!
Now, what really makes this dish SO delicious, are the not one, but two Stella® Cheeses that we use!
This is truly one of those dishes that blend traditional Italian flavors (Love you Meema!) with the American flavors my husband loves. (And there is just a hint of Mexican in there as well!! 😉
So when you get that nip in the air, or you just want a meal that makes you feel at home, just whip up this Baked Bacon Mac N’ Cheese… and here’s how!
Gather up all of your ingredients:
What You Will Need:
(1) 7.5 oz Package of Jalepeno Cream Cheese
(8) oz Block of Meltable American cheese
(6) Slices of Bacon
(1) Cup of Milk
(1) Cup Italian Breadcrumbs
(1) 16 oz Package of Rotini Pasta
(2) Tbsp. Garlic Powder
(1) Tbsp Paprika
(1) Tsp. Chili Powder
What You Will Need To Do:
For this recipe start by fully cooking your bacon slices and chopping them up into small pieces. Also, boil your pasta for about 2 minutes less than the recommended time. It should be just about done, but a little bit al dente (firm). (I like to put my bacon pieces on a sheet pan covered in aluminum foil and pop them in the 350° over for about 10 minutes to cook them!)
Now, if you have the time and the ambition, you can definitely start your cheese sauce with a roux… but since we love simplicity here! We are going to use blocked meltable American cheese and jalapeño cream cheese. I like to use both of these cheese because they melt so easily and the taste is very mild and easy to manipulate using a good strong flavored cheese and some seasonings. And the jalapeño gives it just the right amount of kick without taking over your taste buds!
So next, you will place your American cheese, cream cheese and milk in a medium sauce pan over low heat on the stove. It may be tempting to turn the heat up to melt the cheese faster, but this almost always leads to a burnt mess on the bottom of the pan. So just practice the patience I have been trying so hard to master lol and slowly stir on low heat until everything has melted together. You can do this while your pasta and bacon are cooking.
Up next, grate down your wedge of Stella® Black Pepper Romano Cheese. The beauty of this cheese, is the taste is amazing and you can adjust how much you want to add based on your personal preference. Personally, I LOVE this cheese, so for this recipe I used the entire wedge. Once you decide how much you want to use (use it all!!) add it to your melted cheese mixture along with the paprika, chili powder and garlic powder.
Once the pasta and bacon are cooked and the cheese sauce is melted down, mix them all together in a large bowl. Be sure to coat all of the pasta evenly.
For the next portion you can do one of two things… spoon your Mac N’ Cheese mixture into small individual casserole dishes or ramekins. OR you can put all of it into a large casserole dish.
I chose to use the individual dishes because…. well they are adorable and great to serve at a dinner party!!
Ok, the next step is SUPER important. Take a quick break to kiss your baby!!
After that, spoon your Italian breadcrumb mixture over the top of your Mac n’ Cheese bowls. Then grate some of the Stella® Meditteranean Parmesan over the top of that and pop them into the 350° oven for about 5 minutes.
Lastly, turn the broiler on low and leave that on, watching closely, until the tops are a nice golden color.
Pull out of the oven and serve immediately for ooey, gooey down-home goodness!
And right now you can win up to $3,000 in the Stella® Cheeses contest! Just share a classic family recipe for your chance to win! Head here for more contest info and don’t forget to check them out on Pinterest.
I hope you enjoyed this recipe and I would love to hear about your favorite comfort food dishes, as well as any questions you may have, in the comments below!