Monday, February 21, 2011

Making An Effort Monday: Bacon Cheesy Mac

Okay, in the hopes of a new feature (A feature?  A FEATURE?  Could things GET more exciting around here?), I want to try to post something every Monday, whether it's a new recipe I've tried, a craft I've completed (Heh.  We'll see how that one goes.) or a organizing project.

Over the past few weeks, I have been doing some major organizing, just by doing one thing (a cupboard, a closet, etc.) every day, and I'm bummed that I didn't take before and after pictures, because I am so damn proud of myself.  Seriously, why didn't we take pictures of the big basement clean-up last Saturday?  Fools.  

I also have been bound and determined to try more new recipes, because I might hate to cook with every last ounce of my being, but I sure do love to eat, and I love my husband, and I know he deserves good food as well, so HERE WE GO.  I am making an effort.  At least once a week.

Without further ado, my first effort.

New recipe of the week:  

Cheesy Bacon Mac (named by Jeremy)
(Adapted from a Family Circle 4-Cheese Bacon Macaroni recipe)

Maybe one day my effort will also involve taking better photographs ...

1 box (1 pound) cavatappi
6 slices bacon, diced (I used turkey bacon)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter (I used margarine)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour (I used whole-grain)
2 cups 2% milk (I used fat free)
1/2 teaspoon onion flakes (I skipped these because I forgot to get them at the store)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 pound sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (I used low-fat)
1 cup (4 oz.) colby-Jack cheese, shredded (I used low-fat)
1 cup (4 oz.) mozzarella cheese, shredded (I used low-fat)
8 slices American cheese (I used fat free)

1. Heat oven to 350. Coat a 3-quart broiler-safe baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boiling.

2. Cook cavatappi 8 minutes in boiling water, then drain. Meanwhile, cook bacon until crispy and set aside. Pour off drippings and return 2 tablespoons into medium-sized saucepan (I used Smart Balance oil since I didn't have bacon dripping from the turkey bacon). Add butter.

3. Whisk in flour until smooth. In a thin stream, whisk in milk. Stir in onion flakes, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat and simmer 2 minutes. In a large bowl, toss together cheddar, colby-Jack, and mozzarella.

4. Remove milk mixture from heat; whisk in American cheese and 1 3/4 cups of the cheddar mixture. Toss bacon pieces with remaining shredded cheese.

5. In pasta pot, combine cooked pasta and cheese sauce. Pour half into prepared dish. Sprinkle with half of the remaining cheese mixture. Pour in rest of noodles and top with rest of cheese mixture.

6. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Increase oven temperature to broil and broil 3 minutes, until top is lightly browned (I forgot the last step and I like the way it came out).

My rating:  4 out of 5 stars (I'm a tough nut to crack)
Jeremy's rating:  5 out of 5 stars (He said, "My socks are blown off")

Additional thoughts:  I really liked this mac and cheese recipe, because as lame as it sounds, I have NEVER had homemade mac and cheese turn out right before this.  So sad.  Next time I might try adding a sharper cheese like an Asiago or some Parmesan to zazz it up.

Please, PLEASE, if you made an effort in the past week that is worth bragging about (or, even if the effort is NOT worth bragging about), brag about it in the comments!


  1. carbs + cheese + bacon = drooool

    i think i might have to try this recipe out- thanks!

  2. You know, I read your blog at work one day.. and didn't bookmark it.. I emailed steam me up for her help, because i looked online for TWO WEEKS to find your blog again! Needless to say, i have read everthing you've blogged about, and i think you.are.AMAZING. My job is super boring... so i have read miss yvonne, steam me up, bloggess and you! oh and of course Hyperbole and a half is the thing that started all of this!

  3. Ed -- word.

    YLIDHAG -- Do! Let me know if you would make any changes to the recipe.

    SweetAsPy -- Awwww! Blushing! Happy to have you read my schtuff.

  4. Ed -- word.

    YLIDHAG -- Do! Let me know if you would make any changes to the recipe.

    SweetAsPy -- Awwww! Blushing! Happy to have you read my schtuff.


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