Hearty Bacon and Macaroni Casserole

Hearty Bacon and Macaroni Casserole

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What could make the classic comfort food of baked macaroni coated in a creamy cheese sauce an even more delectable dish? How about mixing crispy bits of bacon into the casserole?

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Time needed

25 min preparation + 25-35 min cooking

Serving Size / Yield

6-8 servings

Ingredients

  • 6 slices Bacon
  • 8 oz. Macaroni Pasta
  • 3 Tbs. Butter
  • 3 Tbs. All-Purpose Flour
  • 3 C. Fat Free Half-and-Half
  • 1 Tbs. Fresh Rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tsp. Fresh Thyme, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. Ground Nutmeg
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • Sea Salt, to taste
  • Ground Black Pepper, to taste
  • 3 C. Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/2 C. Grated Parmesan

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Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease an 8x8" baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Place bacon slices on a microwaveable plate and warm for 30-45 seconds until crisp, but still flexible. Chop up and set aside. Bring a large stockpot of salted water to a boil. Add macaroni and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop cooking process. Set macaroni aside. In the same stockpot used for the pasta, melt the butter over medium heat. When the butter starts to bubble, add the flour and whisk continuously until thickened. Let mixture cook for 1 minute. Gradually add the half-and-half, whisking continuously until a smooth sauce forms. Stir in the rosemary, thyme, nutmeg, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Increase heat to medium-high and bring sauce mixture to a boil, whisking continuously until it has thickened to a creamy consistency. Remove from heat. Add the cheddar and parmesan cheese. Gently stir until fully melted. Fold in the cooked pasta. Transfer pasta and cheese mixture to prepared baking dish. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until casserole is cooked through and bubbly. Let dish sit for 10 minutes before serving.

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