Thursday, August 1, 2013

BLT Macaroni and Cheese

I had a rather uncomfortable moment the other day at the bank. It was a longer line than usual but very quiet. You could feel everyone and their internal voice wondering why it was taking so long. As I was reading through a recipe magazine on casseroles my stomach growled very, very loudly. It was less of a growl and more of a pack of blue wales calling to one another. 
Everyone noticed and stared my way. Blushing and smiling politely I made a terrible joke about eating the paper from the magazine. Cricket, cricket. To be fair, there was a very life like picture of a party set up. A Macaroni and Cheese Bar with a million different toppings and combinations for people to make on their plates. My eyes wondered to the bacon, tomato, and spinach. It has all the great flavor of a BLT sandwich but it has a chance to swim in a sea of cheese sauce. This is a great dish for parties or just a week night dinner, regardless everyone will love it!


5 Tablespoons of butter
a scant 1/2 cup flour
salt and pepper
5 cups of hot milk
6 cups of shredded cheese (I used Colby Jack and Cheddar)
1 lb macaroni, cooked and drained
5 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped
3 cups baby spinach
3 Roma Tomatoes, chopped

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan until it is smooth. 

Add in the flour and whisk well. The amount of flour is a little weird, I know. But it depends on how moist it all ends up being in the pan. 

I sprinkle in a little at a time and stop once the flour is absorbed by the butter. When it is a solid paste, you know you have the perfect combination. Let this cook for about 3 minutes. Don't let it brown, but you want to make sure all the flour taste is cooked out. Add in salt and pepper to your liking.

Slowly add in the hot milk, stirring vigorously until it all smooths out. 

With a big cheesy plop, add in the cheese and stir until smooth and velvety.

I taste the sauce before I add in the pasta. Add in more salt and pepper as you feel. Then, stir in the pasta until it's well combined. 

Add in the bacon, spinach and tomato and transfer this into a greased 9X13 baking dish.

I like to add another thin layer of cheese to top off the casserole, but it's not totally necessary. 

Bake the mac and cheese for about 40 to 50 minutes or until the center is bubbly and the edges are crispy and brown. 

Don't be fooled by the veggies in this dish, it is very rich! This is perfect with a side salad or some delicious roasted veggies. It will give your stomach something to talk about for sure!

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