Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Bacon Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese

My older son, Andrew, ate anything that we put in front of him when he was an infant – and even when he was a young toddler. But now he’s three, and the list of foods he will eat has gotten significantly smaller. He’s not a picky eater, exactly, but he’s definitely developing a strong sense of what he likes and what he doesn’t (and what he refuses to try). Three of the things he most definitely does like are macaroni and cheese, broccoli, and bacon (he is my kid, after all), so I made this macaroni and cheese just for him, combining those three things. I had success with the pizza mac and cheese, so I thought he’d like this one too. And I was right. Both of my boys (and Joe and I, too) devoured it. I mean, there’s really nothing not to love.

One of the things I usually do when I make stovetop macaroni and cheese is use cream cheese as the thickening agent rather than butter and flour. I use a brick of cream cheese (I usually use reduced fat) in addition to a couple of cups each of milk and cheese, and it always works out perfectly for me. I love a really creamy macaroni and cheese, and this is a great way of achieving that texture. Healthy? No. Delicious? A resounding YES!

Bacon Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese

1 pound short pasta
1/2 pound bacon, chopped
1 8-ounce brick cream cheese, cut into chunks
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded colby-jack blend cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1 head broccoli (or 1 bag frozen, steam-in-a-bag broccoli)
1 tablespoon butter

1. Cook pasta according to directions on package in boiling salted water.

2. Meanwhile, add bacon to a high-sided skillet and cook until crisp. Drain on paper towels.

3. Drain all but about 1 tablespoon of bacon grease from the skillet. To the same skillet, add cream cheese and milk and stir to combine. Cook until cream cheese is melted and mixture is thickened and bubbling. Stir in cheeses. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.

4. While the sauce is cooking, steam the broccoli until crisp-tender. Stir in butter.

5. Combine cooked pasta, broccoli, and half of the bacon. Pour cheese sauce over and stir to combine. Top individual servings with the reserved bacon.


Monica H said...

Oh man! Who doesn'tlove a little bacon with their mac and cheese?

Mrs N said...

I made this on Friday because I coincidentally had all the ingredients in my house. Well I used all cheddar because I had no colby jack. It was delicious!!!! Love it. And it's even good as leftovers.