Thursday, March 27, 2014

Spinach and Bacon Mac 'n Cheese

Tired of the regular boxed mac 'n cheese?  Looking to mix some healthiness into those cheesy noodles? Looking to mix some not so healthy, but extremely tasty bacon?  This recipe is an easy weeknight recipe to have on hand.

It'll please both the kids and the adults.  Kids will love the bow-tie noodles, cheese and bacon, and if you're lucky they might even eat the spinach mixed in.  Not a lover of veggies myself, this was an easy way to get some spinach into my system without it being the main focus of the dish.  And yeah the bacon isn't screaming healthy, but I figure it balances the spinach. Right?  Serve this dish for lunch or dinner.  The dish will certainly break up the monotony of your everyday mac 'n cheese.

Spinach and Bacon Mac 'n Cheese
Prep Time: 25 min
Start to Finish: 25 min
Servings: 6

3 cups uncooked bow-tie (farfalle) pasta (8oz)
1/2 lb sliced bacon, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp butter
1 small clove garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (8oz)
1 bag (6oz) fresh baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped

1. In 10-inch skillet, cook bacon over medium heat 5 to 8 minutes, stirring often, until crisp.  Remove to paper towels.  Drain, reserving 2 tbsp of drippings.
2. Meanwhile in 5-quart Dutch oven, cook and drain pasta as directed on package.  Return to Dutch oven; cover to keep warm.
3. In 3-quart saucepan, heat butter and reserved bacon drippings over medium heat until butter is melted.  Add garlic; cook 30 seconds or until fragrant.  Stir in flour, salt and pepper with whisk until smooth.  Stir in milk; heat to boiling.  Stir in cheese until melted and sauce is smooth.
4. Pour cheese sauce over pasta; stir until coated.  Stir in spinach.  Reserve 1/4 cup of the bacon; stir remaining bacon into pasta mixture.
5. Divide pasta mixture among 6 serving bowls; garnish with reserved bacon. 

Recipe from Pillsbury

Nutrition Breakdown: per serving (1 cup)
-Calories 470 -Total Fat 24g -Sodium 810mg -Dietary Fiber 2g

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