Kats’ Kitchen

Apple-Bacon-Cheddar Mac ‘n’ Cheese March 22, 2013

Filed under: Main Dishes — stacielk @ 7:00 am

Apple-Bacon-Mac-and-Cheese

How do you like the title of this recipe?  Apples, bacon and cheddar all in a nice baked mac ‘n’ cheese.  This stuff is good, and the apples just add a bit of healthiness to the whole dish.  Isn’t there a saying….”an apple a day keeps the doc away”.  If you aren’t into eating a whole apple, why not throw a chopped one into some comforting mac ‘n’ cheese.  This dish serves about 4 but I guess if we are to eat the whole apple, I guess it would only feed 2.  You decide, enjoy!

Apple-Bacon-Cheddar Mac ‘n’ Cheese

6 slices bacon, cut into ¼ in pieces

2 apples, cut into ½ in pieces (preferably granny smith)

2 leeks, thinly sliced crosswise, rinsed well and drained (I used ½ onion)

¾ lb elbow macaroni

4 T butter

¼ cup flour

3 cups milk, at room temperature

8 oz sharp white cheddar, shredded (about 2 cups)

Salt and pepper

1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

Preheat the oven to 350.  In large skillet, cook bacon until crisp.  Transfer to a paper-lined plate.  Pour off all but 1 T fat and add apples and cook till browned and soft.  Turn off heat and set aside.

Place leeks/onion in colander in the sink.  Cook pasta until al dente in pot of boiling water and drain in that colander with the leeks/onion, to soften.

In the same saucepan used to cook pasta, melt butter.  Add the flour, whisking constantly for 1 minute.  Whisk in milk until smooth and thick, about 10 min.  Remove from heat and add 1 ½ cups cheese and generous sprinkle of pepper and whisk until smooth.

Add the pasta/leek mixture to the cheese sauce pan along with the apples and parsley.  Reserve ¼ cup of the bacon and toss the remaining with the pasta.  Season with salt and pepper.

Divide mixture in 4 16-oz baking dishes sprayed with cooking spray (or one larger dish if you prefer) and top with remaining ½ cup cheese.  *Bake for 30 minutes.  Sprinkle reserved bacon and serve hot.

*Want a crunchy topping:  Sprinkle with ½ cup dried breadcrumbs and distribute 2 T thinly sliced butter on top and bake!

Recipe from Rachael Ray Magazine March 2013

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