This Cajun Bacon Stovetop Mac & Cheese is the best comfort food in the world. Make it for loved ones, or eat all of it yourself. I won’t tell.
Last week, I did something that made both both an awesome and a terrible sister-in-law. You see, the husband’s little brother Joey and his beautiful wife, Meagan, just had their first baby (little Elsie!), so I brought some food over to their house. <– That’s the “awesome” part.
The terrible part is that five months ago, the husband’s little sister Jenna and her beautiful husband, Logan (sorry, couldn’t resist), had their first baby (little Piper!) and I totally didn’t bring them anything. <– Yep, pretty terrible, right?
I’m actually an Aunt of FIVE now, and this is the first time I’ve taken food over to the new parents.
The thing is, I mean to take food over, but it just never works out that way. I say it’s because everyone has terrible timing with the whole giving birth thing. You all need to start checking with me before you have those babies.
Right, so now I have LilyAnn (4 1/2), Lilliana (3), Piper (5 months), Lincoln (the only boy, 5 months), and Elsie (2 weeks!).
The husband and I like to joke that we are starting an army of nieces and nephews. I also have four more nieces on my dad’s side of the family, but they are all close to my age, so I consider them more like cousins.
Those 5 little kids come from 4 different couples, which leaves my sister Bailey and her Fiancee Brandi, my little sister Emily who is only 21 and needs to wait ten more years, and then the husband and me.
I foresee some crazy family holidays in the future!
How did I get on this topic? Oh, yeah, the whole bringing-food-to-new-parents-thing.
I brought a bunch of this Cajun Bacon Stovetop Mac & Cheese over to Meagan & Joey, and then proceeded to monopolize the holding of little baby Elsie for over an hour while I
complained about updated them on the remodel progress.
I just can’t wait until the new house is totally finished so things can settle down and I can actually get some quality babysitting time in!
Until then, I’ll have to settle on cuddling with this mac & cheese instead.
I love this recipe because it’s made entirely on the stovetop (and in ONE pan, no less!). It’s quite simple to make, and doesn’t require fancy techniques. It does, however, require a boatload of cheeeeeeese. As in, a pound and a half.
Yep, you heard me. A POUND AND A HALF OF CHEEZ.
I blame my recent trip to New Orleans. I’ve developed something of an addiction to all things comfort food.
I won’t think less of you if you develop an addiction to this stovetop mac & cheese. I promise.
Here’s the Recipe!
- 1 pound dried macaroni noodles
- 1/2 pound bacon, chopped
- 1 jalapeno, de-seeded and chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 orange or yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup half & half
- 8 ounces Gouda cheese, shredded
- 8 ounces extra sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
- 8 ounces Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
- Salt & Pepper
- Green onions, cayenne pepper, and bread crumbs for garnish (optional)
- Bring 8 cups of water to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Add the noodles and cook until al dente (do not overcook!).
- Drain the noodles and set aside. Return the pot to the stove and set the heat to medium. Add the chopped bacon and cook until the fat has rendered, about 6-8 minutes. Remove the cooked bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve the bacon grease in the pot.
- Add the jalapeno and bell peppers to the pan. Saute for 5 minutes, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. After five minutes, remove the jalapeno and bell peppers from the pan and set aside with the cooked noodles. Carefully wipe any excess fat from the pan.
- Add the half cup of butter to the pan and allow it to melt. Sprinkle the flour into the pan and whisk into the butter. Cook the roux mixture* for 3 minutes, whisking constantly.
- Slowly pour the chicken broth into the pan and continue to stir. Add the thyme, garlic powder, and smoked paprika to the pot, and allow the sauce to come to a boil over medium heat. Once it has come to a boil, pour the milk and half & half into the sauce and stir well.
- Once the sauce mixture just barely starts to boil, turn off the heat and stir in the shredded cheese by the handful. Return the cooked pasta and sauteed peppers to the pot. Taste, and add salt and pepper as needed. Garnish with green onions, cayenne pepper, and bread crumbs if desired.
*The roux mixture (butter and flour) should be about the consistency of melted peanut butter. If it is too thick, add a little more butter. If it is too thin, add a little more flour. Cook for 3 minutes after adding any additional flour to the pot.
Nutrition InformationYield 10 Serving Size 1
Amount Per ServingCalories 640 Total Fat 44g Saturated Fat 23g Trans Fat 1g Unsaturated Fat 17g Cholesterol 123mg Sodium 921mg Carbohydrates 31g Fiber 2g Sugar 6g Protein 31g
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