Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon

Raise your hand if you love bacon. And caramelized onions. And cheese. If you aren’t raising your hand by now, jumping up and down screaming “MEEEEEEE!!”, then I just don’t know if we can be friends. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, I forgive you (I was once a vegetarian, after all). If you’re not….well, you know the answer to that one. :)

Cooler weather this week (as in highs in the 30s and 20s) calls for comfort food. In the form of cheesy bacon goodness. Don’t worry gluten-free folks, this is an easy substitution. I used quinoa elbow noodles, and even the fiancé couldn’t tell the difference (I love when that happens!).

This dish has a multitude of steps, but I promise you it’s nothing you can’t handle. So much tastier than the store-bought versions (not to mention healthier, unless you are making one of these all-natural versions here). And it is one hundred and ten percent worth it. If that’s even possible….which, in this case, it is.

Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and lay the thick cut bacon strips (these babies are from the farmers market!) on a lined baking sheet. 5-6 pieces should do.

Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon

Peppery bacon goodness = mouth watering.

At this point, you will want to start caramelizing your onions as they take awhile. 2 TBSP of butter with your sliced onions on low.

Macaroni and Cheese with Caramelized Onions and Bacon

Melt in your mouth onions. The best kind of onions.

Once your bacon is done, take it out and let cool on pan. Transfer to paper towel lined plate. Cut into chunks. Try not to eat too many pieces. :)

Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon

When your onions get close to being done, it’s time to start the cheese sauce. Also a good time to put the water on to boil. Add 2 TBSP butter to medium saucepan.

Macaroni and Cheese with Caramelized Onions and Bacon

Once butter has melted, add in 2 TBSP flour to make a roux. Gluten-free will do (just won’t be as thick). Whisk until flour/butter paste forms and turns a golden brown color. Then slowly add in 2 cups of milk (I used whole milk from a local farmer) and salt and pepper.

Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon

Turn up to a simmer and let thicken (about 5 minutes), stirring occasionally.

Once your sauce has thickened, slooooowly add in 2 1/2 cups of shredded cheese, stirring as you go. Keep sauce on warm.

Cook noodles al dente, strain, and return to pot. Pour cheese sauce over. Top with bacon and fresh herbs (we used sage, but rosemary or Italian parsley would be nice).

Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon

 This was the second round of gluten-free noodles as I made a double batch of sauce!

And then enjoy this creamy, hearty, cheesy deliciousness. Bah – I just can’t take it anymore!

Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients:

16 oz. elbow noodles (gluten-free, whole-wheat, whatever suits your fancy!)

2 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar

2 cups milk

5-6 slices thick-cut bacon (regular will work – just make sure it does not contain nitrates!)

4 TBSP butter, divided

2 TBSP flour (can be gluten-free)

1 medium onion, sliced thinly

salt and pepper, to taste

fresh herbs (sage, rosemary, or Italian parsley)

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place bacon on lined baking sheet and bake until crisped through.

Meanwhile, add half of butter to small pan. Add in onion slices and caramelize on low heat.

Once bacon is done, let cool on pan. Transfer to paper towel lined plate and cut into chunks with knife.

As onions get close to done (they should be brown and extremely soft), place rest of butter in medium sized pot.

Once butter is melted, add 2 TBSP flour to make roux. Whisk until flour/butter mixture turns golden brown.

Slowly pour in milk. Bring mixture to simmer. Let simmer until slightly thickened (about 5 mins), stirring occasionally. Slowly add in cheese, stirring to combine. Keep on low.

Meanwhile, bring water to boil in separate pot and cook noodles according to directions.

Once noodles are cooked, strain and return to pot. Pour over cheese sauce. Top with onions, bacon, and herbs.

Enjoy!

Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 16 oz. elbow noodles (gluten-free, whole-wheat, whatever suits your fancy!)
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar
  • 2 cups milk
  • 5-6 slices thick-cut bacon (regular will work - just make sure it does not contain nitrates!)
  • 4 TBSP butter, divided
  • 2 TBSP flour (can be gluten-free)
  • 1 medium onion, sliced thinly
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • fresh herbs (sage, rosemary, Italian parsley)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place bacon on lined baking sheet and bake until crisped through.
  2. Meanwhile, add half of butter to small pan. Add in onion slices and caramelize on low heat.
  3. Once bacon is done, let cool on pan. Transfer to paper towel lined plate and cut into chunks with knife.
  4. As onions get close to done (they should be brown and extremely soft), place rest of butter in medium sized pot.
  5. Once butter is melted, add 2 TBSP flour to make roux. Whisk until flour/butter mixture turns golden brown.
  6. Slowly pour in milk. Bring mixture to simmer. Let simmer until slightly thickened (about 5 mins), stirring occasionally. Slowly add in cheese, stirring to combine. Keep on low.
  7. Meanwhile, bring water to boil in separate pot and cook noodles according to directions.
  8. Once noodles are cooked, strain and return to pot. Pour over cheese sauce. Top with onions, bacon, and herbs.
  9. Enjoy!

 

What are your favorite comfort foods? Leave me a comment below – I love hearing from you!

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