I found this recipe several years ago, perusing magazines in a waiting room. It’s a Betty Crocker recipe, and it’s delicious. My family loves macaroni and cheese. They love it from a box, they love it from scratch, they even love it with cut up hotdogs in it. I figured, given their love of the classic side dish they’d happily eat as a meal any time, any day, that this could either be a beautiful thing or a risky gamble. This recipe had me at BLT. I love them. Mostly, I love them because I love,love, love tomatoes. So naturally, I dove in and made this meal the same night I had come across it’s recipe. Since then it’s become a staple and a regular meal appearing on our monthly rotations. The flavors blend spectacularly! Even the rest of the family, literally everyone else, who all detest tomatoes about as strongly as I love them, ate every bite.
BLT Mac N Cheese
- 1 loaf, 32 oz, prepared cheese product, cubed
- 1/4 cup butter
- 4 cups skim milk
- 1 lb elbow macaroni
- 2 cups sharp cheddar, shredded
- 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 bag, 9 oz, fresh spinach
- 1 lb bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
- 1 cup plain, or Italian style, panko bread crumbs*
- In a dutch oven, or other large pot, add butter, milk, and cubed cheese. Cook over medium heat, stirring with a wisk, until melted and evenly combined.
- Cook macaroni in boiling salted water 3 minutes less than indicated on the box in the directions. Drain.
- Pour the drained macaroni in with the cheese sauce. Mix well.
- Stir in the shredded cheese, spinach, and tomatoes.
- Transfer to a 15×10 inch (4 quart) baking dish. Cover with foil.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake 30 minutes.
- Uncover. Spread bacon and bread crumbs evenly over the top.
- Bake 5 minutes longer or until the top is lightly browned.
- Allow to cool slightly before serving.
*To ensure nice browned, crisped breadcrumbs you can toss the breadcrumbs in 1-2 tbsp of melted butter before adding to the casserole.