Ain’t No Spoon Big Enough – Bacon Blue Cheese & Mac

Save plenty of room on your plate for my new and already buzzed about recipe Bacon Blue Cheese & Mac. Just imagine America’s most comforting pasta dish elevated with bacon and blue cheese, do I need to say any more? Probably not, but of course I will to let you in on the interesting backstory and share some no-fail preparation tips.

I developed this recipe for the recent Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit, an annual convention where more than 20,000 produce industry retailers, wholesalers, importer/exporters and suppliers come together to discover emerging industry trends and profit from new opportunities. What a fun experience it was to develop the recipes and serve as the guest chef for Litehouse Foods at their award-winning booth on the expo floor (their booth was named “Best of Show” out of more than 1000 exhibitors)! Bacon Blue Cheese & Mac was just one of the many recipes I shared over the weekend and decidedly a hit based on the long line to sample a bite.

jennifer thefitfork with fork PMA fresh summit

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This homemade mac and cheese recipe is really easy to make, don’t be scared by the roux-making step. A roux is a classic thickening agent made with fat and flour that is used to make foods like soup, sauces and casseroles thicker, richer and creamier. Just remember to stir constantly over medium to medium-high heat to prevent scorching and creating a grainy and off-tasting blob of gross. After the roux has turned lightly golden brown, whisk in milk and simmer the sauce to smooth and creamy consistency before stirring in the cheese (including Litehouse Foods Blue Cheese Crumbles) a handful at a time.

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In addition to the blue cheese crumbles, this bold mac and cheese recipe gets another pop of bacon and blue cheese flavor with the addition of Bacon Blue Cheese dressing from Litehouse Foods. This ingredient is stirred in at the end of the sauce-making step for extra creaminess and a robust richness that you just can’t buy out of a box!

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Special enough for a Thanksgiving side dish, Christmas casserole or other holiday entertaining, Bacon Blue Cheese & Mac also makes date-night more delicious served alongside a juicy steak. This pasta recipe is also comforting for a weeknight meals and crowd-pleasing for potluck gatherings. I also see no shame in eating it right out of the oven and baking dish with a big spoon. Enjoy!

Ain’t No Spoon Big Enough – Bacon Blue Cheese & Mac Recipe

Serves 8 | Finish in 1 Hour
0

Trust us, this Mac and Cheese is the BOMB! You might even want to make a double batch....because it will get eaten!

Ingredients

1 pound radiator pasta mini ziti or elbow noodles
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 ½ cups milk
2/3 cup Litehouse Bacon Blue Cheese dressing
8 ounces white cheddar freshly grated
5 ounces container Litehouse Blue Cheese Center Cut, crumbled
¼ cup Instantly Fresh Chives
1 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 teaspoons salt
Topping:
1 tablespoon butter
melted
½ cup unseasoned panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoon Instantly Fresh Parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 strips center cut bacon cooked and crumbled

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 F degrees. Spray a baking dish with nonstick spray.
2. Bring water to a boil and prepare pasta according to directions, but shaving 1-2 minutes off of the cooking time to keep al dente.
3. Meanwhile, heat butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. When butter begins to sizzle, quickly add flour and whisk constantly until roux is golden, about 2 minutes.
4. Pour in milk and whisk constantly, stirring until the mixture slightly thickens.
5. Reduce heat to low and add in white cheddar and blue cheese a couple handfuls at a time until cheese melts and sauce is thickened.
6. Stir in Blue Cheese Dressing. Stir in Instantly Fresh chives and season with salt and pepper.
7. Add cooked pasta to baking dish. Pour cheese sauce over top, tossing to coat all the noodles.
8. Cover top in panko bread crumb mixture.
9. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until top is golden and crunchy and sauce is bubbling. Top with crumbled bacon


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