Apple Bacon Mac N’ Cheese

Who doesn’t love some good old fashioned mac n’ cheese? Children all over American squeal at the sight of it and adults everywhere willingly break any diet they may be on to indulge in all its glory. Now I’m not talking about the boxed ten minute stuff. I’m talking about creamy, oven baked, crispy topping, homemade goodness. It is known as one of the top comfort foods in America and has started regularly taking on gourmet twists. Chefs love playing around with the basic flavors the dish has to offer. Unfortunately these twists usually include expensive gourmet cheeses. I’m sorry but I am not dropping $20 on chunks of Fontina and Gruyere cheese. What’s so wrong with basic cheddar? I happen to love sharp cheddar cheese, and we all know that macaroni and cheese was meant to be that lovely yellow orange color that only cheddar can provide.

When I make this American classic I play around with the additives, not the cheese. I can have just as much culinary creativity without breaking my weekly food budget on expensive ingredients. Apples, maple bacon, and thyme were my fun choices for spicing up this particular batch of macaroni and cheese. Don’t be frightened away by the combination of apples and cheese. The two are regularly paired in everyday life so why not bring them together in a whole new way? The hint of sweetness added to the cheese sauce by the Litehouse Fuji Apple Vinaigrette gives the dish an unexpected flavor that simply rocks my world. The bacon is for… well… just because! Why not add bacon? It’s the crispy salty crunch that works perfectly with the sweetness provided by the apple vinaigrette.

Apple Bacon Mac N' Cheese Ingredients Apple Bacon Mac N' Cheese Ingredients

 

Now I’m a busy mom and know many of you are as well. Making homemade mac n’ cheese isn’t always a welcome meal choice when pressed for time during these busy school nights. A simple cheat for making a perfectly creamy and super quick cheese sauce is the trick to getting it done. Cornstarch, cheese, and evaporated milk, that’s all you need! Your sauce will be completed before your pasta is done boiling and you can serve up an amazing baked casserole in under 30 minutes! Get ready to throw your family for a loop (in all the right ways) with this quick and delicious Apple Bacon Mac N’ Cheese. They’ll never want that boxed stuff again!

Ready to Bake Ready to Bake

 

Apple Bacon Mac N’ Cheese

Serves 8-10 | Finish in 25 minutes
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Who doesn’t love some good old fashioned mac n’ cheese? Children all over American squeal at the sight of it and adults everywhere willingly break any diet they may be on to indulge in all its glory. The hint of sweetness added to the cheese sauce by the Litehouse Fuji Apple Vinaigrette gives the dish an unexpected flavor that simply rocks my world. The bacon is for… well… just because! Why not add bacon?

Ingredients

12 oz. whole wheat mini shells pasta
9 slices bacon
8 oz. grated sharp cheddar cheese
2 Tbsp. corn starch
1 can evaporated milk
½ cup Litehouse® Fuji Apple Vinaigrette
1 peeled and chopped Granny Smith apple
1 tsp. Litehouse® Instantly Fresh Thyme
½ tsp. Salt
¼ tsp. pepper
½ cup Panko breadcrumbs

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large pot of salted boiling water cook the pasta until al dente and drain. Meanwhile cook the bacon until crispy and crumble 8 of the slices. Eat the 9th slice. You deserve it. Toss the shredded cheese and the cornstarch in a sauce pot. Add the evaporated milk and cook over medium heat until the cheese melts completely. Add the all of the remaining ingredients excluding the bread crumbs. Toss in the cooked pasta. Pour the pasta mixture into a 9X13 casserole dish. Sprinkle the panko over the top and spray with olive oil cooking spray. Bake in preheated oven 10-15 minutes or until panko topping is toasted.


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