BLT Mac ‘n’ Cheese

by Kelli H. on October 24, 2011

I grew up eating Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. I loved it when I was younger but now that I can cook for myself I would not consider eating that neon orange fake cheese that is completely processed. Homemade is so much more satisfying as well as better for you!

I made this mac and cheese on a Saturday night for me and David. I’m actually eating the left overs for lunch right now. It’s a very simple mac and cheese recipe that doesn’t involve making a roux. Almost as easy as Kraft!

BLT Mac ‘n’ Cheese
Adapted from Rachael Ray Everyday June/July 2011

4 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
16 oz pasta (you decide! I enjoyed shells)
2 1/4 cup milk
1/2 t turmeric 
8 oz cream cheese (I use neufchatel cheese because it’s 1/3 the fat)
8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
1 (8 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained (or 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered)
salt & pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small nonstick skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp, drain.
2. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook pasta until almost done; drain. In the same pot bring milk to a simmer; whisk in turmeric and stir in cream cheese until melted. Stir in cheddar cheese until melted. Add pasta back to pot as well ad bacon and tomatoes; season with S&P.
3. Transfer to a 9″x13″ baking dish and bake for 20 minutes. Serve with a salad.

The turmeric in this recipe acts as a natural food coloring. It makes the pasta that bright orange color you may be used to. This is a great recipe for kids to enjoy!

 We also had another beer tasting. This 22 oz 2008 smoked porter is from Alaskan Brewing Co. I was pleasantly surprised with this beer. I decided I wanted to start trying some darker beers like porters so this was the first one. We wanted to get Stone’s smoked porter but they were all out at Bottle Barn so we settled on this one. It was a decent price at $4.99 a bottle. It’s an Gold Medal Winner and states “We’ve applied the Alaskan tradition of alder-smoking to the malts of this rich, intensely flavored porter, a recognized leader among the world’s smoked beers. Enjoy it now or age it for several years.”.

October seems like the perfect month to start tasting porters. We tried it after dinner since drinking a porter with dinner seemed to filling. I liked letting it sit in my mouth for a bit before actually swallowing. It’s funny but I think I could only really drink a porter after dinner. Since tasting this porter I am now excited to keep tasting different ones.

Ryder may have liked the porter too…
Have you ever had a porter? 
Did you enjoy it or does dark beer scare you?

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Errign October 25, 2011 at 8:25 pm

I’m not a fan of beer in general, and especially not darker beers. I wish I liked beer because there is always all sorts of fun beer tastings around here!

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Made in Sonoma October 25, 2011 at 8:35 pm

@Errign
I used to be terribly afraid of dark beers but I’ve decided to be more open minded in trying ones I don’t think I’d like. It’s really helping me get over the scared-of-dark-beers-fear. haha.

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Anonymous October 26, 2011 at 8:18 pm

I like dark beers, and have never been scared of any beer (all of my encounters with them have been friendly). I’ll have to give this Alaskan a try! My favorite darks: Stone Imperial Russian Stout (seasonal) & Stone Smoked Porter.

=U’St

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Made in Sonoma October 26, 2011 at 8:31 pm

@Anonymous
I think you would really like the Alaskan. I have a review on Stone Smoked Porter going up tomorrow! 🙂 I’ll have to try Stone’s Imperial Russian Stout soon.

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David October 28, 2011 at 8:27 pm

YUM! The BLT Mac & Cheese was excellent and filling! But then again anything with Bacon and Cheese is gonna be awesome, naturally.

I’m a big fan of the Alaskan Smoked Porter. I would like to pick up another bottle of it and let it age for a year to see how that affects the flavor. The bottle we had was already a 2008, so it had already been aged around 3 years (depending on the bottling date).
I’m so stoked we’re trying all of these new beers together every weekend!

For anyone who is not a beer fan, but is generally interested in beer or wants to start acquiring the taste, I would highly recommend starting with some lighter craft brews and working your way up. Try Hefeweizens, Pilsners, Whit-biers, etc. The key thing is to find something you like, and stick with it for a bit. There are a lot of options, so don’t give up if you don’t like the first one you try. My gateway beer was hefeweizen. From there I was able to move on into the darker beers as time went on and my taste got used to it. Trust me, it’s an acquired taste, and it doesn’t happen overnight!

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Aunt Shellie November 11, 2011 at 4:41 am

I made this the other night and David is right what’s not to love with bacon and cheese! It was a hit and I had leftovers for lunch for two days!!! Thanks for simple delicious recipes!!

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