Bacon and Kale Mac-n-Cheese

Many of you asked for the recipe, so here it is! Bacon and Kale Mac-n-cheese. I have a basic mac-n-cheese recipe that I change up, probably every time I make it 🙂 Not too long ago I shared my Spinach and Artichoke Mac-n-Cheese recipe with you all. This one is not very different. For every mac-n-cheese, I make a roux (gluten-free flour and butter), add some spices, acid (lemon or vinegar to cut down the richness a little), then the shredded cheese and whatever extras you want to include, if any.

Bacon and Kale Mac-n-Cheese

Ingredients

1-12 to 16 ounce package of your favorite GF pasta (I used Wegman’s GF Fusilli)

1 cup of kale, washed, pulled of stem and chopped finely

½ pound of bacon, chopped

2/3 cup of butter

1/2 cup of Cup4Cup gluten free flour

1 Tablespoon brown spicy mustard

1 teaspoon of salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

About 2 cups of 2% milk (you can use whole milk)

1 teaspoon of white balsamic vinegar or juice of ½ a lemon

About 10 ounces of cheese (I used about 6 ounces of Cabot extra sharp cheddar and 4 ounces of an Aged Gouda)

Directions

Prepare pasta according to directions on the box. Place a cast iron skillet on the stove on medium heat. Add bacon to the cold pan and let it heat while the pan heats. Cook bacon for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add kale. Cook for another 10 to 15 minutes until the bacon has browned and started to crisp. Save bacon and kale mixture on a plate until ready to mix with pasta and cheese sauce. In the same cast iron skillet, melt butter and whisk in the flour, mustard, salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes and then add the milk. Whisk together until all the lumps are out.  Stir in vinegar or lemon juice then add the cheese. Mix to melt the cheese and take off heat. Add drained pasta, bacon and kale. Mix through and serve!

I am, honestly, not a big fan of kale. Others in my family like it, so I’ll appease them by making it…covered in cheese 🙂

Mac-n-cheese is a great basic recipe to master and then you can play with it, using different vegetables, meats and spices to create new meals.When I don’t have time or the ability to be at the stove cooking for 20 minutes, I make a quick version of mac-n-cheese using mascarpone. Check it out here! It is a great easy meal.

What is your favorite mac-n-cheese topping or mix-in?

Spinach and Artichoke Mac-n-Cheese

The calendar may say it is spring, but walking outside into 16 degree temperatures this morning, it definitely did not feel like spring! While the weather is still chilly, warm up inside with a new spin on mac-n-cheese. This recipe combines my favorite spinach and artichoke dip with gluten-free pasta. The first time I ever made it I simply used the leftover dip from a party and mixed it with the cooked pasta. Great way to use up leftovers, however making it from scratch as a pasta dish is even better!

Spinach and Artichoke Mac-n-Cheese

Ingredients

1-12 to 16 ounce package of your favorite GF pasta

1/3 cup of butter

¼ cup of Cup4Cup gluten free flour

2 cups of 2% milk (you can use whole milk)

3 ounces of cream cheese

1 Tablespoon brown spicy mustard

1 teaspoon of salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

Juice of ½ a lemon

1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce

4 to 6 ounces of frozen spinach, thawed and drained

1-10 ounce jar of artichokes, drained and chopped

8 ounces of cheddar, shredded (the Alpine Cheddar from Cabot works really well)

Directions

Prepare pasta according to directions on the box. In a large shallow pan, melt butter and whisk in the flour. Cook for a few minutes and then add the milk. Whisk together until all the lumps are out.  Stir in cream cheese, lemon juice, mustard, salt, pepper, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce. Add spinach and artichokes. Combine and heat through, then add cheddar. Mix to melt the cheese and take off heat. Add drained pasta and serve.

Spring warmth and fresh recipes will come soon enough! For today, I will sit on the couch under a warm fleece blanket and watch movies with my daughter (home sick with strep) and dream of spring. What are you most looking forward to in the spring?