Pass the Cheese, Please.

Somehow the day slipped away from me yesterday. One minute I was learning how to re-evaluate my relationships on The Today Show while huffing and puffing on the ‘mill, and the next I was e-mailing my old bosses asking for letters of rec. Then I was cruising over to Target and Wal-Mart to peruse the travel-items aisle (am I the only one who thinks this aisle is totally addicting?), and then, I was able to catch up with a bunch of old friends at my high school’s basketball game against our cross-town rival (we won!).

Amid all the random chaos of the day, I toasted up a cinnamon raisin bagel and spread some hummus on it, then layered it with some thin slices of turkey breast, swiss cheese from Layne, crisp slices of romaine, and a couple thick chunks of tomato. With a lil’ peppa, of course. (I always need to put pepper on my tomatoes for some strange reason. I feel like it brings out the flavor, but it’s probably just habit by now.)

On the side? A crisp gala apple. I’m in an apple funk right now — and I rarely get in these – so I’m taking full advantage of it. It won’t last long, I’m sure…

Before I headed out for the game, I told my mom I’d make the recipe she had in mind for dinner: Cooking Light‘s version of Bacon Mac ‘n Cheese. Now, before you question my motives of sharing a recipe for bacon mac ‘n cheese on a supposed healthy-living blog, let me tell you this: this is a lightened-up version (though for some, it may still be an indulgence…depends on your daily intake).

The editors at Cooking Light decided to make the basis of the sauce a slurry instead of a roux. Heavy (and often fattening) sauces are often based on a roux, which is a combination of butter and flour. A slurry, on the other hand, combines flour with a small amount of milk instead of the butter. This keeps the recipe’s saturated fat count down.

Bacon Mac (from Cooking Light magazine, September 2009)

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 12 ounces penne pasta
  • 4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups skim milk, divided
  • 2 cups finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (optional – I chose not to use this…but my Aunt Marcia knows I don’t like things hot 🙂 )
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 slices center-cut bacon, cooked and crumbled (if you’re vegetarian, feel free to leave this out or substitute the bacon with some veggies – broccoli or tomatoes (even sun-dried) would go great)
  • Cooking spray

Preheat the broiler. (yes, the broiler!)

Bring 6 quarts water and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil. Add pasta; cook 8 minutes or until al dente; drain.

Get your ingredients all chopped up/shredded and ready to go…

Combine flour and 1/2 cup milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Gradually add 1 cup milk; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; let stand 4 minutes or until it cools to 155 degrees.

Stir in 1 1/2 cups cheese.

Add 1/4 teaspoon salt, pepper, hot sauce (if using), and onions.

Then add the bacon and stir.

Add pasta; toss.

Spoon into a 2-quart broiler-safe dish coated with cooking spray; top with 1/2 cup cheese. Broil 7 minutes. (Makes 6 servings; serving size: about 1 cup).

Yummy, cheesy, better-for-you goodness? Check. Check. And Check.

Not only was this a perfect comfort-food dinner I could feel good about, but guess who came out to play?

My, they grow up so fast! 🙂

Off to run some more errands — man, it never ends! My mom might have to restrain me from the travel-size items aisle.

And I Ask You: Are you addicted (like me) to every thing mini?

Omggggg: I could literally grab everything in that aisle. You never know when you’ll need a mini-size lint brush or a tiny, itty-bitty sunscreen, right? And who could forget mini muffins, mini cupcakes, mini pretzels…the list literally goes on and on. Oh — you know what also gets me?! The checkout aisle at Target. They always put the little stuff that I suddenly remember I need in that section: chapstick, Tide To Go pens, mints, a deck of cards….

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About ciaotochow

ciao to chow: initially created as a little spot on the web devoted to the "chow" I find while studying abroad in Rome. But really, ciao to chow is about my life: the day-to-day experiences, funny stories, moments of laughter, and the food...that continue to inspire me and make me grateful for each new day.
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17 Responses to Pass the Cheese, Please.

  1. ahhh please pass me some of that mac!

  2. kbwood says:

    WOW what an amazing recipe girl!!!! LOVE me some mac and cheese of any kind!!!
    I get in apple funks too.. dont mind it at ALL!

  3. Kiki says:

    Thanks so much for your comment the other day! I’ll be keeping up with your blog fo sho 😀

    I too am addicted to the travel aisle and mini things. I’m a big fan of mini cupcakes, haha.

  4. Kayla says:

    I love travel size, but my mom thinks I’m absolutely nuts, she likes to buy in bulk! Haha! Mac n Cheese used to be my FAVORITE thing ever, this looks so good!

  5. Mac ‘n Cheese — you can’t go wrong with that. 🙂

  6. Carlee says:

    I love mini stuff too!
    I loveee Mac and cheese! Its da best!

  7. cookinginnh says:

    Mmmm…I love mac & cheese! My husband got mac & cheese edamame a couple weeks ago when we went out to eat, which sounds weird but was utterly amazing! Great pictures, too! Makes me hungry!

  8. Layne says:

    This looks delish! How come you saved all of these recipes for AFTER I left?! ;o)

  9. Erika says:

    That mac-n-cheese looks heavenly! I looooove cheese! ❤

  10. That meal looks deadly-may I please have some?!

  11. MareMare says:

    Never met a mac ‘n cheese I didn’t love — this recipe was nice and yummy, especially w/sharp cheddar!

  12. Yummy looking recipe!

    I’m a fan of all things mini. Let’s see…cupcakes, cookies, little quiches. And I have a bag of travel size shampoos and conditioners. It comes in handy!

  13. Kenz says:

    i have had so much pasta already…but I have to say I am a sucker for mac n cheese…especially with bacon.. Weekend I get home Kristina and I are trying out this recipe! It’s already decided:)

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