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)


  • 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….


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.
This entry was posted in Chow.. Bookmark the permalink.

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:)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s