Bacon and sharp cheddar macaroni and cheese

Bacon and sharp cheddar macaroni and cheese

Total Time
1 hr
25 min
35 min
This new take on the same old mac and cheese is sure to become a family favorite in no time. How could anyone resist the savory combination of bacon, panko, red peppers, and two types of cheese? It's a simple, straightforward recipe that makes use of the same skillet to cook all of the different components, from the breadcrumbs to the veggies and cheese mixture, which helps to make cleanup a breeze. You can also make this into a BLT mac & cheese by sprinkling with diced fresh tomatoes and finely shredded romaine lettuce or baby arugula leaves. The added color and crunch, not to mention veggies, would be a welcome addition.


Uncooked, mini, farfalle

6 oz, about 1 ¼ cups

Cooked turkey bacon

4 slice(s), cut in pieces, divided

Panko breadcrumbs

2 Tbsp

Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

2 Tbsp, divided

Red bell pepper

1 small, finely chopped

Uncooked onion

1 small, finely chopped

Fat free skim milk

1¾ cup(s)

All-purpose flour

1 Tbsp

Shredded reduced fat Mexican-style cheese

½ cup(s), sharp variety

Table salt

½ tsp

Cayenne pepper

½ tsp, (or more to taste)


3 Tbsp, sliced (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray.
  2. Cook pasta in a large pot of well salted boiling water according to package directions; drain.
  3. Meanwhile, cook breadcrumbs with ¼ of the bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until crumbs are toasted, about 3 minutes. Remove to a cup and stir in ½ tsp Parmesan cheese; set aside.
  4. Put red pepper, onion and remaining bacon in same skillet; cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 7 minutes. Remove; set aside.
  5. Whisk milk and flour in same skillet over medium-high heat and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in cheddar cheese, salt, cayenne and remaining Parmesan cheese.
  6. Add cooked, drained pasta and vegetable mixture to skillet and toss. Transfer to prepared baking dish; sprinkle top evenly with bread crumbs.
  7. Bake until bubbly at edges, about 15 minutes; sprinkle with sliced scallions.
  8. Serving size: 1 1/4 cup