I think the BEST food ever created was Macaroni and Cheese and I honestly don’t discriminate. This Baked Cheesy Bacon Mac recipe takes your Traditional Baked Macaroni & Cheese to the next level by using FOUR types of Cheese, BACON, a little HEAT and some vegetables for crunch….Plus, it’s healthy too 😉 Try it, you’ll like it!
Baked Cheesy Bacon Mac N Cheese Recipe
7 oz Whole Wheat Elbow Macaroni (or any shape)
1 c Low Fat Riccota Cheese
3.5 oz Low Fat Mozzarella Cheese
3.5 ox Low Fat Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1/2 oz Shredded Parmesan Cheese
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning (optional)
1 Tsp Sea Salt
1/4 Tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
4 c chopped fresh spinach
2-3 small zucchini’s sliced and quartered
4 slices center cut bacon or turkey bacon, cooked and crumbled
A few pinches of crushed red pepper flakes, optional
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a small 8×8 or 9×13 dish with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Prepare pasta according to packaged instructions. Be sure to salt your water as it’s the only time you can season your pasta and cook it all dente. I cooked mine for 8 minutes.
3. After weighing your cheese, set aside one handful of the mozzarella and cheddar (about 1/4 cup each). Combine ricotta through freshly ground black pepper mixing thoroughly.
4. Stir in your fresh spinach and zucchini mixing thoroughly. Stir in your bacon. Add hot pasta and stir to combine.
5. Layer it up! Start with 1 cup of pasta sauce, topped with 1/2 of the cheesy bacon macaroni mix, then 1/2 cup to 1 cup sauce followed by the rest of the cheesy bacon pasta. Top with 1/2 cup sauce and remaining cheese.
6. Bake at 400 for 25 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes and cut into 6 slices.
Makes 6 BIG Cheesy Bacon Macaroni squares for only 6 POINTS EACH!
VEGETARIANS ~ Use Fakin’ Bacon or omit bacon to make it vegetarian.
NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION PER SERVING (using sparkrecipes.com):
Calories 296.6, Total Fat 8.3 g, Saturated Fat 4.0 g, Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2 g, Monounsaturated Fat 0.9 g, Cholesterol 61.6 mg, Sodium 807.7 mg, Potassium 190.4 mg, Total Carbohydrate 35.2 g, Dietary Fiber 5.6 g, Sugars 5.4 g, Protein 22.3 g
1. Prepare your pasta according to the packaged instructions ~ be sure to salt the water and cook al dente.
2. Save yourself some time (& mess)and cook your bacon in the microwave. Place on 3 paper towels and cook approximately 1-1 1/2 minutes per piece.
Tadah ~ crispy, crunchy micro waved bacon with NO mess to clean up. I cook all of my turkey bacon this way when using it.
While your bacon cooks, measure out all your cheeses using your super cool Eat Smart Precision Pro Digital Food Scale.
.5 Ounce Parmesan
3.5 Ounces Low Fat Mozzarella
3.5 Ounces Low Fat SHARP Cheddar Cheese
3. Set aside a small handful of your cheeses for topping and combine Ricotta through freshly ground pepper.
4. Add spinach and zucchini and mix well.
Add your secret ingredient ~ crispy, crumbled bacon pieces.
Plus your cooked pasta.
Stir well to combine.
5. Layer it up! You could make your own spicy pasta sauce, but, I wanted to try out my new Spicy Arrabbiata Sauce from Bertolli. Of course I had to taste it BEFORE I put it on my pasta 🙂
I LOVE the ingredient list ~ this sauce is pretty tasty by itself. It has a nice tomato/red pepper flavor with a little spicy kick.
Add 1 cup of your pasta sauce to your prepared 9 x 13 pan.
Next, 1/2 of your cheesy bacon pasta mixture and a little more sauce. You can dot the sauce or spread it around, whatever you prefer.
Top with the remaining cheesy bacon pasta mixture.
Plus another 1/2 cup of sauce and the reserved cheese.
I like adding a few pinches of crushed red pepper flakes on top to add some more HEAT, but, you don’t have to do that 🙂
Bake at 400 degrees for about 20-25 minutes until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling. Let cool for 5 minutes, cut into 6 pieces and enjoy!
I LOVE how a little bacon and a little strong flavored cheeses go a long way to adding flavor to this Baked Macaroni and Cheese. This casserole is even better the next day. Enjoy!