Bacon Gouda Mac ‘n Cheese

Sometimes I purposefully go to the grocery store without a menu plan or grocery list. I pace the aisles, look for sales and dream up new recipes. If you think about it, it is truly a privilege to have all the choices we have at the grocery store. We have four different brands of the same product, options for dietary restrictions and farm fresh fruits; there are delectable sweets and specialty ingredients just itching for a party with friends. Not everyone has the blessing of shopping for food at will, so when I take the time to browse, rather than rush, I find myself being very thankful.

Last week I was wandering through Grocery Outlet and paused to peruse the cheese selection. Grocery Outlet has the best assortment of cheese at fabulous prices. Because, yes, even though I can grocery shop all I want, I still have a pretty strict food budget, and thus, really appreciate the low prices at Grocery Outlet. I picked up a circle of Gouda and immediately thought “bacon” is this cheese’s long lost match. I tossed around the idea of bacon Gouda grilled cheese on this honey whole wheat recipe my mom recently passed on, but landed on mac ‘n cheese. Perfect for the snowy day.

This bacon Gouda mac ‘n cheese turned out amazing! Amazing! Everyone thought so. We even tossed around the idea of pitching the recipe to the Outback because it seems like the perfect pair for a steak. Yep, that good. I hope you and yours enjoy it too!

bacon gouda mac

BACON GOUDA MAC ‘N CHEESE

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 5 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 1 cup Gouda cheese, divided into 3/4 cup and 1/4 cup
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 10 ounces pasta, I chose farafelle (bow ties)
  • 6 pieces of bacon, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Himalayan pink salt (Have you seen this at your Costco? So good! If not, substitute for a quality sea salt)

DIRECTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Boil pasta according to box directions.
  • While your pasta cooks, create your roux. In a saucepan, melt butter. Slowly sprinkle in flour. Whisk until it thickens to a paste. Slowly add heavy cream, whisking as your pour. Do the same with your milk. Allow to thicken to a cream sauce consistency. Sprinkle in a little extra flour if needed.
  • Once roux is thick, add 3/4 cup Gouda and 1 cup mozzarella, stir.
  • Add pepper and salt. Sauce is complete!
  • Layer your cooked and drained pasta in a casserole dish and pour cheese sauce on top. Use a large spoon to gently toss.
  • Sprinkle the top with the remaining 1/4 cup of Gouda. A few dashes of pink salt and all the bacon.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Watch for the sauce to bubble and the bacon to get extra crispy.
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Gretchen hails from the beautiful Pacific Northwest along with her husband and two young children. Before transitioning to life as a stay at home mom, Gretchen worked in sales and marketing while earning her Masters in Management and Organizational Leadership. Now her days are focused on managing meal plans and nap times while organizing her sewing stash and children's toy bins. My oh my, how life changes in the blink of an eye! Gretchen writes frequently about natural parenting, becoming more environmentally conscience, her affinity for thrifted treasures, and hopes of making it out of yoga pants each day on her blog That Mama Gretchen (www.thatmamagretchen.com).

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