This post brought to you by KRAFT Natural Shredded Cheese and Safeway. All opinions are 100% mine.
Last Thursday night when I went to our neighborhood Safeway store to buy the ingredients for the cheesy morning pizza I wanted to make for the following day’s breakfast, I was delighted to find KRAFT natural shredded cheeses on sale for a dollar less. Not one to pass up a great deal, I bought a package of each variety.
Nothing wrong with a steady supply of cheese in the refrigerator, right?
KRAFT has always been my favorite brand of cheese but I gotta say, it’s totally rockin’ its new stand-up pouches. What a nifty idea! Less waste, less mess and still with the same robust cheese flavor we expect from KRAFT. Hooray for #StandUpCheese!
Armed with enough shredded cheese to last me forever, I was looking forward to something creamy and gooey for today’s lunch A.K.A. macaroni and cheese.
Boxed mac and cheese was a staple of my childhood. I ain’t denying, I am still known to pop one (or two) in the microwave every now and then for a quick treat. They are fine and dandy when I want something fast and convenient but sometimes, I do want grown up flavors and this spinach-bacon macaroni and cheese totally fits the bill.
Crisp bacon, check. Good-for-you spinach, check. Sharp cheddar cheese sauce, check. Firm-to-bite macaroni, check. Oh-la-la. Yummy goodness packed in every bite. This, my friends, is the ultimate in comfort food.
You can find KRAFT natural shredded cheeses in their new stand-up pouches at Vons. You may want to check Safeway Just For You for digital coupons, personalized deals and club member specials good at all these fine retailers:
- 3 cups macaroni pasta , uncooked
- 1 package (6 ounces) baby spinach leaves
- 6 slices bacon , chopped
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 3 cups milk
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese , grated
- 2 cups KRAFT shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- a pinch of cayenne pepper
- a pinch of nutmeg , freshly-grated
- salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot over medium heat, bring about 4 quarts water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for about 7 to 8 minutes or until firm to bite. Add spinach at the last minute of cooking. Remove from pot and drain well.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, add bacon and cook, stirring regularly, until crisp. With a slotted spoon, remove from pan and reserve drippings.
Add flour to drippings and cook, stirring regularly, for about 1 minute or until bubbly. Gradually add milk, stirring regularly. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly, for about 3 to 5 minutes or until thickened.
Add Parmesan cheese and 1 cup cheddar cheese and continue to cook, whisking constantly, for about 2 to 3 minutes or until melted. Add cayenne pepper and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add pasta-spinach mixture and 2/3 of the bacon to the cheese sauce and stir gently to combine.
Lightly grease a casserole with cooking spray. Spoon pasta mixture into casserole. Top with the remaining 1/3 of the bacon and the remaining 1 cup cheddar cheese. Bake in a 350 F oven for about 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.