Spinach-Bacon Macaroni and Cheese is a grown-up take on a classic childhood favorite. Loaded with crisp bacon and spinach, it’s hearty, delicious, and the ultimate comfort food!
This post brought to you by KRAFT Natural Shredded Cheese and Safeway. All opinions are 100% mine.
I went to our neighborhood Safeway store a few days ago to buy the ingredients for the cheesy breakfast pizza we were craving and I was delighted to find KRAFT natural shredded cheeses on sale for a dollar less.
KRAFT has always been our 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!
Not one to pass up a great deal and great cheese, I bought a package of each variety. Nothing wrong with a steady supply in the refrigerator, right?
Armed with enough shredded cheese to last me forever, I set out to make something creamy and gooey for today’s lunch A.K.A. macaroni and cheese.
Boxed mac and cheese was a staple of my childhood and I am still known to make a box (or two) every now and then for a quick treat. It’s easy comfort food I like to keep handy 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!
Loaded with crisp bacon, good-for-you spinach, and a sharp cheddar cheese sauce, this homemade macaroni and cheese, my friends, is the ULTIMATE comfort food!
Not only is this baked mac and cheese hearty and delicious, it’s easy to make for busy weeknight dinners and customizable, too!
Not a fan of spinach? Add par-boiled broccoli florets instead. Want a kick of heat? Toss in red pepper flakes to taste. If you want to go the extra mile, add caramelized onions. So good!
Tips on How to Make Homemade Macaroni and Cheese:
- Cook the pasta a minute or two less than the package calls for and make sure to rinse it after in cold water. You want the macaroni to be slightly on the firm side as it will continue to cook in the oven.
- For a smooth, creamy sauce, cook in a simmer as boiling or heating the coconut milk too quickly will make it curdle or separate.
- Don’t skimp on the cheese sauce! Pasta tends to absorb a lot of moisture and will “dry out” as it bakes in the oven and even as it sits so go a little heavy on the sauce to compensate for the drying out.
Give this spinach-bacon macaroni and cheese a try. It’s hearty, delicious, and is sure to be a family favorite.
Spinach-Bacon Macaroni and Cheese
- 3 cups uncooked macaroni pasta
- 6 ounces baby spinach
- 6 slices bacon, chopped
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 3 cups milk
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon 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 1 to 2 minutes less than package directions.
- Add spinach at the last 30 seconds of cooking. Drain noodles and spinach.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat a saucepan over medium heat. Add bacon and cook, stirring regularly, until crisp. With a slotted spoon, remove from pan.
- Add flour to the bacon drippings and cook, stirring regularly, for about 1 to 2 minutes or until bubbly.
- Gradually add milk, whisking vigorously to prevent lumps. Bring to a simmer, whisking constantly, for about 3 to 5 minutes or until thickened.
- Add Parmesan cheese, 1 cup of the cheddar cheese. 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. Remove from heat.
- 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.
- Remove from oven and allow to rest for about 5 minutes before serving.