Meat Lovers

Queso Mac and Cheese with Bacon

Baked mac and cheese with southwestern flare has a creamy, spicy goodness your guests will crave.

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Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (8 ounces) elbow pasta
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) Wisconsin colby jack cheese, shredded
  • 1 3/4 cups (7 ounces) Wisconsin sharp cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
  • 1 4-ounce can green chilies, mild or hot, drained and diced

Directions

Heat oven to 400°F. Butter shallow 2-quart casserole dish; set aside.

Cook macaroni as directed on package; drain and keep warm.

In large mixing bowl, whisk milk, cornstarch, cumin, paprika, chili pepper, salt and pepper. Set aside.

In large saucepan over medium-high heat, fry bacon until almost crisp. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring, until translucent. Add milk mixture to bacon mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Stir in Colby-jack and 1 cup cheddar. Add green chilies and stir until cheese is completely melted. Add macaroni and stir to combine.

Pour macaroni into prepared casserole dish. Top with remaining 3/4 cup cheddar. Bake 10 minutes, or until cheese topping is melted. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Top evenly with remaining 3/4 cup cheddar; bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Let sit 5 minutes before serving.

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Semi-soft and semi-hard cheese, like Cheddar, Monterey Jack and Mozzarella, should be very cold for easy grating.