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DSCN5619So, this dish was born because I had no fresh veggies in the house and a hankering for some fake cheese.  I can’t help it, I’m Texan and I love Velveeta!  It was surprisingly delicious so I though I’d share it with y’all.

DSCN5616Western Bacon Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Serves 4 – cost approx $1.28 per serving

Ingredients

  • 1/4 lb bacon, cut into thin strips ($.65)
  • 1 large onion, sliced ($.30)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups milk ($.37)
  • 8 oz Velveeta, or other ‘cheese’ product, cubed ($.99)
  • 1/3 cup sour cream ($.15)
  • 1/4 lb shredded cheese, divided use – Anything mild and melty will do, I used Monterey Jack, but cheddar, colby jack, mozzarella or fontina would be great too. ($.75)
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced ($.15)
  • 2 Tbs minced parsley ($.15)
  • 1 cup frozen peas ($.25)
  • 1/4 cup barbeque sauce ($.20)
  • 1 lb short pasta, cooked to al dente ($.89)
  • 1 cup bread crumbs ($0 if you use home made!)

Start by rendering the fat out of the bacon in a large pot over medium heat.  When the bacon is crispy and the fat has rendered, remove the bacon with a slotted spoon.  Add the onion slices to the bacon fat and reduce the heat to medium low.  Caramelize the onions, this will take about 30 minutes if you’re doing it right.  (Trust me on this one, the flavor is soooo much better when you take your time to slowly caramelize the onions!)

When the onions are browned up nicely, add in the flour and stir for 2-3 minutes to make a roux.  Add in the milk and bring to simmer, stirring to reduce lump formation.  (This would be a great time to put on a pot of water for cooking the pasta and to preheat your oven to 375 F.)  Simmer 5- 10 minutes then add in the sour cream, Velveeta and all but 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese.  Simmer another few minutes to melt the cheeses and taste it and add salt and pepper as needed.

Stir in the herbs, frozen peas, reserved bacon and pasta (no worries if a little pasta water gets in there, it makes it better!) and mix it all up nice and good.  Spread the barbecue sauce over the top layer of the pasta, don’t mix it in, just layer it on top!  To make the crumb topping, mix the bread crumbs and the remaining shredded cheese and lay on top of the barbecue sauce.  Bake at 375 F until the top is browned and bubbly 15-30 minutes.  Yum!

DSCN5620

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