Sunday, July 15, 2012

Bacon and Caramelized Onion Mac & Cheese...

Mmmm...pasta.  If I could only pick one cuisine to eat for the rest of my life, it would be Italian, for the sheer quantity of pasta possibilities.  And it doesn't get much more comfort food than Mac & Cheese...especially if you throw bacon in!  If you also throw in the fact that this particular recipe was found at EatBetterAmerica and therefore isn't horrendously bad for you, AND the calories are already calculated, it's pretty much perfect.  This turned out looking really delicious.  I didn't sample ANY of my recipes while I was cooking this time, so I'll have to let you know how it tastes when I do my update later in the month.  I wound up getting 10 servings out of this instead of the 12 listed on the original, which I reflected in the calories I have listed here.  I also discovered I apparently don't have the patience and/or attention span to caramelize onions.  I burned the crap out of part of them, and then spent the next 20 minutes trying to salvage what was left.  I'll put the instructions as they were listed on the original website, but just know that part is untested by me, because I ran out to walk the dogs and then got distracted and it all went downhill from there.  Here goes:

Bacon and Caramelized Onion Mac & Cheese
10 servings - 324 calories each

(You'll notice the would be "caramelized" onions in the pic..forgot to take one till after)

2 large onions, chopped
1 lb. uncooked penne rigate pasta
1 T. butter
2 T. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. dijon mustard
2 c. skim milk (I may have cheated and used 2%...I don't like cooking with skim)
1/2 c. reduced fat sour cream
1/2 c. Gruyere (I used a Sargento artisan blend of Swiss and Gruyere, cuz I didn't feel like grating)
2-3 T. bacon bits
1/2 c. panko bread crumbs
2-3 T. fresh basil, minced

**Put onions in a hot skillet coated with non-stick cooking spray.  Heat over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring every 3-4 minutes.  Turn heat down to medium low, and cook for an additional 35-40 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until deep golden brown.**  Set onions aside.  Cook pasta according to package directions.  While pasta is cooking, melt butter in a skillet over medium heat.  Add flour, salt, pepper, and dijon mustard.  Stir until incorporated and smooth.  Add milk slowly, ensuring flour mixture is incoporated and not clumping.  Heat until boiling, stirring constantly, and leave at a boil for 1 minutes.  Add sour cream, cheese, and bacon bits.  Mix into drained pasta, and put entire mixture into a casserole dish coated with non-stick cooking spray.  Top with panko and basil.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes, just until all heated through.  Note: this does NOT brown the breadcrums, nor is it supposed to (I'm really glad they put that in the original recipe, or I would've been really confused).

I'm serving mine with a crescent roll for a total of 424 calories per serving.

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