Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Lighten Up! Bacon Mac & Cheese

Mac and cheese makes me happy. I don't know what makes me happier. The cheesy sauce, the little shells, the crunchy topping. <sigh....>Cut to a mac and cheese that you don't have to feel THAT guilty about eating, and has no less flavor than the full fat version.If I am going to eat healthier versions of the food I love then it needs to taste good! Welp, this recipe fits the bill.  I only used three strips of center cut bacon ( crumbled) which is actually not that fatty. Buuuuut you can always add something healthier like broccoli!

This mac and cheese is super easy to make. You can even make it in advance and then bake it the day of. I actually really like mac and cheese before you bake it sometimes so if that is how you prefer it just omit the breadcrumbs and don't bake. Now that the nights are getting cooler and summer is a thing of the past I am more than happy to embrace comfort foods again, sit on my couch in my sweats and eat a giant bowl of this mac and cheese. The Greek yogurt is actually an amazing addition to this dish. It is a super creamy and tangy addition to the sauce. Did I mention the added protein? Between that added protein from the Greek yogurt and the whole wheat pasta your belly is well on its way to be full for a very very long time!

Lighten Up! Bacon Mac & Cheese


2 cups elbow macaroni, fusilli, or cavatappi pasta ( I used whole wheat baby shells)
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
2 cups 2% milk
1 cup low fat shredded extra-sharp Cheddar
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup grated Gruyere or other Swiss cheese
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
3 strips center cut bacon ( crumbled)
Pepper to taste


1. Cook the pasta according to package instructions until just al dente. Drain and reserve the pasta. Set aside.In a seperate pan on medium ( or in the oven on 350F for 10-15 minutes) cook bacon until crispy. When cooked drain on a paper towel and crumble when cooled.

2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle in the flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually whisk in the milk and cook, stirring frequently, until thickened, 5 minutes. Add the Gruyere, Cheddar, and mozzarella, and stir until melted. Cut the heat, add the yogurt cooked pasta, and bacon- then toss.

3. Heat the broiler. Pour the mac & cheese mixture into an 8" square baking dish or individual ramekins. Top with bread crumbs and Parmesan, and season with black pepper. Broil until the bread crumbs are golden brown, about 5 minutes.


  1. Looks like another winner Leanne. I will make it with broccoli and leave out the bacon ;)

  2. You won the 2 tickets to the @TasteTrekkers food tourism conference! Email me at iheartrhody [at] gmail [dot] com for instructions on how to claim them!

  3. Wow, had a hard time with this recipe. You never said how much bacon or when to add it. And, in your last sentence on #2 instructions, you say to add pumpkin and there is no pumpkin in your ingredients. I hope you clarify this soon as it sounds like a great recipe.

    1. Sorry about that! Should be all set now. I used 3 slices of center cut bacon, but feel free to use as much or little as you like.

      Also took out the pumpkin! Should be all set! Thanks for letting me know!