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I may still be working on perfecting my mac and cheese recipe to replace my favorite boxed mac and cheese but I sure am stumbling onto some tasty variations during my journey. This Shells and Cheese with Bacon dish would be one of those variations; one that my husband has been scarfing by the bowl full.
Like I said in my last post, Mac and Cheese is one of those side dishes that I can totally dig into no matter how warm it is outside. Most of the time in the summer (and freaking hot spring) weather, I’m looking for cold or cool dishes (hello, can I just please live off of frozen yogurt in the summer?!?) but mac and cheese is one thing that I’ll let slide. If it’s a good mac and cheese, I’m willing to eat it no matter how hot it is outside.
I 100% admit it though that boxed mac and cheese is something I could eat every single day. If the end of the world comes and I have mac and cheese to live off of I’ll be doing just fine. 😉
But that doesn’t mean that I’m not working towards making that “perfect” mac and cheese at home from scratch. Over the years, I’ve made some killer mac and cheese recipes, like the Crock Pot Macaroni and Cheese and the Mushroom and Truffle Sea Salt White Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese , and while these are perfect side dishes, I’ll admit that they’re really rich and a small portion of those is plenty for me.
I want the mac and cheese that I can literally eat bowls and bowls of….ok not that that’s a good idea or that I do that……….yeah… moving on.
This Shells and Cheese with Bacon is one of those mac and cheese dishes that my husband can eat over and over. Just tonight he had two huge bowls of it for dinner.
We’ve made recipe with a few different cheese so far and this is what we’ve learned so far:
- Using all “Extra Sharp Cheese” is way too rich for me, I can’t handle it
- Using half “Extra Sharp Cheese” and half “Colby” cheese is better but still rich, but this is Big Bear’s favorite version
- Using all “Colby” or all “Regular Cheddar Cheese” is more my style.
So if you’re 100% die hard in love with Extra Sharp Cheese go for it but if you’re more of a Cheddar Cheese lover go with that one.
We also tried this recipe with a Extra Sharp White Cheese and it was so rich that is made my teeth hurt…I would recommend avoiding that haha.
But you know what gives this pasta the little extra kick that Big Bear is loving?
Bacon Smoked Sea Salt . I got a little bag of it from The Spice and Tea Exchange and Big Bear has been going crazy over it. It’s gone in mashed potatoes, on rib eyes and in these Shells and Cheese with Bacon.
So yes, Cheese, Pasta, Bacon AND Bacon Smoked Sea Salt all rolled into one dish.
Bacon and Cheese Lovers Unite!
This has been linked up to Christy Jordan’s Meal Plan #10.