Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Red Hot Chili Pepper Mac & Cheese with Bacon {Mezzetta Recipes}

One of my favorite comfort foods is Mac & Cheese. It's warm ooey-gooey cheesiness is pleasurable enough to make most bad days tolerable. Yes, I just admitted to emotional eating - let's just move on... The other day I was introduced to Mezzetta Everything Spread and instantly thought it would be the perfect way to kick my favorite Mac & Cheese recipe up a notch. {I was so, so, so right!} The recipe is a cinch to make, so the hardest part was deciding which Everything Spread to incorporate into the goodness. I hemmed, then I hawed - but then finally decided on creating this Red Hot Chili Pepper Mac & Cheese with Bacon. This is like top-shelf comfort food y'all!!

This was my first time using Mezzetta Everything Spread and I became an instant fan. The Everything Spread is such an easy way to add a twist on a classic recipe as I did with this Mac & Cheese. It takes away the dicing, mincing and measuring of multiple ingredients - a true time-saver! I'm really thinking that the options are endless here; mix it, toss it, blend it, stir it, spread it, top it or dip it. Or put it on a sandwich - but I'm really trying to think outside the sandwich here! {#UnSandwich}

Mezzetta Everything Spread is available in four mouthwatering flavors; Garlic & Parmesan, Sun-Dried Tomato & Basil, Olive, Garlic & Parmesan and Hot Chili Pepper. The Everything Spread line is available in the condiment aisle of select retailers across the country including Kroger, Safeway, Ralphs and Fred Meyer. {and through Mezzetta's website} I picked out 2 varieties of Everything Spread at the store, but I'll be back to try more. I'll be back...

Like I was saying, this Red Hot Chili Pepper Mac & Cheese with Bacon is top-shelf comfort food. It's cheesy-creamy on the inside with the outside having the perfect amount of chewiness, the flavors of red jalapenos and garlic with the smoky flavor of bacon. This Mac & Cheese was the perfect lunch, served alongside with apple slices as a fresh, cool contrast to the the spiciness of the pasta. Not only was it delicious when served fresh - it was still devourable the next day as leftovers. This recipe and I are going to be coming very good friends, I can't wait to try it with the other Everything Spread flavors!!

Red Hot Chili Pepper Mac & Cheese with Bacon
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
7oz colby jack cheese, shredded and divided
3 tablespoons Mezzetta Hot Chili Pepper Everything Spread, divided
10 oz bacon, chopped and cooked and divided
8 oz elbow macaroni
1. Heat oven to 400, grease 8x8 baking dish. Microwave milk for 1 minute.
2. Melt butter in saucepan over low-medium heat. Add flour and whisk, letting cook for 1 minute.
3. Whisk in warm milk, whisking constantly. Cook for 5 minutes or until thickened.
4. Whisk in salt and ground bell pepper. Whisk 5oz of cheese into mixture and when smooth, add 2 tablespoons Red Hot Chili Pepper Everything Spread and 8oz of bacon. Mix cheese sauce with noodles and pour into baking dish.
5. Mix together 2oz cheese and 1 tablespoon Red Hot Chili Pepper Everything Spread. Top mac & cheese. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until bubbly. Add remaining chopped bacon and let cook for 1-2 additional minutes.
6 Enjoy!!

For a chance to win a Mezzetta Gift Basket, leave a comment on which Mezzetta Everything Spread you'd like to give a try. {It's that easy!} Contest ends April 6th, 2015 at 8am PST, (1) winner will notified within 24 hours. Only US residents can enter giveaway.

Also, you can take a survey for a chance to win a Mezzetta Gift Basket directly through Mezzetta.


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