Creamy Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon and Peas

Okay guys, let me guess one of your kids favorite meals… probably chicken nuggets, and I’d guess macaroni and cheese too.  Am I right?  Thought so lol.  My kids LOVE mac and cheese.  Of all forms, all flavors, even the Kraft easy mac that you microwave.  They go nuts.  So over the years I’ve made several varieties of homemade mac and cheese, to try to get them to “please for the love of all things holy, eat something I cooked for you!!”.

Rich and creamy macaroni and cheese gets lightened up a bit and tossed with sweet peas, crispy bacon and flavorful caramelized onions!This macaroni and cheese dish isn’t just for the kids… it has some grown up flavors, and it’s a little bit healthier.  Although, as you’re eating it, you won’t be able to taste that it’s healthier… all you’ll taste is a deliciously creamy sauce and some amazing flavors.  Want to know the secret?

Rich and creamy macaroni and cheese gets lightened up a bit and tossed with sweet peas, crispy bacon and flavorful caramelized onions!Yep, almond milk!  Do you guys drink this stuff?  It’s actually pretty good and it’s really good for you 😀

Rich and creamy macaroni and cheese gets lightened up a bit and tossed with sweet peas, crispy bacon and flavorful caramelized onions!

You can choose any pasta shape that you like for this macaroni and cheese… classic elbows, some penne, rotini, anything!  I love the curly and fun shape of cavatappi 🙂  Part of the unique flavors of this dish comes from the cheeses used… the white cheese you see there is gruyere.  It. Is. Amazing!  It’s rich, nutty, and delicious.  I paired it with a sharp cheddar.

To start, you’ll want to set your pot of water on to boil for the pasta.  Then cook your bacon over medium heat in a large skillet, removing to a paper towel lined plate to drain.  Add your chopped onion to the bacon grease and cook until golden, tender, and caramelized.  While your onions are cooking, go ahead and get started on your sauce.  Melt butter in a saucepan, and once it’s melted, add an equal amount of flour, whisking to combine.  It will look sort of like wet sand (that’s a good thing).  Let that cook for a minute, then add your almond milk, whisking until smooth.  Add garlic and thyme and let it come to a low boil.  Add cheeses, whisking to melt and combine completely.  If the sauce gets to thick for your liking, add a splash of almond milk to thin it out.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Now comes to fun part… drain your pasta and add to a large mixing/serving bowl.  Top with thawed frozen peas, bacon and caramelized onions.  Pour sauce over the mixture and toss to combine well.  Woohoo!  Dinner is served 😀

Rich and creamy macaroni and cheese gets lightened up a bit and tossed with sweet peas, crispy bacon and flavorful caramelized onions!If you prefer your macaroni and cheese to be baked, you can pour it into a baking pan, top with some breadcrumbs and a sprinkle more of the cheese, and bake until it’s bubbly and golden brown on top 🙂

Rich and creamy macaroni and cheese gets lightened up a bit and tossed with sweet peas, crispy bacon and flavorful caramelized onions!I chose to garnish mine simply with just a few extra crumbles of bacon, but it would also be delicious with some fresh chopped chives or just some minced parsley.

Rich and creamy macaroni and cheese gets lightened up a bit and tossed with sweet peas, crispy bacon and flavorful caramelized onions!I hope you all try this one 🙂

Rich and creamy macaroni and cheese gets lightened up a bit and tossed with sweet peas, crispy bacon and flavorful caramelized onions!

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Recipe adapted from Damn Delicious

Rich and creamy macaroni and cheese gets lightened up a bit and tossed with sweet peas, crispy bacon and flavorful caramelized onions!
Print
5 from 2 votes
Creamy Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon and Peas
6 servings
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 
Rich and creamy macaroni and cheese gets lightened up a bit and tossed with sweet peas, crispy bacon and flavorful caramelized onions!
Author: The Chunky Chef
Ingredients
  • 1 lb cavatappi pasta 16 oz
  • 2 cups frozen peas thawed
  • 1 lb bacon diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 2 cups Unsweetened Original Almond Milk
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves minced
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup sour cream plain Greek yogurt may be substituted
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp hot sauce optional
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta, according to package directions, in a large pot of salted boiling water. Drain.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and set aside.
  3. Reduce heat to medium, and in the bacon drippings, saute your diced onion until golden brown. Remove to the plate with the bacon.
  4. In a saucepan, melt 3 Tbsp butter. Once melted, whisk in 3 Tbsp flour until it resembles a paste. Cook for 1 minute. Whisk in almond milk and continue whisking until smooth.
  5. Add garlic and thyme and bring to a slight boil. Stir in cheeses, a little at a time, until smooth, a few minutes, and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  6. Add drained pasta, peas, bacon and onions to the sauce and stir until well combined. Stir in sour cream and hot sauce.

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42 comments on “Creamy Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon and Peas”

  1. So awesome to cohost Wordless wednesday with you! xoxo

  2. My family would love this ! Thanks for linking up with What’s Cookin’ Wednesday!

  3. One of my favorite spring combinations! Thanks so much for sharing your awesome post with Full Plate Thursday and have a fantastic weekend!
    Miz Helen

  4. Well this looks fabulous! I featured this yumminess as one of my faves on #foodiefriDIY! Check it out! And thank you for linking with us!

  5. Oh my goodness – that cheese is calling my name! 🙂

    >>> BreAnna
    http://craftycoin.com

  6. Thanks for sharing this recipe! It absolutely looks mouth-watering! I love pasta!! 🙂 Visiting from Lou Lou Girls Fabulous Party.

  7. Yum, this looks yummy! I can’t wait to try it. Joining you from Tell ’em Tuesdays. 🙂

  8. I can’t believe this uses almond milk! I’m definitely going to attempt this- it seems like it should be so much worse for you… I’m happily surprised. I also have a weakness for peas in pasta-is that odd? Thanks for linking up today- hope to see more from you next week!
    Xoxo K
    http://peeledwellness.com

  9. Looks amazing!

  10. I love, love that this was made with almond milk! Yum! What a great idea, trying it! 🙂 I would love for you to share this over at my new link party Making Memories Mondays going on now!
    Cathy

  11. This is one of my favorite ways to make pasta! Loads of yummy cheese, bacon, and peas!
    Kari
    http://www.sweetteasweetie.com

  12. Oh my goodness, my family is going to love this!! Thanks for sharing!

  13. This looks delish! Can’t wait to make it for my Mac and Cheese -aholic boyfriend 😉

  14. I loooove Mac&Cheese! have never used almond milk, how interesting and it looks delicious 🙂

  15. Omgoodness! These look amazing – definitely going to try to make it 🙂

  16. I must still be half kid…I’d vote macaroni and cheese as my favorite meal too! Love how you took it to the next level with bacon and peas. 😛 Mmm, mmm good! Thanks for sharing your recipe at Fiesta Friday!

  17. Hi Amanda,
    Looks yummy and a great meal for kids. Thanks for sharing on Real Food Fridays. Pinned & Twitted.

  18. Macaroni and cheese with bacon… such a weakness of mine! This looks amazing! I love the addition of peas too! So you’re still eating veggies – it’s like practically a salad! 😉

  19. Yum! Macaroni, cheese.. It already sounds tasty! And bacon! 🙂

  20. WOW this looks amazing, look at that crisp bacon on top….these pics are popping out of the page, I love it!!! MMM, mac & cheeeseee…..

  21. Give me a pile of chicken nuggets and a BIG bowl of this… Poof! I’m a kid again. This looks great!