Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Baked Tomatoes Stuffed with Creamy Stovetop Bacon Mac and Cheese

As with chicken, you can never have enough recipes for mac and cheese!

I found these recipes watching The Cooking Channel last night.  Love the show Kelsey's Essentials!  OK . . . I'll admit it, I love most of the cooking shows.

This post is actually two recipes in one.  You can either have the mac and cheese alone, or stuffed in the tomato.  Kelsey also served it in a sandwich, like a grilled cheese sandwich . . . I never would have thought of that, but it really did look good.

I love her selection of cheeses and the addition of bacon.  Isn't everything better with bacon?

Recipe courtesy kelsey nixon, the cooking channel


    • Kosher salt 
    • 1 pound elbow macaroni 
    • 6 strips thick-cut smoked bacon, cut in 1/4-inch pieces 
    • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 
    • 4 cups hot whole milk 
    • Freshly ground black pepper 
    • 1 teaspoon dry mustard, or more as needed 
    • 8 ounces sharp Cheddar, shredded (2 cups) 
    • 8 ounces Muenster cheese, shredded (2 cups) 
    • 1 tbsp hot sauce

      • 4 beefsteak tomatoes
      • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
      • 1/4 cup panko
      • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
      • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
      • Olive oil, for drizzling


      For the mac and cheese

      In a pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente; drain.

      Set an extra-large skillet, or a large heavy saucepan, over medium-low heat and cook the bacon until crispy and the fat renders out, 10 to 12 minutes.

      Set the bacon aside, reserving the fat to build your sauce.

      At this point you should have about 1/4 cup of reserved fat. If needed, add some olive oil or butter to make sure you have a 1/4 cup of fat in the pan.

      Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until the paste bubbles a bit, about 2 minutes (make sure it doesn't brown). Continuing to whisk, add 3 cups of the hot milk and cook until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes.

      Stir in the dry mustard, and then gradually add the Cheddar and Muenster cheeses, stirring constantly until all of the cheese has melted into the sauce. Stir in the hot sauce and the remaining 1 cup milk.

      Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and stir to coat. Stir in the crispy bacon and season with salt and pepper.

      You'll need 1 to 2 cups of mac and cheese for the tomatoes.

      For the baked tomatoes

      Set your oven rack to the middle position and preheat your oven to broil.

      Using a paring knife, remove the tops of your tomatoes (the stem end), and then carefully hollow each one out with a spoon. You want to create a bowl, while removing all the seeds and some of the flesh, leaving about 1/2-inch of flesh in each tomato.

      Season the inside of the tomatoes with salt and pepper. Then stuff each one with as much mac and cheese as you can, 1/4 to 1/2 cup.

      Mix the panko, Parmesan cheese and parsley together, and season with salt and pepper. Pile some of the breadcrumb topping onto each tomato. Each one will accommodate about 2 tablespoons of the topping. Now, drizzle the breadcrumbs with olive oil, so the panko browns up nicely.

      Broil the tomatoes until the breadcrumb topping is golden brown and crispy, 2 to 3 minutes.


      Catherine said...

      Dear Gina, Those shows always make me want to go to the kitchen and start cooking!!
      Looks wonderful.
      Have a beautiful day.
      Blessings dear. Catherine xo

      Gina Alfani said...

      LOL Catherine . . . they keep me hungry!!

      I'm trying to stay away from the depressing cable news channels, so now the televisions are set on the cooking channels all the time :) At least food makes me smile!

      Blessings to you too!

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