Creamy Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Peas and Bacon

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Charlie and I just got back from beautiful Charleston, SC yesterday.  My cousin, Brittany, just got married, and is the first cousin in my family to get married!  It was on a beautiful southern plantation, and was a very relaxed and beautiful wedding.  I played violin for the ceremony, which was fun—played some bluegrass and some classical.  I already miss Charleston, for the incredible beauty and civil war-era buildings.  Maybe someday we can go back for vacation!

Remembering those wonderful southern food dishes, I thought I would try this recipe of macaroni and cheese.  The original recipe has just the mac and cheese and peas, but I thought I would add bacon….since bacon is freaking delicious.  This recipe is very self-explanatory, but I would plan on mixing the cheeses longer—I was impatient and hungry, so I kinda mixed it in a hurry.  The cool thing was mixing the cooked pasta and the frozen peas—when you pour the pasta in the colander, mix the peas in with the pasta.  And…voila!  The peas and pasta are ready to mix in the sauce!  Pretty awesome if I do say so myself 🙂

This is a perfect side dish for hamburgers or something on the grill, or as a main dish like I did!  It’s creamy, delicious, and perfect after a long day at work.  Hope you enjoy it as much as Charlie and I did 🙂

YIELD: 12-15 servings

TIME: 1 hour 30 minutes

INGREDIENTS
2 Tbsp butter
1 cup plain breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 tsp chopped parsley
12 oz package center cut bacon, diced
1 lb elbow macaroni
5 Tbsp butter
3 cups frozen peas
1/2 cup diced yellow onion
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup flour
4 cups milk
1 cup chicken broth
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
8 oz cream cheese, cut up
8 oz shredded sharp cheddar
8 oz shredded Colby Jack

DIRECTIONS
Melt 2 Tbsp butter and mix breadcrumbs, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.  Add to butter and brown; remove from heat.  Add parsley, and preheat oven to 375 F.  Cook pasta for 6-7 minutes, until al dente, drain, and top with frozen peas.  Cook bacon until slightly crisp, and fold the peas and pasta until combined.  Saute onion and garlic in 5 Tbsp butter, and whisk in flour for 1 minute.  Add milk and chicken broth until slightly boiling.  Remove from heat and add salt and pepper, cream cheese, cheddar, and Colby-Jack until completely melted.  Season with salt and pepper and add pasta, peas, and bacon.  Pour cheesy mixture into a buttered long Pyrex dish, sprinkle topping on top, and bake 25-30 minutes.  Let sit 15 minutes to let cool.

Hope y’all enjoy!

xoxo, Sara

original recipe: http://www.afarmgirlsdabbles.com/2013/03/26/creamy-macaroni-and-cheese-with-peas-recipe/

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