If you read my rant and rave post yesterday, you read that I am entering this dish into Mr. Food's Food Blogger Contest. I grew up watching Mr. Food on the local noon news and I'm pretty sure many of you did the same.
His food is easy, filling and delicious. Not to mention his super cute and fun catch phrase at the end of each segment..."Ooh, it's so good!". You can check here if your area has his TV segments.
So, back to this decadent mac and cheese. I've made more macaroni dishes than I care to count on this blog. I'm sorry, I'm a sucker for noodles and cheese. But, I've got to say, this one ranks right up there.
Don't be put off by the buffalo sauce. There isn't a ton in there and the heat is not overwhelming. Heck, if my 18 month old can gobble it down, I'm pretty sure you can to.
Mr. Food is asking for the Ultimate Weeknight Meal. This is the one! I made it start to finish in under an hour (that included 40 minutes of baking time). Oh, and I also had two little ones under foot. So, trust me, if you don't have little ones under your feet you'll probably get it done even quicker.
I've seen a few buffalo style mac and cheese dishes out there, but I put in the twist of crisp bacon and changed up this recipe a bit to make it my own. The guidelines for this submission where 10 ingredients or less and all items needed to be easily found in ANY supermarket.
You will have no problem with ingredients here.
Bacon Buffalo Mac and Cheese
1/2 lb. medium shells
4 strips of bacon, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
2 gloves garlic, minced
8 oz. cream cheese
1 c. wing sauce
1 c. ranch dressing
2 c. shredded cheddar/Monterrey jack cheese
1 c. panko breadcrumbs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. In a small skillet, cook bacon until crisp. Remove from skillet, drain on a paper towel lined plate. Meanwhile, cook pasta to al dente, then drain.
In a food processor combine cream cheese, garlic, wing sauce and ranch dressing until smooth. In a large bowl mix together cooked pasta, shredded cheese, red pepper and cream cheese sauce. Toss to combine. Pour into dish. Sprinkle with panko breadcrumbs. Bake for 40 minutes until crispy and bubbly.
You know what I'm excited about? I've got leftovers for lunch. And dinner. And probably lunch tomorrow too. That makes me happy.
I will let you know if I get selected as a finalist in this contest. If so, I will need your votes! Maybe, just maybe I'll get the chance to travel to Florida to the Mr. Food studios and tape a segment with him.
That would just make my life COMPLETE.