A flavorful Baked Macaroni and Cheese Casserole (made without white sauce) with bacon & kale and a crushed cracker topping. Comforting and delicious! (This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Sargento. The opinions and text are all mine.)
Have you seen Chopped on Food Network? OMG it’s one of our favorite shows! Well, Sargento® is hosting a “Chopped at Home” contest, and they want to see how creative we can be and come up with a Chopped-inspired dish featuring Sargento Shredded Cheese. So that’s what I did. 😉
Following the Chopped model, my dish had to include: Sargento Chef Blends 4 State Cheddar, Kale, Oyster Crackers and Bacon. What a great list, right?!
The first thing I thought of was macaroni and cheese. My boys LOVE macaroni and cheese. And I’m known to be quite the casserole maker, so I decided to combine the two and make a creamy baked macaroni and cheese casserole.
But this isn’t any old baked macaroni and cheese. Along with the Sargento Chef Blends 4 State Cheddar (which includes Sharp Wisconsin Cheddar, Sharp Vermont Cheddar, Sharp New York Cheddar and Mild California Cheddar cheeses.) I added cottage cheese, one egg – yay for more protein – and sour cream. Adding those ingredients help ditch the white sauce step.
I also added bacon and kale in with the macaroni and topped it with crushed oyster crackers. The result was a creamy, tasty casserole. If you like mac and cheese, you will fall in love with this simple, easy, creamy, cheesy baked macaroni and cheese casserole!
But this “Chopped at Home” challenge isn’t just for bloggers, it’s an open invitation for YOU to create your best recipe using the selected basket ingredients, including Sargento Shredded Cheese, for a chance to win $10,000!! Click here to get more information! Also, be sure to check out the Sargento Pinterest page or visit Sargento.com for recipe inspiration!
Baked Macaroni and Cheese Casserole
- 1 1-lb box macaroni pasta
- 1/2 lb. bacon cooked and crushed
- 1 cup reduced-fat cottage cheese
- 1 cup light sour cream
- 2 7.5-oz bags Sargento® Chef Blends 4 State Cheddar
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 2 cups steamed kale cut into small pieces (about 3 cups uncooked)
- 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 2 cups crushed oyster crackers
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray a 2.5 quart casserole dish with cooking spray.
- Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, cook bacon until crispy - in the oven, microwave or stove top. Drain and when cool, crush or chop into small pieces.
- Quickly steam the kale for a couple minutes, until slightly wilted and crisp-tender.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine cottage cheese, sour cream, cheddar, egg, salt, pepper, garlic powder. Pour in cooked macaroni, kale and bacon. Stir to combine.
- Pour into prepared casserole dish, smoothing top down.
- In a microwave bowl, melt the butter. Add in crushed crackers and stir. Pour oven the top of the casserole, evenly.
- Place in preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until top is golden brown and everything is heated through.
- Scoop into bowls or on plates and enjoy!
Available in 30 versatile varieties, unique blends and distinct cuts, Sargento Shredded Cheese is always cut from blocks of 100% real, natural cheese. For more inspiration, check out the Sargento Pinterest page Pinterest.com/sargentocheese/ or visit Sargento.com for more information. The Chopped at Home Challenge gives viewers a chance to create their best recipe using the selected basket ingredients, including Sargento Shredded Cheese, for a chance to win $10,000!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Sargento. The opinions and text are all mine.