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BLT Mac and Cheese



I'm in shock....

My kids are heading back to school in 10 days! Where did the summer go?

In the hustle and bustle of buying school supplies, having their feet measured for new shoes, and trying to squeeze in one or two last pool days, I've been coming up with fun things to serve my babies once they are back to the daily grind.



Just like magic, the moment they start back to school they stop craving grilled chicken and corn on the cobb, and start craving comforting dishes like beef stew and homemade mac and cheese.

I've got a kid-friendly, fun-to-eat, mac and cheese recipe for you today. BLT Mac and Cheese sneaks veggies into a family favorite in a way no one can resist.

I like to serve their favorites in fun and interesting ways, just to keep things fresh.



Today's mac and cheese recipe is a simple twist on a great classic, and you can serve it hot or cold.

Have you ever tried cold mac and cheese? (Or room temperature?) We love it. And this BLT Mac and Cheese recipe is fabulous hot, cold or anywhere in between.

I'll make it for dinner, then send the leftovers with the kids in their lunch boxes for a unique meal that incorporates veggies.



The mac and cheese begins with a rich, creamy cheese sauce. I start by making a roux with one Land O Lakes® Butter Half Stick. (These convenient little butter sticks keep me from having butter nubs fall out of my fridge every time I open the door.)



Once the roux is gold and smells like brown butter, I add milk, cream cheese, and shredded cheese. I like to use half cheddar and half pepper jack cheese to add a little kick. But you can use any kind of shredded cheese you like.

Whisk the cheese sauce until smooth, and pour in cooked macaroni noodles.



Now comes the BLT part... Spoon the mac and cheese onto butter lettuce leaves, and top with diced tomato and crumbled bacon.



This BLT Mac and Cheese Recipe is kind of like a lettuce wrap. Just fold it over, pick it up, and enjoy. No silverware needed.

The kids love that!

Plus, I love that they want to eat it again the next day in their lunch boxes. This is a win-win.



BLT Mac and Cheese


Ingredients
· 1 pound elbow macaroni
· 1 Half Stick (1/4 cup) Land O Lakes® Salted Butter
· 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
· 2 cups milk
· 8 ounces cream cheese, cut into cubes
· 1 pound shredded cheddar cheese (or half cheddar and half pepper jack)
· 12 ounces cooked crumbled bacon
· 2 large tomatoes, diced
· 1 head butter lettuce
· Salt and pepper


Directions
1. Cook the macaroni according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
2. Using the same pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Once melted, whisk in the flour and cook the roux (butter-flour mixture) for 1-2 minutes. Then whisk in the milk and add the cream cheese. Bring the mixture to a simmer and whisk until thick and smooth.
3. Add the shredded cheese and whisk until smooth. Then add the cooked macaroni to the cheese sauce. Stir to coat, and salt and pepper to taste.
4. To serve: Break lettuce leaves off the head. Spoon the mac and cheese onto individual lettuce leaves and sprinkle with crumbled bacon and diced tomato. Pick up with your hands (like a lettuce wrap) and enjoy!

A Spicy Perspective has partnered with Land O'Lakes for an exclusive endorsement of Land O Lakes® Butter for the Kitchen Conversations blogger program. This blog post is sponsored by Land O'Lakes.

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    Hi, I'm Becky. I'm eager to share my best ideas and favorite recipes from my 20+ years in the Land O'Lakes Test Kitchen. I'm also excited to help with any questions you have about cooking and baking with Land O Lakes® products. Some of the questions and answers will be published in our newsletter, The Measuring Cup®. Please use the short form below to ask your questions, or share your tip or memory.


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