"Creamy mac 'n cheese with bacon, red bell pepper, and a bread-crumb topping is ready to serve in 30 minutes." — Progresso™ Recipe Starters™
Watch video tips and tricks
uncooked penne pasta
1 (18 ounce) can
Progresso™ Recipe Starters™ creamy three cheese cooking sauce
bottled minced garlic*
1 1/2 cups
shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
shredded American cheese loaf
1 (2.5 ounce) package
cooked real bacon pieces or bits
diced red bell pepper
Progresso(R) Italian style panko crispy bread crumbs
Because I did not have a can of Progresso Creamy Three-Cheese Cooking Sauce, I used one can of Campbell's Cheddar Cheese Soup and upped the milk to a full "can". I also used fresh minced garlic and I did use the optional panko crumbs on top BUT I drizzled butter over them. I did not eat this myself but my husband and kids did--they ate the whole casserole dish full. No leftovers for Mom. Apparently, it was pretty good. **I was not given anything to make this recipe, I made it for no reason at all other than to feed my family.
Sauce was very thin.
When I first saw this recipe I wanted to love it, however when I looked at the ingredients of the three cheese starter I inwardly cringed. I noticed "water" as being the major (first) ingredient and I lost all hope for this recipe. I then started hearing amazing reviews. I chose to make this and found that while the sauce looked "soupy" that it ended up blending beautifully and became a creamy sauce that the pasta had a love affair with. I found the bacon was substantial and could be reduced by half. The garlic flavour was not detectable. I received very good comments from a "picky" adult eater who also suggested that a fried onion topping would be a nice addition. Overall I would make this again!
I used fresh garlic, and five strips of center-cut bacon (one of which was used for the garnish), and cooked for 30 minutes. This actually turned out pretty well, was plenty creamy, and relatively easy to put together. The Italian panko bread crumbs really give the dish some texture, so don't skip that ingredient. I still like my old family mac 'n cheese recipe better, but I wouldn't hesitate to make this again, adding some chopped onion, as I do with my favorite mac 'n cheese recipe .
I went ahead and used an entire box (1 lb.) of penne which is about 1 cup more than called for here. I hate to open a box and not use it all. For us the pasta to sauce ratio was just right with this change. I also cooked up a batch of bacon instead of using the packaged variety. I find it difficult to shred processed cheese because it is very soft so instead, I cubed it and dropped it into the sauce mixture while it was simmering and allowed it to melt. I LOVE the Progresso Italian style panko bread crumbs and they are a staple in my pantry. They add nice texture to the dish and the red bell pepper adds nice color contrast. I made this for my two teenage boys and although it isn't the same as "from scratch" they seemed pleased. Especially with the bacon :)
My mac n cheese lover in our house is my 11 yo grandson. He liked this for the most part, but not the red pepper. Since he doesn't like panko, he was glad I used my whole wheat bread crumbs mixed with a little butter and bacon fat..I didn't want to waste it since I sauteed the bacon anyway..hehe..the cheese flavor was very good in this dish.
Easy, quick, and great as a main dish or side dish. Easy to customize.
We tried this tonight! It was yummy! I used finely diced yellow bell pepper, and put it into the cheese sauce while it was cooking. So when it was cooked for 20 min in the oven and then served, no one could even tell that there was any vegetable in the dish. I cooked thick cut bacon to use in the dish...used about 6 slices, cooked well done and chopped. I cooked the pasta dish for 15 min, then I mixed in the bacon, topped it with Panko and parmesan cheese, and broiled it for 3-4 min, until lightly brown and crunchy. The Progresso starter is a new product, I think, b/c I had trouble finding it in the grocery store. I had to ask for help from an employee to find it, and I know my store pretty well!
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Easy Weeknight Bacon Mac 'n Cheese
Serving Size: 1/6 of a recipe
Servings Per Recipe: 6
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat: 189
Holiday cookies, cakes, pies, and breads. Get recipes and inspiration.
Get time-saving recipes to save your busy life.
Find just the right recipes for your holiday get-togethers.
Get a head start on busy weeknight Mac & Cheese!
Get a head start on classic beef stroganoff.
Make crispy garlic chicken the super quick-and-easy way!