These luscious Bacon Mac and Cheese Cups loaded with two kinds of cheese and ranch flavor were sponsored by Farmland Foods. I was compensated for my time, but my love of bacon and cheese is genuine.
Did you know that Saturday is International Bacon Day? It even comes on a three-day weekend so we can fully celebrate this delicious occasion. The folks at Farmland recently sent me some of their classic cut bacon to try just in time for the holiday. Of course, there was no way that package of porky goodness was going to stay around long in our house. We devoured it in one weekend!
First I needed to bake a few slices for breakfast just to try it out of course. Do you bake your bacon? Not only is it fun to say, I think it’s the best and least messy way to cook it to perfect crispiness! Line a baking sheet with foil, place a baking rack on top, and lay out your bacon in an even layer. Bake it up at 400 degrees F for about 20 minutes, and you are on your way to a great breakfast. The Farmland bacon cooked up beautifully, and I even managed to grab a piece for myself before the guys snagged the rest. To their dismay, the rest of the package got cooked up for these Bacon Mac and Cheese Muffins loaded with three kinds of cheese and bursting with Ranch flavor.
I really must insist you make these immediately since I can’t share the smell with you here. As if cooking bacon doesn’t smell good enough, combining it with the Ranch seasoning sent me to aromatic heaven.
Do I need to tell you when would be a good time to eat these bacon mac and cheese cups? “Anytime” is really the easiest answer, but they would especially be perfect for tailgating, parties, potlucks, or lunch boxes. It’s not always easy to transport and serve mac and cheese on the go, but these portable beauties can be eaten at room temperature with your hands just as easily as warmed and enjoyed with a fork.
Be sure to let these hot little devils cool until warm to the touch before removing them from the tin. You want them to hold together, but they might fall apart when the cheese is still melty. If you can’t wait, which I completely understand, don’t hold it against me if your cups crumble. They’ll still taste just as good. I promise.
Keep an eye out for Farmland products at your grocery store. They don’t mess around when it comes to pork and have several varieties of bacon including double smoked, center cut, fully cooked, and uncured. I, for one, would love to try them all! Now go stock up to prepare for a bacon-filled weekend!Print
- 12 oz. macaroni or rotini (I used gluten-free pasta.)
- 10 slices Farmland classic cut bacon diced
- 1 egg
- 2 1/2 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese divided
- 16 oz. ricotta cheese
- 1 c. plain yogurt or sour cream (2% milk is OK, but avoid fat free)
- 1 packet buttermilk ranch dressing mix or 2 tbsp. homemade ranch mix
- 1/2 c. milk
- 2 tbsp. fresh dill minced (or substitute 1 tsp. dried dill)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Spray a muffin tin liberally with cooking spray.
Cook pasta according to package directions, drain, and set aside.
While pasta cooks, heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add diced bacon, and cook, stirring occasionally, until brown and most of the fat has rendered. Scoop out the cooked bacon with a slotted spoon, and place on a plate lined with paper towels to drain.
In a large mixing bowl, lightly beat the egg. Add two cups of shredded cheese, ricotta, yogurt, ranch seasoning, and milk. Whisk until smooth. Stir in cooked pasta and most of the cooked bacon, saving about 1/4 cup for the topping.
Scoop the macaroni mixture into the prepared muffin tin. It’s OK for pasta to be mounded up above the edge of the pan.
In a small bowl, stir together remaining 1/2 c. shredded cheese, 1/4 c. cooked bacon, and dill. Sprinkle about a tablespoon of this mixture on top of each mac and cheese cup. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until edges are brown and topping is melted and bubbly.
Allow to cool in pan for at least 10 minutes. Carefully run a butter knife around the edge of each mac and cheese cup to loosen it from the pan, and serve immediately or place on a wire rack to cool before storing.
- Prep Time: 15
- Cook Time: 35
- Category: Main
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