Bacon Broccoli Mac and Cheese
This Bacon Broccoli Mac and Cheese is the ultimate weeknight meal. This ultra-cheesy meal will feed a family of four for $10. It’s easy on the stomach and your wallet!
Scoring a winning weeknight recipe on a budget can be a bit daunting, which is why I’ve done the work for you–you’re welcome (*insert elaborate bow*)!
This Bacon Broccoli Mac and Cheese uses the help of Harris Teeter‘s private label items to help keep meal-planning costs low. Their high-quality private label items are located throughout the store and can be identified by their red square logo. Do yourself a favor and shop the square to save big!
To help get the kiddos to eat their daily supply of veggies, I hid broccoli in the velvety cheese sauce. What kid doesn’t like broccoli and cheese? Matter of fact, I’m 100% sure your kids will love this dish. I know this because I found a kid that happily tested the recipe.
I sent one of my co-workers home with a bowl of this Bacon Broccoli Mac and Cheese and she said her little dude loved it! He loved it so much that he didn’t want to share–not even with his mama. That kid is my spirit animal, for sure!
Not only does this dish come in at a whopping $10, it comes together in just under 30-minutes. Who’s winning? You are, friends…you are!
While the pasta water comes to boil, you’re going to start prepping the creamiest cheese sauce ever, and it starts with a little bacon fat that gets rendered from the crispy bacon that was in the pan just moments before. Bacon fat and butter–oh my!
To help battle clean-up efforts later, we’re going to use pre-shredded Cheddar and Colby Jack cheese that you’ll conveniently find in the refrigerator section of your local Harris Teeter. Weeknights are busy, so let’s keep that shit easy, okay?
The chopped broccoli will cook right along with the pasta in the same pot of boiling water. Two birds! Once it’s slightly soft (about 4-5 minutes), you’ll remove it with a slotted spoon and add it right to the creamy béchamel sauce (a fancy term for creamy white sauce). I prefer to blend my broccoli a bit to impart maximum broccoli flavor into the cheese sauce, but feel free to leave it chunky if you so desire. If you are going to blend the broccoli, you can use one of three methods: 1. Add half the sauce to a blender and pulse, 2. Add half the sauce to a food processor and pulse, or (the easiest method) 3. Use an immersion blender to break up the broccoli right in the pot.
In 30 minutes, you’ll be dishing up a deliciously cheesy meal.
Bacon Broccoli Mac and Cheese
- 8 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups milk, 2% milk fat or higher
- 1 cup half and half
- 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
- ½ teaspoon ground mustard
- ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon Beau Monde seasoning, or seasoned salt
- 1 pound macaroni
- 4 cups chopped broccoli
- 2 ounces Velveeta cheese
- 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
- 1 cup shredded Colby Jack cheese
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- While the water comes to a boil, add the bacon to a large pot over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring often, until the bacon is crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Remove the bacon fat from the pot, reserving 2 tablespoons. Add the butter and cook until melted. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
- Slowly whisk in the milk and half and half. Add the worcestershire sauce, ground mustard, garlic powder, and Beau Monde seasoning (or seasoned salt); whisk to combine. Bring the mixture to boil, whisking often, until the sauce thickens.
- Season the boiling water with a few generous pinches of salt. Add the pasta and chopped broccoli to the water. Cook the broccoli for 4-5 minutes, or until tender. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the broccoli to the thickened béchamel sauce. Continue to cook the pasta until al dente. Strain and set aside.
- Add the Velveeta cheese to the béchamel sauce. Continue to cook, stirring often, until melted. Using an immersion blender, blend the broccoli into the sauce until slightly chunky. Alternatively, transfer half of the cheese sauce to a blender or food processor and pulse to combine, transferring the sauce back to the pot.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the Cheddar and Colby Jack cheese. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Fold in the pasta and cooked bacon. Serve immediately.
For other $10 meals to add to your weekly menu, check out these recipes:
- Mediterranean Grilled Veggie Pita Pizza
- Waffle Iron Turkey & Smoked Gouda Panini
- One-Pot Chili Mac
- Mediterranean Chopped Salad with Tuna
Disclosure: Thank you to Harris Teeter for sponsoring this post. All opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for supporting my site while I work with brands I use in my kitchen.