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When each new year comes around, I always say that this is my year to lose weight! Apparently the last ten years have not been my year haha! This year felt different somehow and I vowed that I was going to start eating healthier. I also decided to stop beating myself up if I did decide to have that occasional burger or that scoop of ice cream. Since January 1st I am happy to report that I have lost 20 pounds and am feeling great. I’ve been doing the online Weight Watchers program and keeping myself accountable. They have so many recipes you can choose from and when I saw this mac and cheese recipe, I had to make it.
What I love about the Weight Watchers program is that there are healthier versions of recipes for all of my favorite foods. This way I don’t feel deprived, like with this mac and cheese recipe. It is easy to make and delicious. Plus, it has lots of flavor and is great to save leftovers for lunch. Not to mention it has bacon in it, which makes everything better. The recipe called for turkey bacon, but I used center cut bacon, which is the same amount of points.
4 slices cooked center cut bacon, cut in pieces, divided
2 Tbsp panko breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
1 small sweet red pepper, finely chopped
1 small white onion, finely chopped
1 3/4 cup fat free milk
1 Tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 cup low fat shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 tsp cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray.
Cook pasta in large pot of salted boiling water according to package directions; drain.
Meanwhile, cook panko breadcrumbs with 1/4 of the bacon (you can cook bacon prior to this in the microwave or on the stove) in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until breadcrumbs are toasted. Remove to a bowl and stir in 1/2 tsp of parmesan cheese and set aside.
Place red pepper, onion, and remaining bacon into the same skillet and cook over medium heat until veggies are tender, about 7 minutes. Place veggies in separate bowl or plate and set aside.
Whisk milk and flour in same skillet over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the cheddar cheese, salt, cayenne pepper, and remaining Parmesan cheese.
Add the cooked pasta and vegetable mxture into skillet and toss. Transfer to prepared pie pan and then sprinkle top evenly with bread crumbs.
Bake until it bubles at the edges, about 15 minutes.