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Loaded Mac and Cheese

As a child growing up, I was a very picky eater. Butter, cheese, and a host of other delicious morsels were off limits to my palate. The only way mom could get me to eat mac and cheese was topping it with ketchup. However, with maturity, I am making up for lost tastes. This dish is a nod to the past with a tasty twist.

12 slices of thick sliced bacon
1 stick unsalted butter
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups mild cheddar cheese
2 cups Mexican cheese blend
1/4 cup good quality Parmesan cheese
1 chunk  Parmesan rind
1/2 cup diced green pepper
1/2 cup diced red pepper
1/2 cup diced mild Hatch chilies
1 jalapeno diced with seeds removed
1/2 cup sweet onion
3 thin sliced scallions (for topping)
2 tablespoons sun dried tomato paste
1 1/2 pounds of elbow macaroni

Start by boiling macaroni in a large stock pot of water with the parmesan rind added. No salt is needed, the rind provides enough. Cook until al dente, drain, then sent aside.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

While the macaroni is boiling, cook bacon in batches until crispy, saving about 2 tablespoons of bacon fat.

Add the peppers and onions to the bacon fat, sauteing until transparent, then set aside.

 In a large saute pan, add butter, cream, and cheeses, stirring until melted, smooth, and creamy.

Add half the bacon crumbled, onions, and peppers. Blend well.

Add the tomato paste, stirring until well mixed. 
Pour cheese over macaroni and blend well, sprinkling one cup mixed cheese on top. Pour mixture into a large casserole pan and bake for 20 minutes.
Top with remaining bacon crumbles and scallions just before serving.