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Appetizers and Sides

Bacon Pesto Mac and Cheese

There’s something so comforting about a big bowl of homemade mac and cheese. This recipe I developed is simple to prepare, thick, cheesy and ultra flavorful. I have fond memories of cooking in the kitchen with my mom and grandmother. We would make homemade mac and cheese together and have fun with different ingredient add-ins. Crispy pieces of bacon throughout, and garnished on top, make this mac and cheese hard to resist. The surprise ingredient is prepared basil which gets stirred in after the cheese sauce has been added to the pasta. This gives the mac and cheese a nice flavor punch and pairs nicely with the bacon. Enjoy!

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I am thrilled to share the National Pork Board’s Cooking For Comfort Free E-Cookbook. Whether or not there’s a chill in the air, those all-too-familiar cravings for a little taste of comfort have returned… and the National Pork Board has just the thing to help people across the country get cozy: it’s their first-ever “Cooking For Comfort” eCookbook.

Featuring time-honored favorites and new twists on classics from James Beard Award-winning Chef Michelle Bernstein, BBQ expert and author Ray Lampe and 10 leading food bloggers, the free cookbook highlights some of the tastiest ways to warm up with pork.

Be sure to download your copy today!

One of the recipes I contributed is my Bacon Pesto Mac and Cheese. This is one you do NOT want to miss. Cheesy and full of bacon deliciousness.


You start with a simple roux. Melt your butter, stir in your flour, salt and pepper then stir in your milk until nice and thick.


Stir in your cheeses until melted.

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 Excuse me while I high-dive into the cheese sauce 🙂

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Pour that sauce right into your cooked noodles then add your remaining ingredients.

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Bacon Pesto Homemade Mac and Cheese

Prep time: 20 min | Cook time: 20 min | Total time: 40 min


  • 1 pound dry elbow pasta
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups whole milk plus 1 cup, divided
  • 1 cup mild shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 8 ounces prepared pesto
  • 1 1/2 pounds cooked bacon, crumbled


  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Place butter into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Swirl pan until butter is melted then whisk in flour, salt and pepper. Whisk for 2 minutes, until bubbly and thick.
  3. Slowly whisk in 3 cups milk until well combined. Continue whisking and stirring until thickened, 2-3 minutes.
  4. Reduce heat to low and stir in cheeses until melted. Place cooked pasta into a large dutch oven or pot over low heat. Pour in cheese sauce, stirring to combine. Stir in pesto then add bacon pieces saving 1 cup for garnishing plates. Stir until combined. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve warm. Mac and cheese will set and get thick if not served immediately. To loosen sauce add splashes of additional milk to desired consistency.

Makes 8-10 Servings

Breakfast just got a little brighter with my Ham and Cheddar Green Chili Breakfast Sandwich. I will never forget early morning breakfasts at my house as a child. My mom made the absolute best breakfast sandwiches. She toasted the bread just right and cooked the egg just enough so the yolk dripped down the sides of the sandwich. Love those memories. With 4 pieces of thick cut ham and a few other ingredients you are likely to have in your pantry and refrigerator, this sandwich could not be more simple to prepare. To save yourself some time in the kitchen, you can cook your hash browns and brown your ham ahead of time. Your guests, and/or family will be over the moon when they are presented with this gorgeous breakfast sandwich. Enjoy!

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Ham and Cheddar Green Chili Breakfast Sandwich

Prep time: 10 min | Cook time: 10 min | Total time: 20 min


  • 4 slices ham, cut 1/4 inch thick. Should fit inside English Muffin
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 whole mild green chili peppers from can, drained and trimmed to fit inside English Muffin
  • 4 slices cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup cooked hash browns
  • 4 English Muffins, split, toasted and lightly buttered


  1. Preheat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Place ham slices into skillet, cooking each side until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Remove and keep warm.
  2. Wipe skillet to remove any black bits from the ham then spray skillet with non stick cooking spray and place back over medium heat. Cook eggs in batches if necessary. Season with salt and pepper. Flip eggs then top with green chili and slice of cheese. Cover skillet to melt cheese for a minute or so. Remove from heat.
  3. Place 2 tablespoons of cooked hash browns onto bottom layer of toasted English Muffin. Top with cooked slice of ham then egg, green chili and cheese. Close with top English Muffin. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 Servings

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of the National Pork Board. Opinions and text are my own.

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27 Responses | Comments RSS

  1. 1
    Tieghan says:

    Jenny, this looks incredible! That cheese sauce look perfectly cheesy and smooth. What a great dish for entertain big crowds or just the family dinner!

  2. 2

    That looks incredibly delicious! I love the combo of bacon and pesto.

  3. 3

    I was planning mac & cheese for dinner, but you just gave me the best idea for jazzing it up. Thanks Jenny!

  4. 4

    I would take a bath in that cheese sauce.

  5. 5

    I want both. For breakfast!!!

  6. 6

    There is little that comforts my soul like a big bowl of mac and cheese…especially if it includes bacon. Love this Jenny!

  7. 7

    You mac and cheese sauce always makes me swoon, Jenny!

  8. 8
  9. 9

    Oh my gosh… LOVE this. Your photos are beautiful.. Pesto on mac and cheese? Genius.
    ..and thank you for sharing the ebook! Have a lovely weekend..

  10. 10

    Holy cow! Wow mama! Mickey D’s could take a lesson from you on how to make a REAL Egg Mc you know what!

  11. 11
  12. 12

    That shot of the cheese sauce has got to be illegal in some states… woah.

  13. 13

    wow, i just want to faceplant into that cheese sauce!! this looks awesome!

  14. 14

    So many glorious things going on here

  15. 15

    Those pouring cheese sauce shots have me feeling whoozy!

  16. 16
    Gaby says:

    I could just dive right in! Such cheesy goodness!

  17. 17

    Look at this glorious cheesy dish! I just want a big plateful!

  18. 18
    Ambar says:

    Lately I’ve been craving mac and cheese. But not just regular mac and cheese, something with a twist! Thanks for the recipe!

  19. 19
    Kristi says:

    I can never get my sauce to thicken up like yours look. It looks so good!

  20. 20

    […] Potato & Maple Sausage Breakfast Skillet, to Lauren’s biscuits and gravy, Jenny’s Bacon Pesto Mac & Cheese, and so many […]

  21. 21
    marla says:

    LOVE this mac n cheese!

  22. 22
    Kayla says:

    Did anyone try the mac & cheese recipe? My cheese sauce ended up rather tasteless and doughy. Was the flour typed up wrong? I feel like there is too much.

  23. 23
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    […] Find the recipe at […]

  25. 25

    […] Serves 8- This recipe was adapted from Picky Palette […]

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    […] Find the recipe at […]

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Jenny Flake

Welcome to Picky Palate, my online kitchen! You'll usually find me with a cookie in one hand and a salad in the other. It's all about the balance :) The recipes you'll see are my creations. The Picky Palate Cookbook is now available. Enjoy!