Smoked Gouda Bacon Macaroni and Cheese

Smoked Gouda Bacon Macaroni and Cheese

Smoked Gouda Bacon Macaroni and Cheese

This post was sponsored by Better Than Bouillon as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

Smoked Gouda Bacon Macaroni and Cheese

I don’t know about you, but to me, the holidays are all about comfort food! Warm, heavy, sleepy-after-eating dishes that you only make occasionally and love them all the more for it. This Smoked Gouda Bacon Macaroni and Cheese (featuring Better Than Bouillon) is exactly that: warm, comforting, delicious, and the next star of your holiday table.

This year, the holidays look pretty different. and there’s a lot of disappointment in that. But these hearty, comforting family recipes can help the holidays feel a whole lot more traditional and connected.

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Smoked Gouda Bacon Macaroni and Cheese – the Ingredients

flatlay of 2 pan smoked gouda macaroni and cheese and better than bouillon chicken base 1

This Smoked Gouda Macaroni and Cheese is mostly made up of typical, probably-in-your-pantry ingredients, like macaroni noodles, milk, butter, flour, oregano and thyme. Hopefully Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base is a staple in your fridge, too! (If you’re not sure what that is, see the section below – I’m filling you in!)

You’ll also need bacon; I prefer a thinner cut that can really crisp up nicely for good crumbles. A block of white cheddar and a block or wheel of smoked gouda are the stars of this dish, so buy good quality! Lastly, I used a can of fire roasted tomatoes, but you can use regular canned diced tomatoes, or leave them out altogether if you don’t like tomatoes.

You could also replace your tomatoes with any other veggie: broccoli, peas, etc.

What is Better Than Bouillon?

Better Than Bouillon jars outside 1

Better Than Bouillon is like a super-condensed chicken/vegetable/beef broth. It’s like bouillon cubes but a million times better. I first started using it after my meal delivery service kept sending concentrated/condensed chicken broth to make sauces and it was soooooo quick and easy, because I never had to wait for the broth liquid to boil away and thicken. It means I spend less time in the kitchen, and more time doing the things I want to be, like playing with Camden.

roasted sheet pan lemon garlic fish and vegetables 1

I find the jars in any grocery store, and I always keep one or two in the fridge and an extra in the pantry! One of my favorite recipes – aside from this Smoked Gouda Macaroni and Cheese – is my Lemon Garlic Sheet Pan Fish and Veggies. The Better Than Bouillon base gives my recipes a cooked-low-and-slow flavor in a quick and easy way! My favorites? The Roasted Chicken base, Seasoned Vegetable base, and Roasted Garlic base!

Making the Macaroni

Boiling the macaroni noodles is pretty straight forward, right? It’s probably a skill we’ve all got.

better than bouillon roasted chicken base

But, I’ve got a trick for you: bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once it’s boiling, stir in 2 teaspoons of Better Than Bouillon Roasted Chicken Base (or Vegetable Base). This gives your macaroni noodles a delicious flavor to cook in.

Add 16 ounces of macaroni noodles and turn the heat down to medium. Cook the noodles, stirring occasionally – they may stick a little more with the chicken base – until al dente, 8-12 minutes. Drain the noodles and set aside.

How to Make Smoked Gouda Cheese Sauce

ingredients in smoked gouda white cheddar cheese sauce 1

Use the large side of a box grater to grate 1 1/4 cups each white cheddar and gouda.

While the macaroni noodles are cooking, heat 6 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat in a saucepan. 

When butter is melted, whisk in 1/4 c. flour quickly until smooth. Stir in 1 tsp. Better Than Bouillon Roasted Chicken Base.

adding better than bouillon roasted chicken base to roux 1

Pour in the milk and/or heavy cream and stir well.

adding milk to cheese sauce roux 1

Continue to cook over medium high, stirring often, until milk begins to thicken.

When milk thickens, remove saucepan from heat and whisk in 1 cup shredded gouda and 1 cup white cheddar, a handful at a time, until combined and smooth. (Whisk quickly, nonstop and vigorously.)

whisking shredded cheese in macaroni sauce 1

Optional: Sprinkle in oregano and/or thyme and stir to combine. 

whisk with smoked gouda cheddar cheese sauce 1

Finishing the Smoked Gouda Bacon Mac and Cheese

vertical view of smoked gouda white cheddar macaroni and cheese 1

Grab your bacon. (I usually already have this cooked, or I toss it in the air fryer while I’m making the cheese sauce.) Crumble the bacon into small crumbles.

pour gouda white cheddar cheese sauce into macaroni 1

Pour the cheese sauce over the top of the macaroni noodles and stir to coat.

Stir in drained fire-roasted tomatoes and most of the crumbled bacon (reserve a handful).

add bacon and tomatoes to noodles and cheese sauce 1

Pour macaroni and cheese into a 9×13 baking dish. Top with remaining cheese (1/4 cup each cheddar and gouda) and reserved crumbled bacon. 

If desired: place in oven under broiler to melt cheese, 1-2 minutes. Watch carefully to prevent burning.

vertical view of smoked gouda white cheddar macaroni and cheese 1

Tips and Tricks

Can I use regular (unsmoked gouda)? Sure, if you can’t find smoked gouda, regular will work. The smoked gouda just adds a delicious smokiness that you don’t want to miss out on if you can help it!

I’m a vegetarian – can I substitute for the Better Than Bouillon Roasted Chicken Base? Absolutely! Better Than Bouillon has a delicious seasoned vegetable base that you could use in place of the chicken base!

man eating plate of smoked gouda white cheddar bacon macaroni and cheese 1

Make-Ahead Instructions for Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese

You can make this entire recipe ahead of time (it’s best if it’s just the day before), up to pouring it into 9×13 baking dish. Do not top with cheese or reserved bacon.

On the day that you’re going to serve the recipe, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Stir about 1/3 cup of milk into the baking dish to give it some extra moisture to soak up. Cover with foil and heat in the oven until heated through, about 15-25 minutes. During the last 5 minutes, remove the foil and sprinkle the cheese and bacon over the top so it can melt.

Smoked Gouda & Cheddar Bacon Macaroni and Cheese
Servings: 12 servings
Author: Lisa Bonny
Ingredients
For Cheese Sauce:
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 c. flour
  • 2 1/4 c. milk or cream (I used 2 c. 2% and 1/4 c. heavy cream)
  • 1 tsp. Better Than Bouillon Roasted Chicken base
  • 1 1/4 c. shredded smoked Gouda
  • 1 1/4 c. shredded white cheddar
  • 1/4 tsp. oregano (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp. thyme (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
For the Macaroni:
  • 16 oz. dry macaroni noodles
  • 2 tsp. Better Than Bouillon Roasted Chicken Base
  • 1 c. fire roasted tomatoes
  • 6 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
Instructions
  1. Bring a pot of water to boil over high heat.

  2. Stir in 2 teaspoons Better Than Bouillon Roasted Chicken Base. Add 16 ounces dry macaroni and turn heat down to medium.

  3. Cook 8-10 minutes, or until noodles are al dente. Drain and set aside.

Make Cheese Sauce:
  1. While noodles are cooking, heat 6 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat.

  2. When butter is melted, whisk in 1/4 c. flour until smooth. Stir in 1 tsp. Better Than Bouillon.

  3. Pour in milk and/or heavy cream and stir well. Continue to cook over medium high, stirring often, until milk begins to thicken.

  4. When milk thickens, remove saucepan from heat and whisk in 1 cup shredded Gouda and 1 cup white cheddar, a handful at a time, until combined and smooth. (Whisk quickly, nonstop and vigorously.)

  5. Optional: Sprinkle in oregano and/or thyme and stir to combine.

Putting Together Mac and Cheese:
  1. Pour cheese sauce over noodles. Stir.

  2. Stir in tomatoes and most of the crumbled bacon (reserve a handful).

  3. Pour macaroni and cheese into a 9×13 baking dish. Top with remaining cheese and bacon.

  4. If desired: place in oven under broiler to melt cheese, 1-2 minutes. Watch carefully to prevent burning.

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I’m Lisa – a married mama of one ninja-monkey toddler living in the cornfields of the Midwest. I’m so happy you’re sharing our journey with us! Here you’ll find family friendly recipes, kids/toddler related posts, and anything this mama is loving. I hope you also find a place of kindness and acceptance here. It takes a village, mamas!

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