Bacon and Caramelized Onion Cheesy Pasta

Have you ever been reading through recipes looking for an appetizer to prepare for a party
and get inspired to create a main dish casserole? Well, that was how dinner came to be tonight.
 In fact, it was almost gone before I remembered to take a picture!
 Bacon & Caramel Onion Cheesy Mac
that I had found on Pinterest. I tweaked it and added pasta to create a main dish.

Here’s the recipe:
2 cups whole wheat penne (prepare according to directions on package)
4 strips of bacon
1/2 large onion, sliced thinly
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 cups grated cheese (I used what I had – Tillamook Cheddar.)
1/2 cup sour cream (I only had light in the fridge.)
1/2 cup olive oil mayonnaise
1 wedge Laughing Cow Garlic and Herb Cheese
1/2 cup milk or half-n-half
1/2 cup finely grated cheese
1 short sleeve of Ritz crackers, crushed into crumbs
2 tablespoons butter
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cook bacon in a frying pan until crisp. Drain on paper towel, and crumble when cooled.
Place the slice onions in the bacon grease with the sugar, and cook slowly
until translucent and caramelized.
While bacon and onions are cooking, mix thoroughly the sour cream, mayo, cheese wedge
 and half-n-half in a large bowl. Then stir in the grated 1 1/2 cups grated cheese.
 Add the crumbled bacon, caramelized onion, and cooked pasta.
Stir until completely mixed, and then spoon into a casserole dish that has been sprayed
with cooking spray or buttered.
Toss the finely grated cheese with the cracker crumbs. Melt the butter and mix with cheese and crumb mixture until crackers absorb the butter evenly. Spread over the top of the casserole.
Bake for 20 minutes until cheese is bubbly and topping is golden brown.
My husband said that this was definitely a keeper!
Of course, each time I make it I’m sure I will tweak something like change
the type of cheese or use pancetta instead of bacon.
It’s really limited only by the imagination and the ingredients on hand.
Pair it with a salad and you have a complete meal.
Enjoying a quiet evening after sharing my heart for home by creating a yummy dinner!

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