Bacon Baskets and Balls with Spicy Mac and Cheese

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Bacon Baskets with FarmLand bacon

Thanks to the great folks at Farmland® for making this post possible. While this is a compensated campaign in collaboration with Farmland® and Latina Bloggers Connect, all comments and my love for slow smoked bacon and fast paced basketball are all my own.

I love a basketball game well played, so I always enjoy this time of year when college basketball is at its most exciting. I especially like the drama of new stars showing up for the big dance with their A-game, and I even enjoy those smaller details, like the sound of the ball bouncing on the hardwood floor.

So I thought, wouldn’t it be nice to have a delicious, basketball-inspired recipe just in time for the weekend? We can watch the remaining eight teams dribble, run, pass, and shoot for their chance at history, while munching on a yummy bacon ball treat or a basket of Farmland® bacon (just right because it is slow smoked over hardwoods for maximum flavor) stuffed with creamy, spicy macaroni and cheese. Yum!

Basket-balls with bacon

Both will satisfy and delight even the pickiest hoopster on your team!

Enjoy!

Farmland bacon

Bacon Baskets

  • 1 package Farmland®  Thick Cut Bacon
  • 1-2 mini-cupcake baking sheets
  • 1-2 baking pans
  • Toothpicks

Pre-heat oven 450 degrees F.

Turn the mini-cupcake baking sheets over. Take a slice of bacon and cover each of the cupcake molds. Hold in place with the toothpicks. Place the cupcake baking sheet inside the baking pan, this will hold the drippings.

Raw bacon baskets

Bake for 20 minutes or until hard and golden.

Bacon baskets

Fill the baskets with the macaroni and cheese and serve the bacon balls on the side

Spicy Mac and Cheese

  • 16 cups of water
  • 16 oz macaroni
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 8 oz extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup romano cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pepper to taste

For topping

  • 1 cup panko crumbs
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup romano cheese, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 serrano pepper, seeded and finely chopped

Macaroni and cheese with serrano pepper

Bring the water to a boil and cook pasta according to instructions on the package.

Melt the butter in a medium pot over medium-low heat and add the flour, mix and stir for two minutes. Pour in milk, bring just to the boil, then lower the temperature and simmer for 3 more minutes, stirring constantly, until creamy. Add cheddar, romano and parmesan cheeses, salt and pepper, mix until well blended. Turn off heat and set aside.

When pasta is ready, strain but reserve half a cup of liquid. Mix pasta, sauce and liquid and pour into a 9×9 glass baking pan.

Prepare the topping: Mix panko, parmesan and romano cheeses, butter and serrano pepper. Spread on top of macaroni.

Bake macaroni for 10-15 minutes until topping is golden.

Bacon turkey balls

Bacon Balls

Makes 20-22

Start to finish: 45 minutes

  • 4 slices of Farmland® Classic Cut Bacon, cooked and crumbled. (Tip: For decades, Farmland® has taken pride in perfecting their curing and smoking technique – a difference you’ll taste in every delicious bite.)
  • 2 oz ham, finely chopped
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1/3 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 10 cilantro sprigs, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup panko crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sweet & spicy mustard

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Mix all ingredients together until well blended. Form balls of 1.5 inches diameter and put them on a baking sheet.

Bake balls for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

That’s it. I hope your team wins (unless they are playing against my team)!

Enjoy!

This is a compensated collaboration with Farmland® and Latina Bloggers Connect. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

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