If you’ve been reading this blog for a while now, you know that my love affair with macaroni and cheese is second only to my love affair with bacon. There’s no mac and cheese adventure I won’t try, from cupcakes to soup, and those who know me well are constantly making sure I know everything there is to know about Variations On Macaroni And Cheese. But you never know what is around the next corner, and that’s how it went with this recipe for bacon tomato macaroni and cheese. My friend Dennis and I love to swap recipe ideas, and we’ve been doing that for about the last, oh, twenty years or so. (Yep, Dennis, it’s been that long. It’s kind of amazing that neither of us has aged one bit in all that time, isn’t it? You keep telling me that and I’ll keep telling you!) Anyway, it took him about 19 years and 6 months to mention to me that there was a dish he remembered fondly from his childhood that was a scrumptious version of macaroni and cheese. It involved tomatoes and bacon and potato chips. No, he didn’t have a recipe for it, only fond, fond memories.
This is the kind of thing that keeps me up at night.
He did have one final clue, however. He remembered that the recipe was from Totie Fields.
Yep, that Totie Fields. That clue plus a quick internet search made it possible for me to get some sleep, because after Googling various combinations of “Totie Fields” and “macaroni,” “cheese,” “bacon” and “tomato” turned up something called “Totie Fields Luncheon Dish”. It called for macaroni, cheddar cheese soup, milk, stewed tomatoes, raw bacon and potato chips all mixed up and baked. (That was pretty much the extent of the directions.) I printed it out and handed it to Dennis, who had a joyous reunion with the recipe. I decided to take some liberties with it, because while I wholeheartedly support cheddar cheese soup under the right circumstances, I couldn’t quite go through with the stewed tomato and raw bacon part. Tomatoes and bacon yes. Stewed and raw…nope.
So I subbed in some sliced fresh cherry tomatoes and a generous amount of cooked bacon (the original recipe didn’t specify an amount of bacon, which made me love it even more), stirred the whole thing up and popped it in the oven.
And you know what? It was pretty dang good. Creamy, with a hit of salty bacon flavor, sweet tomato taste and a little crunch on top from the potato chips. And the moral of the story is, you truly never know where your next great mac and cheese is coming from. Sometimes it just takes a while to arrive!
- 1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
- 2 cans cream of cheddar cheese soup
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
- 8 slices bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces, cooked and drained
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Crushed potato chips
- Preheat oven to 350 and grease a large casserole dish.
- Mix together all ingredients except crush chips and pour into the casserole. Sprinkle crushed chips on top.
- Bake for 45 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes and serve.
Adapted from a recipe attributed to Totie Fields