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POTLUCK with Michael Patrick McKinley

I was 12 before I knew what Kraft Macaroni & Cheese was, and even then I encountered it a some other kids house. No, in our house this gooey, smokey casserole of my Mother's was what was known as mac n' cheese. I was recently informed that the original version started with her mother, and that the bacon was my sister's idea. Funny, but Mom never mentioned their contributions....

Regardless of who authored the various components, this is our family's contribution to the great casseroles of the world. It's a caloric caution, and the naughtiest little number in my arsenal of comfort foods.
In certain circles this is known as "crack and cheese". Make it once, you'll know why! 
The recipe makes allot, so you can half it if you want...but I always freeze some.
I like to serve it with warm cornbread...

1lb bacon
1 1/4 lbs. sharp cheddar, grated
1 1/4 lbs colby or longhorn, grated
2 med. onions, chopped
2 green bell peppers, diced
1 15oz can tomato sauce
1 32 0z. can diced tomatoes, with juices
1 48 oz box elbow macaroni

Chop raw bacon into 1inch pieces, and render in a frying pan until bacon is crispy.
Drain bacon and reserve. Pour off half of the bacon fat, and add onions. Saute over medium heat until onions start to become translucent, then add bell pepper pieces until they begin to soften. Boil macaroni per instructions, then drain. Stir in all ingredients [including reserved bacon], and turn into a 9x11 baking pan, or an oven-proof casserole dish.
Bake at 350 for approx. 40 minutes, or until the casserole is bubbly and gets crusty on top.

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