Spicy Smoky Macaroni and Cheese with Turkey Bacon
1 (16 ounce) package uncooked shell pasta
10 slices turkey bacon
1 (1 pound) loaf processed cheese food (such as Velveeta®)
¾ cup heavy cream
½ cup fat free half-and-half
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
⅜ teaspoon smoked paprika
Bring a large pot with lightly salted water to a rolling boil. Stir in the shell pasta and return to a boil. Cook the pasta uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta has cooked through, but is still firm to the bite, about 13 minutes. Drain well in a colander set in the sink.
While the pasta is cooking, place the turkey bacon strips between two paper towels on a microwave-safe plate. Cook in the microwave on High until the bacon is crispy, 4 to 6 minutes depending on the microwave. Allow the bacon to cool; crumble and set aside.
Once the pasta has cooked and is draining, combine the processed cheese, cream, and half-and-half in the pot that was used to cook the pasta. Cook and stir over medium heat until the cheese has melted and the sauce is bubbly. Remove from the heat; stir in the paprika, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and crumbled turkey bacon. Stir the cooked pasta into the sauce until evenly coated.
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