3 cups uncooked shaped pasta (12-14 ounces)
¼ cup butter or margarine, cut into pieces
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1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
1½ cups half-and-half
2 cups shredded mild cheddar cheese, divided
1 cup shredded smoked bacon cheddar cheese, divided (see note)
8 ounces processed cheese slices, diced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ cup cooked, chopped bacon (about 8 slices)
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 2-quart casserole dish cooking spray.
Cook and drain macaroni as directed on package, using minimum cook time. Put the macaroni back in the pot and stir in the butter. Set aside.
While the noodles cook, start the sauce. In a medium sauce pan, heat evaporated milk and half-and-half to a simmer. In batches, stir in 1½ cups mild cheddar cheese, ½ cup bacon cheese and all the processed cheese; stir until melted, about 10 minutes. Add mustard, salt and pepper; stir to blend well. Pour sauce over noodles and stir to coat.
Pour mixture into the casserole dish and sprinkle with chopped bacon and the rest of the cheese. Bake 12-15 minutes until cheese on top is golden.
Alternate cooking method: Cook noodles to minium cooking time. Add drained noodles to a 3½- to 4-quart slow cooker that's been coated with nonstick spray; stir in butter, cheeses, mustard, salt and pepper. Cover; cook on LOW 2 to 3 hours, stirring once halfway through cooking time. During last 15 minutes of cooking, sprinkle with remaining ½ cup cheeses and the bacon.
Cook's note: We used Cabot's smoky bacon cheese; it's a white cheddar with flecks of bacon. You could use regular cheddar or another flavored cheese such as pepper Jack.
Adapted from Pillsbury.com