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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bacon Mac and Cheese

Montgomery's Cheddar cheeseImage via Wikipedia
Over the years I think I've made all kinds of mac and cheese variations. I've cooked generic box mixes, and added all kinds of meat products to higher grade boxed varieties, So after awhile I even started making it from scratch. I have done too creamy, too dry and believe it or not, too cheesy.
My hubby was not a fan of mac and cheese. I think it was a case of burn out from leaner years of eating - like the college years where you are learning to live on tuna fish or something equally exciting. But with this recipe he's becoming a fan, of course it has meat - bacon - which makes everything better.

Bacon Mac and Cheese
6-8 slices bacon cooked and crumbled
1/2 stick butter
1/4 cup flour
1 t. salt
1/4 t. white pepper
1 t. dry mustard
1/2 t. cumin
2 cup milk
1/2 large block Velveeta cheese cut in cubes
1/2  8 oz. package shredded Cheddar cheese (or what you have)
2 cups medium pasta shells, cooked and drained.

Preparation -
Fill large pot with water and heat to rapid boil. Add pasta and 1/2 t. salt. Bring to boil for 7 minutes. Spray 8x8 inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
While water is boiling, in large saucepan, melt butter. When butter is melted, slowly stir in flour to make a paste (like making a gravy or rue).
Check pasta, by now the noodles should be done. Let drain. Preheat oven to 350.
Slowly stir in milk a little at a time. Continue stirring until sauce begins to thicken, about 10-15 minutes (seems like forever). Take off heat and sprinkle in spices and bacon bits. Stir. Add chunks of Velveeta stirring just to combine. Pour pasta into cheese sauce, stirring to coat. Add remaining shredded cheese and stir to blend well. Pour into baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes or so until hot and bubbly. (Add 10 minutes or so more if you want it slightly browned.) Serves 8.

(Note-the smokey deluxe version of this would be to use smoked cheddar, gruyere and swiss cheeses.)
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