Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Mac & cheese, please - regular and brie with bacon

Mac & cheese is king, and homemade mac & cheese is so easy to make. I think people avoid it because of the roux - just call it a sauce, take your time and pay attention, and it will turn out great. It's a comfort food meal, so put your elastic pants on.

A few weeks ago I made a pan of my regular mac & cheese with ham and a pan of brie with bacon. Served with salad, it was a great meal.
Mac & cheese
Ingredients
1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked  to al dente (it will cook more in the oven)
5 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
3 cups whole or 2 percent milk
3 cups shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
nutmeg, ground or freshly grated - I do a small sprinkling - nutmeg has a STRONG flavor
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
2 ham steaks, cubed (optional)
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs (optional)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions
Heat a large pot of salted water to a boil, drop in pasta. Cook pasta to just shy of al dente.

Heat sauce pot with butter over medium heat, whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute, whisk in milk slowly. Allow the sauce to thicken, stirring frequently, and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Bring to a simmer. Add 2.5 Cups cheese, stirring in a figure eight motion. Stir in Dijon and ham and remove the sauce from heat. Drain pasta and combine with sauce. Grate nutmeg or add a sprinkle to the top and mix well. Go easy on that nutmeg!

Spray a 9x13 casserole dish with nonstick spray. Pour macaroni in. Cover with remaining cheddar cheese. Mix panko bread crumbs and parmesan cheese in a bowl and sprinkle over top.

Bake at 425 for 15 minutes.

Mac & cheese with brie and bacon
Ingredients
1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked  to al dente (it will cook more in the oven)
9 slices bacon, chopped and then cooked (retain some of the grease)
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup fat free half & half
3/4 cup 2% milk
1.5 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
8 ounces brie, rind removed, cut into pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Directions
Cook bacon over medium heat in a skillet, about 5 minutes. Drain and remove from pan and set aside to cool.

Add 2 tablespoons of bacon grease back into the skillet. Melt two tablespoons of butter in grease. Turn skillet to low and add flour. Whisk for 1 minute to remove flour taste. Whisk in milk and half & half until well-incorporated and thick. Stir frequently. Make sure you're scraping the bottom of your pan so you get every blessed piece of leftover bacon schmutz incorporated into your sauce. It will make the heavens sing.

Add cheddar and brie and whisk gently in a figure eight motion until melted. Remove from heat. Add salt, pepper, garlic powder and stir well. Combine cheese sauce with macaroni and bacon.

Spray a 9x13 casserole dish with nonstick spray. Pour macaroni in. Cover with remaining cheddar cheese. Mix panko bread crumbs and parmesan cheese in a bowl and sprinkle over top.

Cook at 325 for 20 minutes, then put under the broiler for 2-3 minutes to add some crunch.

**************************************
Haikuesday
Popularity:
Bitches be like, "mac and cheese!"
Everyone loves you.
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Ciao bellas.

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Linking up with Blissfully Miller and Let's Get Bananas for

27 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh, what a perfect meal for a day like today. Yum, I can't wait to try this! I hope you're ok sitting at the train, I know so many are delayed. Thinking of you, stay warm <3

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  2. PS- SPONSOR!!!! Looks great!!! Congrats love! <3

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  3. YUMMY! i stole my friend's mac and cheese recipe and it was delish! i will be adding this to my book too so thanks!

    kathy
    Vodka and Soda

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  4. Oh how I love Mac and Cheese. Mmmmmmmm. Damn you!

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  5. But really, why bother with fat free half and half when you are using 5 lbs of cheese? I am intrigued and want this brie and bacon in my life so maybe it will motivate me to get into the kitchen sometime soon-ish.

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  6. The Brie and Bacon sounds amazing!! Bring on the yoga pants!

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  7. mac&cheese is amazeballs. I wish it was good for you, my life would be so much easier.

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  8. Mac and cheese is the #BEESKNEES! Healing lights for your frozen toes. Again, this is the craziest weather EVER!
    31 in Alaska and record low of 4 degrees in the Phila. area. C'mon, summer! Grateful that the snow melted and all roads were dry last night. My boys were out til past 11:30 from their indoor soccer game!
    Think warm thoughts.
    Love your MOMMA

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  9. Ummm yummmm!! This looks awesome. I love the brie and bacon idea!!

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  10. Mac and cheese from scratch is THE best. My mom made some for Christmas this year and it was my favorite gift of allllll! I made this crazy 5 cheese version once... holy.deliciousness. Paula Dean. You know it was good. I'm gonna have to try some with brie though! I don't discriminate when it comes to cheese! Except goat cheese. Shit's nasty. Just because you can milk something doesn't mean you should.

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  11. mac and cheese is the best food in the world. i crave it. this one with brie and bacon sounds to die for.

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  12. I don't even know if elastic pants would be enough, because I'd eat that entire tray myself. Both of them.

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  13. Mac and cheese should be a food group of its own.

    Love the haiku!

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  14. Macaroni, yum!
    Make it with lots of cheeses
    and send it to me!

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  15. Haha. So my homemade mac is close to your regular recipe. I made it once, and now I get crap if I cheat with the box!! But I LOVE CHEESE! And definitely need to try the brie version. WHAT?!?! And the hubs should like it - hello! It has bacon!! Thanks for sharing!

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  16. I make my roux with cornstarch, and don't even have to melt the fat first. I put butter, corn starch, spices, and milk all into the saucepan to start, Nd just whisk until it comes to a boil. Love that method!

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  17. I love mac n cheese way too much... these both sound delish!

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  18. Can I put brie and bacon in everything?!? Homemade mac and cheese is on my recipe bucket list, fo sho.

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  19. My grandma's macaroni and cheese recipe included Velveeta cheese, and while Velveeta kind of scares me (why is it not cold?!?!), it was the most amazing macaroni and cheese I have ever had.

    I am a mac and cheese purist--nothing fancy or extra, just the basics. My MIL made it for Christmas Eve and put cream of mushroom soup and ONIONS in it. Barf.

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  20. I love homemade mac and cheese. Really, there is nothing better. I OD'd on Christmas eve on mac and cheese. I don't think I'll be eating it again for awhile :)

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  21. I would literally eat anything that was covered in brie or bacon so the combo might put me over the edge!

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  22. yum to homemade mac and cheese! i need to try that out sometime soon!
    -- jackie @ jade and oak

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  23. This looks yummy!! I LOVE Mac and Cheese!

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  24. Gimme the one with brie all day every day...minus the bacon! Printing this out and adding it to my "little" recipe book! I am drooling and it's late and I want some mac and cheese. Thanks!

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  25. Brie with bacon? Holy crap. That might be the end-all, be-all for mac and cheese. Sign me up. I'm going to have to try that one.

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