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I'm a busy stay-at-home mommy of a 2 year old monst-- er toddler. This is a blog about stuff I like to cook, including recipes and pictures. <3

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Baked Mac + Cheese
Tuesday, May 5, 2009 | Time: 10:04 AM

Mac and cheese is one of the ultimate comfort foods. That and chicken 'n dumplings. Oh, and chocolate cake... :)~
I've seen a lot of shows on the food network involving baked Mac n Cheese, but I actually haven't ever made it myself. Yeah, I actually stick to the boxed, powdered cheese sauce kind... Sad but true. Meh X(
But from here on out, I may just go all out and do it this way. Its absolutely wonderful. It could easily make a fancy meal with some garlic bread and a nice salad. Or you could take it to your favorite potluck for something casual. Its pretty easy and versatile.

This recipe I grabbed off of the Lottie + Doof site. I used slightly different ingredients, though. They used penne pasta but I used a spiral one called Gemelli. Its really about texture, and I'm fond of spiral-y pasta. But you could probably do this with speggeti noodles if you were despreate, it would still be yummy.
I had some Olive Oil Crackers I'd made a week or so ago that I ground up in the blender to use as bread crumbs. They turned out wonderful! But you could get a similar effect with some Italian seasoned bread crumbs, too. I'd love to try this with panko, as suggested in the origonal recipe - just didn't have any on hand.
Also I used turkey bacon instead of "real" bacon. Just what I had on hand, and I'm quite fond of turkey bacon, tastes less greasy to me. Thats just me tho, if you're a bacon fan, go all out. Tip: I cooked up a bunch of bacon at once, saved some for salad topping <3

Baked Mac + Cheese

from Lottie + Doof
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 3 slices cooked, crispy bacon, diced
  • 1/2 cup of finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes or red pepper powder
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 3 cups coarsely grated sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 4 ounces Mascarpone or cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup panko or Italian bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 pound pasta with texture of your choice, cooked Al Dente

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook until crisp. Use a slotted spoon to remove bacon to paper towels to drain. Remove all but about 3 tablespoons of fat from the pan (if you're using "real" bacon). Add onion and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add red pepper and garlic, stir for 1 minute. Stir in 2 tablespoons butter, allow to melt, and then add the flour and stir for a minute. Gradually whisk in 3 cups of milk; simmer until thick enough to coat a spoon, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in 2 1/4 cups of cheddar and all of the Parmesan cheese and marscapone. Return bacon to sauce and season with salt and pepper, stir in parsely.

Preheat oven to 375 F. Lighly butter a 13×9x2 inch glass baking dish or similarly sized gratin dish. Toss pasta and cheese sauce and season again with salt and pepper, if needed. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish and top with remaining cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake until hot and topping is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

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