Monday, January 23, 2012

NOT the Mac-n-Cheese in the Blue Box

Not there's anything wrong with the Kraft brand macaroni and cheese.  I like myself some Kraft every now and then.  I especially love to eat the bites in which the cheese powder has not been all the way stirred in, so you get an extra cheese-y (is that cheese?) bite. 

But THIS stuff, it's good.  And it's one pot (well, plus a colander, a spoon, and a pan if you want to add bacon). 

I've actually tried two different recipes for this dish and read a bunch more.  I've kind of compiled elemetns of all of them and created this pasta, cheese-y masterpiece....

Momma's One-Pot, Not-the-Blue-Box Mac-n-Cheese

2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
2 1/2 cups milk
1 cup grated cheese (can be a combination of whatever you like, however, if you use a hard cheese, like parmesan, use it with a soft easier-to-melt cheese, too.)
1/2 tsp. ground mustard
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tbsp butter
bacon crumbles (optional)
toasted bread crumbs (optional)

Rinse uncooked macaroni in a collander and drain.

In a medium saucepan, combine macaroni, milk, butter, salt, mustard, and nutmeg.  Cook on MEDIUM until simmering.  Stir often.

Once the mixtures simmers, turn heat to LOW and cook for 15-20 more minutes or until milk is nearly completely, stirring frequently.

Once milk is absorbed and pasta is soft, add cheese (I used 1/3 cup parmesan and 2/3 cup colby-jack) and stir.  Turn off heat, cover pot, and let sit for 5 minutes.  

After 5 minutes I added crumbled bacon and stirred it in.  Then I topped with toasted bread crumbs.

I cooked the bacon while I made the mac-n-cheese, then crumbled it when it cooled.  With a little of the bacon grease still in the pan, I added some bread crumbs (I had garlic & herb - it tasted yummy!) and stirred them over a MEDIUM-LOW heat until browned. 
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