Macaroni & Cheese

I can't stand the stuff in the blue box - my kids like it, which is great, because it's an inexpensive meal when I don't feel like cooking (or eating), but personally, I think it's gross. The only time I crave it is when I'm pregnant, and I'm most definitely not pregnant.

I was, however, craving a good homemade Macaroni & Cheese after watching the Mac & Cheese challenge on Food Network earlier this week. I searched online for recipes, and a lot of recipes had various characteristics that I like in my Mac & Cheese, but none of them seemed like "the one." I ended up making a smash-up of two different recipes (Alton Brown and Guy Fieri), and the results were pretty dang good. So good, in fact, that there aren't enough leftovers to make fried Mac & Cheese tomorrow (AB's suggestion for the leftovers).

I don't want to forget the recipe, so I'm going to post it here so that I can look it up later.

Macaroni & Cheese

8oz Pasta (I used mini penne because it's what I prefer over elbow macaroni)
4 pieces of bacon, cooked and crumbled (reserve 1 TBS bacon grease and don't wash the skillet)
3 TBS Butter
3 TBS Flour
1/2 tsp Ground Mustard
3 C Milk (or Half & Half if you're bad like me)
1/4 C Yellow Onion, Finely Diced
1/2 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Ground Thyme
1/2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 Large Egg
16 oz Grated Cheddar Cheese
1 tsp Kosher Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper


1 1/2 TBS Butter
1/2 C Panko Bread Crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cook bacon until it's cooked how you like it for crumbling. Reserve 1 TBS of bacon grease. Add onion to the skillet with the reserved grease and cook until onions are caramelized.

Boil a pot of salted water and start cooking pasta.

While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, add the onions and melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it's free of lumps. Stir in the milk, thyme, Worcestershire Sauce, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes.

Temper in the egg. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.

Melt the butter in a saute pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs and crumbled bacon. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.

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