Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Mac and Cheese, Bacon, Onion and Toasted Panko Crumbs

Kary’s take on Chocolate Moosey’s French Onion Macaroni and Cheese

Kary's take Mac and Cheese
Last week a Facebook post by Carla over at Chocolate Moosey caught my eye. Not only did the picture make me hungry but any recipe that mentions French Onions catches my interest, so of course I had to make this recipe.
If you don’t already know this I am inspired by recipes and usually substitute ingredients with what I have in my pantry or fridge. Also what I can find at my local markets. So here is my take on Carla’s yummy recipe. Thank you Carla for sharing!

First I have to admit that I have never made Macaroni and Cheese from scratch, so this is a first for me and thought I would try it for my grandsons last Saturday. We had planned a swim at our Casa and firing up the grill, lamb burgers were on the menu. 

I thought the boys 7 and 9 would love the Mac and cheese; as it turned out the adults, including me devoured this dish; so to say it was a success is putting it mildly. The boys were more interested in the corn on the cob.

A bite of Mac and cheese, bacon, toasted bread crumbs and caramelized onion, Oh my gosh a blending of flavors so delicious…You have to try this! 

I doubled the recipe and we had enough to send home some with Jake and Kitt. Also some left for two lunches this week and I tossed in grilled chicken breast…what can I say yummy!
In preparation for Saturday I stopped by my local Trader Joe’s and as I was staring at the pasta trying to figure out which pasta to buy one of the staff offered to help. I love this store everyone is always happy to help and oh so joyful!
Here’s my take on Carla’s French Onion Macaroni and Cheese, with a dash of bacon!
4 slices of Black Forest Bacon, All Natural Dry Rubbed Bacon (from Trader Joe’s)
1/4 cup of butter
1 small sweet yellow onion, sliced
8 ounces Trader Joe’s Italian Pennette
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup 2 % milk – My cheese mixture was really thick as I cooked it so I added about an additional ¼ cup of milk
1 cup Gruyere and white Cheddar cheese blend, also found at Trader Joe’s. Shred the cheese
Dash of Salt
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
Cut the bacon into bite size pieces and cook in a large skillet over medium heat. Remove the bacon from the skillet and retain about 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat. Add the sliced onions to the skillet and cook on medium on the stove top for about 20 minutes until caramelized to a golden brown, use a spatula to turn the onion every couple of minutes. Slow cooking the onions really brings out the sweetness of the onions. When the onions are golden brown set aside and keep warm.
Add the remaining bacon fat to the skillet, should be around a tablespoon, melt and stir in the bread crumbs, cook until brown. Watch closely and make sure you don’t burn the bread crumbs. Remove from the skillet and keep warm.
Cook the pasta per the instructions on the package, use a colander to drain the pasta when done.
While the pasta is cooking add 2 tablespoons of butter to the skillet you have been using and melt the butter. Once the butter is melted stir in the flour, slowly stir in the milk (I warm the milk for about 15 seconds in the microwave, cold milk will cause the warm butter and flour to be lumpy). Bring to a boil and continue to stir for about 3 to 4 minutes then stir in the cheese. Continue to stir until the cheese is melted and blended in.
In a large serving dish add the drained pasta and stir in the cheese and milk mixture. Top with the bacon and breadcrumbs. I did not have any parsley which was in the original recipe so I omitted it. 
We served the macaroni and cheese and left it to each of us to top with the cooked onions.
I will be making this again and again. My book club buddies are going to love this!
Just cook something! Cheers! Kary~
Do you have a favorite Macaroni and Cheese recipe? I would love to hear about it. Thank you for stopping by!

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