Monday, January 17, 2011

Bacon Mac n' Cheese to ease the pain of defeet!

Good day blog world!

After a crushing defeat by the Jets yesterday, this New Englander is still a bit in shock!  Thankfully a giant pot of Bacon Macaroni & Cheese (+ several Sam Adams) helped to sooth the wounds of a game that I will not be able to talk about for at least several weeks! So deep in fact that I actually plan to cheer for the Steelers next week just so somebody crushes the Jets! (As I typed that I could mentally visualize my older sister smacking me for saying such things but its true!)

Ok, lets get back to perhaps the greatest collaboration since PB&J or JT & Timberland! (Stop judging, you know you love JT!!).  On Friday I tweeted how I was craving something cheesy and comforting (lets be honest, when I am not....).  The ever fabulous roommate suggested Mac n' Cheese and then came out with an idea/flavor combination that is EPIC!

BLT Macaroni and Cheese! 
(Bacon, Leek & Tomato)

How had I not thought of this sooner?  Everything I love in one cheesy pot of heaven!!!  We set out early on Sunday for supplies and managed to get everything (EPIC shopping adventure) except for the leeks.  No worries though, we ended up sauteeing an onion in the rendered bacon fat and added scallions for a fresh flavor.  I am ok with saying that this may have been one of the greatest meals I have ever made thanks to my roommate!!!
What you need:
Pasta (1lb)
Cheese 3 cups (we chose Gruyere and Swiss)
4 cups milk (we used Soy, not big cow's milk drinkers in our apt)
6 Tbl butter (relax! this makes a ton!)
6 pieces of bacon, chopped and cooked till crispy
1 med onion diced
4-5 scallions diced
1 can (14 oz) of diced tomatoes drained
1/2c flour
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Salt & Pepper
dash of hot sauce & Worcestershire Sauce

Whole grain makes me feel better about the amount of cheese and bacon I am about to consume!

Yummy Gruyere Cheese (picked this up at the local market)

Shred your own cheese for an added arm workout! Watch your fingers though!!!

mmmmm BACON!!!!
While your water is boiling start crisping your bacon in a separate pan.  After it is crispy remove bacon and add your onion to the pan (we hit it w/ a dash of white wine to deglaze the pan, not needed but we wanted all those bits!).

As I was cooking the onions & bacon, Erica was making a rue of flour and butter.  It is very easy, basically melt your butter and then add your flour while you are whisking the two together.  You want to fully incorporate the flour into the butter until you have a nice golden color.  Once that is combined add your milk slowly and start whisking!!! Goal is to have no lumps. As the mixture heats it will begin to thicken to a creamy sauce.

Whisk Whisk Whisk!! Another good arm workout!

Once heated, add your spices + hot sauce & Worcestershire sauce.  This will not make it spicy but does add a wonderful background heat to the whole dish.  Once your sauce is almost to a boil add in your cheese and keep stirring!  Remember no lumps!!  Next add in you pasta, bacon, onions, tomatoes and any other veggies you want (we added some frz green peas too).  Mix together until it is all coated in cheese sauce.

From here you could just go ahead and enjoy.  We took it one step further... we topped the mixture with a bit more cheese and italian style breadcrumbs.  Tossed it into a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes (or until its bubbling!).
Pre Oven

Oh did I mention we had a side salad to counter act the 3 cups of cheese?

Post oven bubbling cheesy heaven!!!!!

Extreme cheese close-up!!!

nom nomm nommm!!!  Cheese + Bacon = Happy Foodie!

And Voila!  You have a giant pot of comfort food that just about melts in your mouth!  This delicious dinner really helped sooth the pain of yesterday's loss and I imagine will be even better today as leftover lunch!

If you are a NE PATS Fan, how did you cope with yesterday's loss?  It seems that from the traffic on FB and Twitter that most fans are turning their energy to the Bruins, Celtics and counting down the days till Training Camp for the Sox (Feb 14th if you want to track!).

Tonight I am off to the Boston Food Bloggers Launch Party! My first official blogger event!! I am over the moon with excitement!!  Tune in tomorrow for a full recap!

Have a great Monday!