Thursday, March 27, 2014

Smoked Gouda and Bacon Mac & Cheese


When planning my meals, I try to keep things balanced with a protein, vegetable, and a starch.  However, there are days (and you know what I am talking about) when you just want some good ol' fashioned comfort food!  Last night was such a night in The Kitchen Wife's home!  We are having some work done in our home, getting ready to go out of town this weekend, and just dealing with everyday life! I had reached my limit, so for dinner I decided to go for comfort all the way!

Now when I think of comfort food, many things come to mind...but the one dish that is pretty much at the top of everyone's list is Mac & Cheese!  Since this was going to be our one and only entrĂ©e tonight, I decided that I wanted to amp things up a bit. I chose to use smoked gouda for my cheese sauce and to add a little something-something with bacon!  The result was pure, heartwarming, deliciousness and I can't wait to share with you how I did it! 

Let's get started!

Ingredients:




  • 1/2 a pound of your favorite pasta
  • 1 c. shredded smoked gouda cheese
  • 2 c. milk
  • 4 strips of bacon, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • salt and pepper
Tools:
  • Skillet
  • Baking dish
  • stock pot
  • Whisk
  • Chef's Knife
  • slotted spoon
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Box Grater
  • paper towel
Directions:



As always you will want to get that pot of salted water on to boil before you slice and dice anything!



To begin, you will need to dice up your bacon. 
I find putting it in the freezer for 30 minutes prior to dicing helps with this.


After you have diced your bacon, place it in a COLD skillet!
This is important.  If you all the bacon to a hot skillet, you will caramelize your bacon, but not really render the fat. 
We are wanting to use the bacon fat in our roux, so rendering is a top priority.
Turn the heat on medium high and allow the bacon to cook.
This process will take about 10 minutes.


While your bacon is rendering, this will be the perfect time to
shred the cheese, dice your onion, and mince your garlic.


Once your bacon has rendered and is crispy...


Remove it from your pan with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel. 


By this time your water should be at a boil.
Add your pasta of choice and cook according to the directions on the box. 


Next, add the diced onions to the pan and cook until soft and translucent.


Once your onions are soft and translucent, add the garlic and cook until you smell
it come from the pan.


Now you will add the flour.


Whisk the flour into the grease until smooth.
Let it cook for 2 minutes to get rid of any unwanted raw flour taste in your cheese sauce.


After you have allowed the flour to cook, add the milk. 
Drop the temp, and bring to a simmer.  Let the sauce thicken.


When your sauce has thickened, add half of the cooked bacon.


Remove from the heat and add the shredded cheese.


Whisk until the cheese has melted and is smooth.
If you sauce is to thick for your liking, just add a little more milk and whisk. 


Now add the cooked pasta and stir into your sauce.
At this point, if you are not going to bake your mac & cheese in your pan you would transfer it into a greased baking dish.


Top with the other half of the bacon, some buttered bread crumbs, or some parmesan cheese.
Put in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes and YUM! 

So the next time you have a really rough week, or you just need a little Hump Day pick-me-up,
give this delectable mac & cheese recipe a try.  I guarantee you will not be disappointed!  Have a great day everyone and as always...

Happy Reading, Happy Eating, and Happy Living,

~The Kitchen Wife~








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