If you’re on a low carb or low fat diet, or if you think Velveeta is actually cheese, stop reading now. Nothing to see here. You will not enjoy what comes next.
When I think of recipe ideas that are centered around cheese, the obvious first though is mac & cheese! While I spent my college years and 20’s eating Velveeta Shells & Cheese, or Kraft Three Cheese with mini shells, now I’m a food snob and have to make my own homemade mac & cheese.
Side note: When I made Kraft Three Cheese mac & cheese, I would throw away 1/3 of the noodles, add just a smidge of butter & milk, and the entire cheese pack. The little bits of powdered cheese would stick together for an intense cheese-like flavor. Dreamy.
I’ve made this Buffalo Chicken mac & cheese many times and it is phenomenal. Award winning, some would say. But I wanted to try something new. My friends & I have done a mac & cheese contest the last 2 years so I had a list of great ideas. So this weekend, I put a poll on Facebook to decide which one to make, and Bacon Gouda mac won over Short Rib Mac (much to my husband’s dismay).
I used this Bacon Gouda Mac recipe as a guide and made a few changes to make a smaller batch and jazz up the flavor even more. With FIVE kinds of cheese and bacon in this recipe, you know it’s going to be good!
Whatever you do, do not use pre-shredded cheese! I use my food processor to shred bricks of cheese. The original recipe had measurements and I prefer to go by ounces. You can use whatever ratio you desire; I just went for 16 total ounces.
- 4 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 2 oz parmigiano reggiano, shredded
- 4 oz fontina, cheese shredded
- 4 oz smoked gouda cheese, shredded
- 2 oz muenster cheese, cubed
- 1/2 pound elbow macaroni (2 ish cups dry noodles)
- 1 1/2 cup milk (I used skim…healthy, right?)
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 6 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons butter (yes, more)
- 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
- salt pepper, and onion powder to taste
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Boil macaroni for 5 minutes, drain.
- Heat butter in medium size saucepan.
- Whisk in flours until there are no lumps.
- Slowly add milk, continuing to stir until the mixture is smooth.
- Add a handful of shredded cheese at a time, constantly stirring, until all cheese is added.
- Add seasonings and taste.
- Pour drained macaroni noodles into the cheese sauce and mix well, the mixture should be slightly soupy.
- Pour into round baking dish sprayed with Pam.
- Melt remaining 2 TBSP of butter in a small saute pan.
- Add sliced shallot and panko bread crumbs, stirring often until browned.
- Top mac and cheese with cooked bacon and the shallot and bread crumb mix.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until bubbling hot and you can’t wait to eat it so you burn the roof of your mouth.
This made 4 extremely generous, unhealthy, amazing servings. It could probably feed 6 less gluttonous people if served with a nice hefty salad.
I’m not at all mad about how this turned out!! Smokey, salty, crispy, gooey, cheesy! And I decided next week I’ll be making the other recipe I had in mind…stay tuned for Short Rib Mac & Cheese!