Purely Sinful Mac ‘en Cheese
Up until this point I’ve only used the word decadent to describe desserts, primarily the rich and chocolatey ones. From here on out I pinky swear that I will not view dinner as a mere vehicle to carry me to my formerly favorite meal.
This Mac ‘en Cheese is so rich, decadent and smooth that I was tempted to run into my bedroom with my bowl and giggle like a crazy person as I ate every last bacon-kissed bite.
I have achieved a certain level of greatness and I know that sounds pompous, but hear me out. If you love to cook as much as I do, you understand that there is a satisfaction that can only be reached by successfully creating a dish that up until this point has resulted in complete failure.
My sister Denise inspired this dish by making a simple suggestion and my first reaction was to get a take-and-bake pizza instead. Homemade mac and I have been sworn enemies ever since I found out it could be made from scratch, but that’s a whole different story.
Not one to back away from a challenge, I had to use my newfound skills of making a bechemel sauce and my self confidence to step outside of my comfort zone [GULP] and make something new this late in the day without a backup plan.
I will share my recipe with you, but please keep in mind you have to pay more attention to how your sauce is responding not just measuring the ingredients. If you focus on the actual measuring and the instructions, you’ll be distracted from what you should be doing. All measurements are approximate. Please focus on the method. It’s not rocket science but I’ve seen it screwed up enough times (not just by me either) that simple advice like this might help.
This is not an exact recipe, you will need to judge the amount of sauce and noodles to determine the size of your baking dish. My rule of thumb is, allow extra time and it’s always better to have leftover.
Purely Sinful Mac ‘en Cheese
Recipe by: Dionne Baldwin
- 1/2 stick of butter
- 1/3 cup of flour
- 2-3 tbsp. cornstarch for thickening
- 1 quart of milk or more
- 2 cup or more of monterey jack cheese (1 cup for sauce, 1 cup for topping)
- 2 cup or more of medium cheddar cheese (1 cup for sauce, 1 cup for topping)
- salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and any spices you prefer for seasoning
- Macaroni noodles
- 1/4 cup of water for thickening
Cook your bacon until nice and crispy and set aside. Cut up into pieces for adding to your sauce and for sprinkling on top of your Mac ‘en Cheese.
Cook your noodles “al dente” and set aside. I drain mine and put in a pot with some cold water to keep them from sticking.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large saucepan, melt butter on medium heat and stir in flour. Cook for several minutes, stirring as it browns. You don’t want to burn this, so don’t leave it unattended. Brown for a few minutes until it is nice and golden. Then add about 1 cup of milk, use a measuring cup if you tend to over-pour. It is better to add milk in smaller amounts to keep your sauce the correct consistency. Stir with wooden spoon or with a whisk and add salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder to taste. As sauce thickens, keep stirring nearly constantly. It can burn and ruin quickly so don’t leave it unattended. Add another cup of milk and let it cook, stirring occasionally. As it thickens, taste the sauce and add more seasonings to taste. You want the sauce thick, but still pourable kind of like an Alfredo sauce but don’t sweat making it “perfect”. Add another cup of milk and repeat until you have enough sauce. Keep in mind the cheese will thicken it up a bit too.
If your sauce is too thin, don’t worry here is how you can fix that. Put 2 tbsp. cornstarch in a small bowl and add about 1/8 cup of water or a little more until you can stir all the cornstarch in with the water and it is dissolved. Then add to the sauce and allow to cook and thicken.
If your sauce is too thick and unable to pour, add 1/4 cup of milk and stir well. Wait a couple minutes to let it incorporate and add another 1/4 cup of milk if necessary until it is the consistency you like.
Once your sauce is flavorful and your desired thickness, add 1 cup of each shredded cheese about 1/2 cup-1 cup at a time and stir to incorporate. Add chopped bacon, reserving some for the top.
In a baking dish (13 by 9 unless you are making a small batch), spray non stick baking spray if you like and place your noodles in the baking dish. Pour sauce over noodles, making sure there is enough to pour all the way to the bottom of the dish and coat your noodles well. Sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese, top with remaining bacon and bake until cheese is melted and you just can’t wait any longer! This takes about 20-30 minutes.
Taste, moan, enjoy then write me telling me how good it is!
You may use this recipe as much as you want for your own personal use. Please do not reproduce this recipe without proper credit or permission. Mahalo for understanding!