Baked Mac & Cheese: Prepare Yourself for Some Southern Flavor!
Updated: Feb 1
I have a confession to make: I like to put bacon in EVERYTHING! Okay maybe that's not as much of a confession as it is just plain deliciousness.
"Good food and a warm kitchen are what makes a house a home." -Rachael Ray
Like some of my dessert recipes, I must give credit to my husband for this inspiration. One Thanksgiving, he walks in the kitchen and says "There better be Mac and Cheese this year or I'm calling your mother". Now, anyone who has met my mother knows that if you "tell on me", she still treats me as if I'm a 6 year old boy who smarted off to the teacher. "A hard head makes a soft behind" is her favorite go-to phrase. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely adore my mother and I probably talk to her every single day, but she is the epitome of a true southern mom.
Anyway, back to my Mac and Cheese situation. My husband and I LOVE cheese (and wine but that's another story for another time), so I couldn't just throw some cheddar in a pan with some noodles and call it macaroni and cheese. I wanted to create a recipe made people ask questions and talk about how unique the flavors were...and so my journey began.
I started by listing my favorite cheeses and researching the best cheese flavor combinations to include in my recipe. I was pleasantly surprised to find that there are actually people who specialize in cheese tasting! Could you imagine getting paid to eat cheeeeese?#IVolunteerAsTribute
I like to make my own macaroni pasta but store-bought macaroni works as well. You do you, I'm not judging.
Don't try to cheat by using bacon bits out of a bag. Get fresh bacon and chop it up.
I like to serve mine with grilled chicken, it's absolutely amazing!
1 ½ Cup (12oz) Macaroni, uncooked
½ Cup shredded Smoked Gouda
½ Cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 Cup shredded Sharp Cheddar cheese
½ Cup Bacon, cooked and chopped
1 ½ Cup (12oz) Evaporated Milk
1 ½ Cup Half & Half
½ Cup Unsalted Butter
3 Tbsp Flour
1 Tbsp Creole Seasoning
1 Tbsp Parsley, chopped
2 Tsp Garlic Powder
2 Tsp Onion Powder
1 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
No more than 1 Tsp of Salt and Pepper if desired
If you use packaged macaroni, follow the directions on the package for cooking.
Add butter to skillet and allow it to melt before whisking in flour.
Once flour is mixed well with the butter, continue to stir until mixture is creamy.
Slowly add evaporated milk in a light, steady pour. Continuously whisk as you add ingredients to avoiding lumps or sticking.
Slowly add 1 cup Half & Half, Simmer for about 5 minutes until it thickens.
Add all of your seasonings, one at a time and stir for 1-2 minutes.
Next, add the cheeses and slowly stir until all ingredients are melted and combined.
Add in your cooked pasta and remaining Half & Half, mix it all together.
Pour the mac and cheese into lightly greased 8x8 baking pan and bake at 375° F for 25 minutes until golden.
Add grilled chicken or any preferred protein. Enjoy!