Wednesday, September 7, 2011

CRAZY COOKING CHALLENGE #1 - The ULTIMATE Macaroni & Cheese

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Tina over at MOM'S CRAZY COOKING started up an invitation only link party called CRAZY COOKING CHALLENGE (click link for more info)!  I was fortunate enough for her to ask me to participate; of course I'm always looking for new recipes to try, so I thought why not!  The first challenge was to find "The Ultimate" Mac & Cheese recipe found out in bloggy land, so I started hunting around until I found the one I thought sounded perfectTraditional Mac 'N Cheese from Desert Drivel.  Jen shared this recipe back in 2010, and I randomly came upon it, I believe via google search.  The more I read on it, the more I knew that I had to make this stuff.  I made a few adjustments and additions.


Ingredients:
7 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp flour
4 cups milk
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp (or more) of your favorite hot sauce
1 lb penne pasta (or favorite pasta: elbow or corkscrew)
3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1-1/2 cups shredded asiago/parmesan blend
1/4 cup bread crumbs
4 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped

Ingredients

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350*, and butter a 9x13 baking dish.  In large pot, bring water to boil for noodles.  Once the water is boiling, add in penne noodles and cook as directed on box.  Drain noodles.

In a a medium saucepan melt 6 tbsp of butter over low-medium heat (reserve the last tbsp for later).

Add flour and make into a roux, whisking for 3 minutes.

Slowly add in milk, continuing to whisk.  Bring to a boil.  Add in dry mustard, hot sauce, salt & pepper, and simmer sauce.  Whisk occasionally until thickened.


In a large bowl, stir together noodles, sauce, cheddar cheese, and 1 cup of asiago/parm mixture.  Transfer over into baking dish.

In a small dish, stir together bread crumbs and remaining asiago/parm cheese; sprinkle over penne mixture.  Chop cooked bacon and sprinkle over dish.  Cut butter and randomly place over entire mixture.

Bake macaroni and cheese for 25-30 minutes, until golden and bubbling.


This Mac 'n' Cheese was amazing!  The hot sauce didn't make it spicy at all, not even a kick, but added some flavor.  I love what the crunchiness and flavor of the bacon added to the dish.  The asiago/parm cheese mixture was amazing.  It gave it a nice "nutty" richness, glad I added it.  One thing that I will change next time is the amount of bread crumbs I used.  I actually used 1/2 cup, but it seemed a little too much; I suggest using about 1/4 cup, but no more.  Panko bread crumbs might also be a nice touch, but my little grocery store didn't have any.  All in all this dish was cheesy fantastic and makes a ton!!  This will be my new "go to" recipe for Traditional Mac 'n' Cheese.  So again, thank you Jen from Desert Drivel for sharing this fabulous recipe with us (for all of you reading this, go check her blog out)!!


Be sure to check out the other bloggers who are participating in the challenge, and vote for your favorite "Ultimate" Mac & Cheese recipe (click the "like" button).  Don't forget to stop in and say HI!! ;)



Also linking up too...
At Home With Haley
It's A Blog Party
The Girl Creative
Today's Creative Blog
The Shabby Creek Cottage
What Allie's Making Now
Somewhat Simple
Lovely Crafty Home
Just a Girl
The Sisters of the Wild West
Polka Dots on Parade
This Chick Cooks
Ginger Snap Crafts