Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Warm and Home-y Comfort Food (for kids)

My kids love macaroni and cheese.  My 3-year old daughter has a special thing going on with mac 'n cheese.  She asks for it a lot.  Like every. single. day...  See when I was in school, the twins got to eat lunch twice a week at Grandma's house.  She, like most Grandma's, spoiled them.  Where I will only make one lunch, she made two different ones.  PB&J for Cael, and mac 'n cheese for Landry.  When I would drop them off Landry would greet Grandma by saying, "Iamhungry,Iwantmac'ncheese..."  They got spoiled.  Really spoiled.  They are now getting used to the fact that Mom doesn't cater to every whim like Grandma and they are settling for either PB&J or mac 'n cheese some days now.

So, when I was perusing recipes the other day, and found this one I decided to try it out.  You see, I am a macaroni and cheese lover too.  I just don't love the fake powdered cheese in unnatural colors like my kids do.  I love a great, baked, creamy mac 'n cheese with real cheese and maybe some additives, like bacon, or chicken.

If you've ever eaten at Z'Tejas, I love their mac 'n cheese.  This recipe is really close.


12 oz. medium cheddar, grated
4 oz. monterey jack, grated (I used only cheddar, with a little horseradish cheddar mixed in)
4 oz. Velveeta, cubed (if you don't like processed cheese use more cheddar, the processed cheese just makes it more smooth)
4 oz. cream cheese
1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard (I used Grey Poupon)
1/2 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
salt and pepper
16 oz. elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
1/2 cup bread crumbs, plain and dry
2 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated

Heat oven to 350°.  Put cheeses (except Parmesan) in top of double boiler (if you don't have one, set a heat proof bowl over a saucepan with about 1 inch of water in it) and melt over simmering water, stirring frequently.  Gradually add milk, whisking until completely smooth.  Whisk in mustard, bacon, salt and pepper.

Pour the cheese mix into a large bowl, add the macaroni and toss to coat.  Then pour the coated mixture into a 9x13 inch baking dish. 

In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese.  Sprinkle over the top.

Bake until crumbs are browned and the cheese is bubbling, 25-30 minutes.

Note: This recipe would be awesome with a couple of grilled chicken breasts cut up into it.  I'm adding the chicken on the side for our "non-meat eating children" but chicken would be a perfect addition to make this side a complete main dish.

Yes, it's kind of messy to make, it takes a lot of bowls and pans, and it's certainly not the healthiest dish we've posted here, but seriously, it's delicious, and it's a perfect dish for a really cold day (like today).

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