Thursday, October 18, 2012

Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon, Cauliflower, and Four Cheeses

Macaroni and Cheese, or any pasta dish for that matter, is not really my thing.  But Rob wanted some, so I was happy to come up with something that I thought he'd like.  I used bleu cheese, swiss cheese, and a mix (which I think is cheddar and mozzarella).  I'd recommend using a variety because it will give you a nice depth of flavor, but use whatever types of cheese you want.  And trust me, you can't taste the cauliflower at all, so it's a good way to sneak in a bit of nutrition.  

What you need:

1 bag frozen cauliflower
Olive oil spray
Season-all (or just salt and pepper)
Garlic Powder
Salt and pepper
8 ounce box of macaroni, cooked al dente
1 medium onion
7 slices of bacon
1.5 cups milk
3 eggs
3-4 ounces EACH bleu cheese, swiss cheese, and mixed cheese blend (or whatever combination you like, just make it add up to around 11 ounces)
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 cup Panko crumbs

Start by roasting the cauliflower:  I did mine in the toaster oven, but a regular oven will also work.  Or, if you want to save time/effort, skip this and just use the thawed cauliflower as it is.  If roasting, spread on a lightly greased baking sheet, sprinkle with Season-all (or salt and pepper), and bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit until lightly browned.  I didn't let mine thaw first, so it took a bit longer, but if it is already thawed, this should take 15-20 minutes.  Let cool and chop finely

Next, fry the bacon in a large frying pan over low heat.  Place the cooked bacon on a paper towel and dump all but a very thin coating of the bacon grease out of the frying pan.  Use this leftover fat to fry up the onion.  Once the onion is translucent and slightly browned, add the bacon back in (crumbling it as you go), and then add the cauliflower to the pan.  Add a half cup of the milk and use this extra moisture to scrape up the browned stuff from the bottom of the pan.  Turn off the heat.

Whisk the eggs and the other cup of milk together in a large bowl.  Add about 3/4 of each cheese to the eggs and milk.  Add the bacon mixture, hot sauce, and cooked macaroni.  Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Pour it all in a 9 x 9 baking pan and then top with the panko and the rest of the cheese.  Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes, or until bubbly and lightly browned.  Enjoy!

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