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Friday, July 1, 2011

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon

Not the best picture, but I had to add it cause it looks like a heart!!
Tonight I decided to make a kick ass, home cooked meal for my family!! With Jeremy being in the hospital almost this entire month things have been well difficult as far as meal time is concerned. Spending so much time at the hospital everyday, along with the other tasks that need to get done have left very little time for cooking..

As you all know I LOVE to cook! So this past month has sucked! I hate giving my kids lunchables or even worse microwave meals, but you know sometimes in order to maintain sanity one must do what they can. Plus since my kiddos almost never get those things, I figure it will all even itself out! lol :)

This recipe is AWESOME!! All of us loved it and that almost never happens!! It has definitely made into our recipe book! We served it with steak and broccoli with cheese. :)

Salt and Pepper to taste
1 pound elbow macaroni
4 cups milk
2 or 3 sprigs thyme
4 cloves garlic, smashed and divided
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 1/2 cups shredded sharp white Cheddar
Freshly ground black pepper
4 slices bacon, cut crosswise into thin strips
1 large onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, smashed
Leaves from 1/4 bunch fresh Thyme

1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the macaroni and cook for 8 to 9 minutes, until Al Dente. Drain.

2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a small saucepan heat the milk with the thyme sprigs and 2 garlic cloves. Melt the butter in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly, to keep lumps from forming. Strain the solids out of the milk and whisk it into the butter and flour mixture. Continue to whisk vigorously, and cook until the mixture is nice and smooth.

3. Stir in the 4 cups of the cheese and continue to cook and stir to melt the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Add the cooked macaroni and fold it in to coat the macaroni with the cheese mixture. Scrape into a 3-quart baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining 1 1/2 cups cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

4. While that bakes, heat a saute pan. Add the bacon, render the fat and cook until crispy. Add onion, garlic and thyme leaves and cook for about 5 minutes to soften the onion. Season with salt and pepper. To serve, scatter the bacon mixture over the mac and cheese. Use a big spoon to scoop out servings, making sure you get some of the smoking bacon mixture on each spoonful.