Our recipe for Homemade Mac And Cheese With Bacon and Panko gets a spicy kick from tabasco sauce! It’s equally satisfying as a light meal on its own or as a tasty side.
Around here the leaves have fallen, the air is colder and the extra blankets are piled high alongside our collection of fuzzy slippers. As we eagerly await our first real snowfall, we spend as much time as we can outside with the kids during the daylight hours.
As parents, we’ve learned that the best way to beat the winter doldrums is to get outside and play as often as we can. No matter whether we’re hiking in the woods or collecting seashells at the beach, it’s just important to get a healthy dose of fresh air every day.
To make the most of our weekends, we like to spend as much time as we can taking long winter walks through the woods. We love bundling up our kids and exploring the winter landscape which will soon be covered in snow.
The kids love searching for rabbit, deer, and even raccoon tracks. They also have fun seeing how many pinecones and acorns they can fill their coat pockets with. After an eventful day of winter exploration, we make sure we have a warm, comforting meal ready to eat when we get home.
A family favorite of ours is this recipe for homemade mac and cheese with bacon and panko. This is one of those wonderful meals that everyone in the family can enjoy. Our kids love the tender pasta covered in the warm, creamy, cheese sauce and my husband and I like to add a hint of Tabasco sauce for some kick.
I have to say, after freezing our toes off on the long winter trail, this recipe always makes my evening. There is nothing better than sitting in front of the fire, with a piping hot bowl of macaroni and cheese, and enjoying a seasonal craft beer in hand.
HOMEMADE MAC AND CHEESE WITH BACON
- 1 lb elbow macaroni
- 3 1/2 cups (12 oz) sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
- 1 1/2 cups (12 0z) evaporated milk
- 1/2 cup reserved pasta water
- 1/4 tsp tabasco
- 1/4 tsp mustard
- 1 tbs cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 5 strips bacon, cut into small pieces
- 1 cup panko
- 1 tbs butter
- 2 tbs bacon fat
- sea salt
- cracked pepper
Step 1: Boil pasta according to package; pasta should be al dente. (We cook it 1 minute less tank the package directions.) Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water and drain the pasta.
Step 2: In a large saucepan, warm the evaporated milk over low heat. When heated, blend in the cheddar and Parmesan cheeses. Stir until cheese is melted. (Do not boil this cheese sauce!)
Step 3: Stir in the tabasco sauce, pasta water, mustard, cornstarch, salt, and pepper. Add pasta to cheese sauce and coat thoroughly. Carefully pour pasta into a baking dish and set aside.
Step 4: In a skillet, cook diced bacon over medium heat until crispy. Remove with slotted spoon and set aside on paper towels to drain. Reserve 2 tablespoon of bacon fat.
Step 5: Season panko breadcrumbs liberally with parsley, sea salt and cracked pepper. Add mixture to the skillet along with the reserved bacon fat and butter. Cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes until golden brown.
Step 6: Top macaroni and cheese with toasted panko and bacon bits. Place in the oven at 350 degrees and bake until the edges are bubbling, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately. (The panko will not stay crisp in the fridge, so eat up!)
This post originally appeared on We Know Stuff here.