Back To Basics: Mac and Cheese and Bacon and Chili!

macaroni and cheese mac and cheese

The older I get the more I want to make things from scratch. There must be some kind of psychological theory behind it, because you won’t see me at the supermarket grabbing for a box of pre packaged brownie unless it’s an emergency. Like yesterday.

Since I’m definitely not the best cook, even though I am confident enough to admit I’m slowly improving (Right? Yes. I am. Definitely!), I’ve decided to start with the basics.

The most basic, delicious comfort food of them all to be exact: Macaroni and Cheese. This time though it’s just the way I like it, with crispy bacon and chili. Baked, not soggy and wet.

This is huge for me! I grew up making Kraft mac and cheese. You remember that powdery yellow stuff.  Seems gross to me now, but it was my best friend in college (well, right after my real best friend Michele. Who shared my fascination with mac and cheese).

Now, I anxiously wait for my sauce to thicken as I look over my ingredients boiling over medium heat. I’m obsessed with the  way it so suddenly turns. One minute it’s milk, the next it’s a cheesy, sexy, sticky paradise. Add in the chili and we’re flying over Melbourne on a magic carpet ride.

It’s easy, quick, scrumptious and you’d be pleasantly surprised at having all the ingredients in your shelf/fridge already! I cannot wait to make this for Michele when I’m home in Florida in January. A sure sign that our college days are well and truly over.

Very Cheesy Macaroni and Cheesy with Bacon and Chili
Serves 2 perfectly

2 cups of macaroni or bow tie or any small tubular pasta
3 tablespoons butter
¼ cup flour
a pinch of salt
½ teaspoon dry mustard
a pinch of black pepper
a pinch of smoked paprika
2 cups of milk
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
3 slices of bacon
2 small baby red chillies

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

Boil the pasta.

Cut up your bacon slices into small long cubes. Cook the bacon until excitingly crisp, and set aside.

Cut up your red chillies.

Over medium heat, melt the 3 tablespoons of butter.

Add the 1/4 cup of flour, pinch of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of dry mustard, pinch of pepper, and ⅛ teaspoon smoked paprika. Stir until blended.

Pour in the 2 cups of milk. Keeping on medium heat, whisk constantly for about 10 minutes, until the sauce thickens. (if it’s you’re first time doing this, seeing the sauce thicken will be so exciting! Or at least it was for me!)

Remove from heat, and stir in 2 cups of the cheese, stirring until melted.

Pour the pasta into the cheese, chili and your crispy bacon. Then mix gently until all noodles are covered.

Transfer pasta into an oven safe dish.

Sprinkle come additional cheesy on stop for extra cheesiness.

Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, just check it starts getting a bit dry and crisp on top.

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