Spicy Bacon Mac and Cheese

I was trying to brainstorm new ideas for my blog yesterday and my friend Emily suggested a spicy version of mac and cheese.  Jonathan is always asking me to add more spice to things, so I thought I would give it a try.  I added 8 strips of bacon, a teaspoon of crushed chili flakes and 8 drops of Louisiana hot sauce to my tradition mac and cheese recipe.  Well, the flavour was perfect!  It was very easy to add variation to my mac and cheese recipe.  Through adding spices, different ingredients – I made an already amazing recipe, even better!

I made this mac and cheese recipe all the way through university.  I love cooking and baking and it was an easy thing to make.  In second year my roommates Emily, Laura & I had some good times in that little kitchen.  We made cookies, lasagna, mac and cheese and random experiments.  We even managed to clean up – most of the time!  My sister Sarah is going into her second year of university this fall, so hopefully she’ll make a few family favourites such as mac and cheese in her new off-campus apartment.  She will be considered very gourmet, making mac and cheese that is NOT from the box!

Ingredients:

2 cups of uncooked elbow macaroni

¼ cups of butter or margarine

½ teaspoon of salt

¼ teaspoons of pepper

1 teaspoon crushed chili flakes

8 drops of Louisiana hot sauce (or hot sauce of your choice)

¼ cup of flour

2 cups of milk

2 cups of cheddar cheese

8 strips of bacon cooked, then torn into bite sized pieces

 Instructions:

Cook bacon and crumble into bite sized pieces.  Blend melted margarine, salt, pepper, crushed chili flakes and flour.  Add milk and stir till bubbling.  Add in cheese and stir.  Add in bacon bits, hot sauce and stir thoroughly.  Cook in oven at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

The peonies in the backyard are in bloom, so here are a few pictures I took.  Enjoy!

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

Homemade macaroni and cheese is one of my favourite recipes.  If you have only ever had macaroni and cheese from the box, you are missing out.  This recipe is always satisfying and easy to make.  I feel better knowing that vibrant orange food colouring and unnecessary preservatives are not added.  Modifications to this recipe could be other cheeses – cheddar, mozzarella, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Gouda – the list goes on.

The macaroni and cheese at Oliver and Bonacini’s Cafe Grill offers add on options: aged white cheddar and goat cheese, bacon, or roasted chicken and sweet garden peas.  Oliver and Bonacini’s Cafe Grill makes my favourite restaurant version of what I make at home. Jonathan and I have visited the Oliver and Bonacini restaurant locations in Toronto and Waterloo – easily one of our favourite restaurants.  I am in love with Italian food and it is a nice treat on occasion to have someone else cook for you and clean up the mess.

My version usually has old cheddar and a little mozzarella.  I made this for Jonathan with asparagus on the side and it was a tasty meal.  Jonathan wanted to add crushed chili peppers, but I insisted that he try it without for the first time. Throughout our life together I am sure I will make this recipe many times.

Ingredients:

2 cups of uncooked elbow macaroni

¼ cups of butter or margarine

½ teaspoon of salt

¼ teaspoons of pepper

¼ cup of flour

2 cups of milk

2 cups of cheese

Instructions:

Blend melted margarine, salt, pepper and flour in saucepan over medium heat.  Add milk and stir till bubbling.  Add in cheese and stir until the cheese is melted.  Cook pasta and then place in a casserole dish and pour cheese mixture onto of the pasta.  Bake in oven at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.