Comfort Food At Its Best

I have a confession. There are very few dishes I cannot attempt to make; however, a couple of dishes I find extremely hard to make and when I try to make the exactly as the recipe states, they are complete disasters. Among them is Macaroni and Cheese. My mother always made the stuff from the box, and to this day, I prefer that to homemade. *gasp* I know, I am not truly Southern. However, yesterday I picked up the new September issue of Cooking Light and found a recipe that apealed to me. It is lighter than most, always a plus, and the instructions had a step-by-step guide. Instead of the traditions roux (flour cooked with butter until golden) this recipe uses a slurry, which is a “a small amount of milk combined with flour”. Interesting huh? The hubby even stated that this mac and cheese is quite good and I can attempt to make it again. 😉 Which is a good thing because I have been craving gooey warm comfy foods.

mac and cheese

Bacon Mac
Adapted from Cooking Light mag.

Two pinches of salt, divided
6 ounces penne pasta
2 teaspoons all purpose flour
3/4 cup fat free half and half, divided
1 1/4 cup finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
2 tablespoons bacon bits (or 1 slice of bacon cooked and crumbled)
Cooking spray
1 1/2 cup steamed broccoli (optional)

Preheat broiler. Bring 3 quarts of water and a handful of salt to a boil. Pour in pasta and cook for 8 minutes or until al dente; drain.
Combine the flour and 1/4 cup half and half in a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk to combine without any lumps. Gradually add 1/2 cup milk; bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute. Removed from heat and allow to cook for about 4 minutes. (Until 155 degrees). Stir in 3/4 cup shredded cheese, 1/4 teaspoon salt, hot sauce, dry mustard, pepper, and bacon. Add the drained pasta and toss. Spoon into a 2 quart broiler-safe dish coated with cooking spray. Top with 3/4 cup cheese. Broil for seven minutes. If using the optional broccoli, add just before broiling. I like to add this to make it more nutritious. I eat it, the hubby likes his mac plain. 😉
Yields: 3 servings.

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