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Three Cheese Mac & Cheese with Bacon and Panko Topping

Three Cheese Mac & Cheese with Bacon and Panko Topping

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There’s two types of mac and cheeses, and neither of which I can eat because *play tiny violin* of my lactose intolerance. This disease has inflicted me pain and sorrow many instances where I could’ve enjoyed gloriously cheesy carbs. I know I’m supposed to talk about the mac and cheese recipe but I’m not finished (scroll down to ignore my whining). I’ve tried lactaid before eating, during eating, and after (but really what’s the point after you eat?!) and it does absolutely nothing. The only time I ate this mac and cheese is when I took a spoonful to taste it to adjust seasonings. Which was followed by me clutching my cramping stomach in pain for 30 minutes, followed by bloating. The next time was me stupidly trying to eat a spoonful during Thanksgiving, because maybe, just maybe my body developed some sort of resistance to the intolerance and I could enjoy it? I was wrong and by the time we drove home from that meal I was clutching my stomach in pain, sweating, cursing my Asian genetics for not letting me enjoy wholesome American foods.

You’d think I wouldn’t like mac and cheese, or anything with lactose in it because of this problem. But sadly, cheese sauce is my favorite food group. I must’ve been a really bad person in my past life in order to be reincarnated into a lactose intolerant person. Like a murderer or something.

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Ok, rant over.

As I was saying before, there are two types of mac and cheese, the creamy stove-top kind, and the baked kind with a crispy cheesy panko topping and creamy bottom layer. In the south, they really know how to bake their mac and cheese. And I’ve eaten so many different ones from different restaurants (yes with side effects afterwards but worth it) and am always amazed how they get so much cheesy flavor into it. The stuff I knew growing up was bland and tasteless, maybe with a hint of cheese but not enough to keep me wanting to eat it. Hence, probably why I developed that intolerance, because my body never ate enough mac and cheese growing up. OR…the mac and cheese was so weak without enough cheese or milk that my body now rejects it. That must be it. No need for a doctor. I just need to eat a spoonful of mac and cheese each day for a week, then 2 spoonfuls a day for another week, and so on until I can eat 2 quarts of mac and cheese in one sitting without getting sick.

That’s my New Year’s resolution.  While you guys are all trying to lose weight.

I used a combination of sharp cheddar, smoked Gouda and Parmesan in this. But feel free to be creative and make up your own cheese blends. Hell, take it to the next level and add a 4th cheese. I was so tempted to just slap a slice of processed cheese on top just to label it 4 cheese mac. But…just because I could….doesn’t mean I should…

Someone please add a 5th cheese, thanks.

One important note: Please don’t use pre-shredded cheese for this, as they contain other ingredients that make the cheese sauce grainy in texture. I use blocks of cheese and shred it myself.

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My daughter insisted I take a picture of her mustache, and to post it on the blog so here it is. She’ll be embarrassed in a few years.

3 Cheese Mac ‘n Cheese

December 1, 2017
: 6-8
: easy to moderate

By:

Ingredients
  • 3 cups (uncooked) elbow macaroni
  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 2 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. salt and more to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • 6 oz. sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 4 oz. smoked gouda, shredded
  • 2 oz. parmesan, shredded
  • Topping:
  • 2 tsp. butter
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • handful of shredded cheddar cheese
Directions
  • Step 1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Step 2 In a large pot, cook macaroni according to the instructions on the box. Set aside.
  • Step 3 In another large pot, melt butter on medium heat. Add flour and stir for 5 minutes, until it turns a golden blonde color. Add onion powder, dry mustard, paprika and stir to combine. Pour in milk and whisk until combined, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes, whisking so it doesn’t burn on the bottom.. Crack an egg into a small bowl and beat with a whisk. Pour 1/4 cup of the sauce in a thin stream into the egg, and continuously whisk as you pour. Then pour the egg mixture into the sauce, and whisk until thoroughly combined.
  • Step 4 Add cheese and mix into sauce. Add salt and pepper, taste and adjust seasoning. The sauce should have a bit more salt than what you think is needed, so when it’s combined with the noodles it’ll be seasoned well. Combine the noodles and sauce, then pour into a 2 quart casserole dish.
  • Step 5 In a large skillet, melt 2 Tbsp. butter on medium heat. Add panko and bacon, and stir until panko is golden brown. Sprinkle cheese, panko and bacon on top of mac and cheese. Bake, uncovered for 30 minutes.

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Instructions with Photos:

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large pot, cook macaroni according to the instructions on the box. Set aside.

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In another large pot, melt butter on medium heat. Add flour and stir for 5 minutes, until it turns a golden blonde color.

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Add onion powder, dry mustard, paprika and stir to combine.

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Pour in milk and whisk until combined, bring to a boil,

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Reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes, whisking so it doesn’t burn on the bottom.

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Crack an egg into a small bowl and beat with a whisk. Pour 1/4 cup of the sauce in a thin stream into the egg, and continuously whisk as you pour. DSC_3066

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Then pour the egg mixture into the sauce,

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and whisk until thoroughly combined.

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Add cheese and mix into sauce.

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Add salt and pepper, taste and adjust seasoning. The sauce should have a bit more salt than what you think is needed, so when it’s combined with the noodles it’ll be seasoned well. DSC_3122

Combine the noodles and sauce, then pour into a 2 quart casserole dish.

Or in my case, pour into large Tupperware to save for later, because I wasn’t baking until the next day.

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In a large skillet, melt 2 Tbsp. butter on medium heat. Add panko and bacon, and stir until panko is golden brown.

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Sprinkle cheese, panko and bacon on top of mac and cheese.  Bake, uncovered for 30 minutes.

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Enjoy!



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