It’s cold outside and I wanted comfort food, but I’m also determined to get my youngest to eat some gottdamned vegetables! My ten year old is a dream to cook for. He eats it all. Lucius is a whole other story… I mean, he eats the veggies but there is MUCH resistance. I decided on mac n cheese, figuring it would satisfy my comfort cravings and I could make a salad and hunker down for the battle. All of this was my inner self-talk on my commute home. Upon arrival, I found some broccoli in the fridge that needed to happen soon. So, I pulled it out and cut it up to pop into the steamer in lieu of a salad. But wait! I’ll mix it in with the mac and it will be a cheesy sensation! Then, as if I were channeling my inner five year old, I added bacon for the win!
You will need the following:
- 1/2 pound of pasta, cooked according to package
- 4 cups broccoli florets, steamed to aldente
- 1 pound bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled. Reserve bacon grease.
- 4 cups shredded cheddar
- 4 cups milk
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1 heaping tablespoon smokey paprika *shout out to my girl, Amy for the yummy spices from Olde Thompson!
- S&P to taste
- In a large oven proof Skillet, make a roux with 1/3 cup bacon grease and 1/3 cup flour. If you don’t have a skillet that can go into the oven, prepare the sauce in a skillet and transfer to a 9×13 baking dish.
- Once your roux turns golden, slowly add the milk and the smokey paprika. Salt and pepper to taste. Bring it up to a simmer stirring constantly until it thickens.
- Add cheese and stir until fully incorporated. Remove from heat.
- Add remaining ingredients and stir until all are coated with the cheese sauce.
- Place the skillet into a 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until the edges begin to brown and the top is golden and bubbly.