Macaroni and Cheese is comfort food to many and I see this dish being served at almost every family gathering I have attended. It may sound strange but for those of us who did not grow up here, mac and cheese is not something we would warm up to. I have never prepared it at home (until now) and so I panicked when I was asked to prepare a slow cooker version for a church event recently. I spent several days thinking about whether I should swap with someone to prepare a different dish. I finally decided to go ahead as planned with the assurance from Ro-Jiro, my youngest son who loves cheese, that he will eat it if I prepared it.
I used the recipe on the Creamette box with adaptations. I changed the measurements a little and added a cheese blend instead of sharp cheddar cheese. I was pleasantly surprised that my Macaroni and Cheese was very well received at the church event and it was one of the first things to disappear on the buffet table. Ro-Jiro said it was really good and suggested that I add some parmesan cheese the next time. A week later, I did just that. As a treat, I also added some bacon and panko and baked it to give it a slight crust. Ro-Jiro was a happy boy. Even Ro-Ri San asked for a portion. I have made this Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Panko and Bacon three times now and it will not be my last.
- 8 oz (225g) macaroni
- ¼ cup (30g) panko breadcrumbs
- 4 bacon rashers
- 2 cups (8oz/225g) shredded cheese blend (mozzarella, cheddar, and Monterey Jack)
- ½ cup parmesan cheese
- 2½ cups (600ml) low fat milk
- 3 tbsp (45g) butter
- 2 tbsp all purpose flour
- 1 tsp dry mustard
- Salt and pepper
- Cook pasta according to packaging instructions. Drain and place in a large bowl. Stir in 1 tablespoon butter into hot pasta. Set aside.
- Grease an 8”x8” deep casserole dish. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
- In a medium sized pot, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Stir in all-purpose flour and dry mustard and cook for about 2 minutes. Gradually stir in milk. When it comes to a boil, season with salt and pepper. Add cheese blend and stir till melted. Pour onto pasta and mix well. Dish into prepared casserole dish.
- Top with parmesan cheese and bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly.
- In the meantime, fry bacon until crisp. Drain on paper towel and crumble into bacon bits.
- Remove casserole from oven. Sprinkle bacon bits and panko onto pasta. Return to oven and bake for another 10 minutes.
- Remove and serve immediately.
Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day! 😎