Friday, October 31, 2008

Easy Peasey Mac and Cheesy

Do you have funny names for everyday things? Perhaps you mispronounced something, and then henceforth and forever the item was known by the mispronounced version? For example, when I was a wee newborn baby myself, my mom called me “dumpling” a time or two, and my late sister, a mere two years older than myself thus making her only two years old, mispronounced my nickname as “dumpy”. Can you see where I’m going with this? You guessed it, that LOVELY moniker stuck with me forever. I picked up a couple more along the way, but “dumpy” was the leader of the pack. Yep, I can just hear my witty sister laughing her head off in Heaven. Somehow, even though she was only two when she branded me with it, I suspect she had a plan all along ... little stinker.

Now a days with my own kids, I’m quite careful that their nicknames are something they wouldn’t mind me calling out through the neighborhood or from the sidelines during a game. We do, though, have some quirky names for food that we eat. For example, Macaroni and Cheese is never called, well, macaroni and cheese. Instead, it’s usually called “Easy Peasey Mac and Cheesy”. That catchy phrase is something special shared between my oldest daughter and myself, as she’s the mac and cheesy lover in the family.

Just check out this gorgeous version of mac and cheesy. I’m on a comfort food kick lately. Surprisingly, my daughter absolutely LOVES this. I say surprisingly because it has “stuff” in it. She is a serious food separatist, except for a couple things ... mac and cheesy being one of them.

Look at how creeeeaaaammmy this is! Ooooh, I want to snatch that big bacon piece right off of there and eat it! This version is based on a dish we had ordered eons ago at Red Robin Restaurants. They no longer have this on the menu, but it was a hit with my daughter and sooooo easy to recreate at home. Basically, just make your favorite homemade mac and cheese, and jazz it up with a couple of ingredients: Cooked diced chicken, crisp smoky bacon, creamy luscious goat cheese, and savory crunchy bread crumbs. C.O.M.F.O.R.T. Yum!

Couple things before we begin ... When making this, feel free to substitute your favorite basic mac and cheese recipe. Be sure, though, to make ample cheese sauce. Elbow shaped macaroni, as well as other shapes such as rotini, really need a LOT of sauce. Don’t skimp on the sauce quantity. Next, since my daughter’s palate has yet to fully appreciate highly seasoned foods, this dish is really quiet in the spice department. It could take more heat if you like spice. I’d stick to adding spices though, and not actually add chopped onions or green peppers, etc. This dish already has a lot going on in the three c texture department ... creamy, chewy, and crunchy. Adding more texture might actually take away from the dish. Of course, though, that’s just my humble opinion ... if you crave more stuff inside, by all means please your palate! There's that bacon piece again. I want it! To experience this comfort food for yourself, here’s what you do:

Easy Peasey Mac and Cheesy

½ lb Cooked Macaroni (or your favorite shape)
1 T olive oil
4T butter
2 T flour
2 ¼ cups 2% milk
1 cup cream
3 cups shredded co-jack cheese
Couple shakes of garlic salt and onion powder
Quick small shake of red pepper and white pepper
½ cup diced cooked chicken (I used left over roasted chicken)
5 slices bacon – cooked crisp and crumbed
2 Tablespoons goat cheese – crumbled in large chunks

2 sliced white bread, crumbed
1 Tablespoon butter
Season salt

2 Additional Tablespoons goat cheese for garnish
Additional bacon for garnish
Snipped parsley

Start off by buttering a 2 quart casserole dish. Preheat oven to 350. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and toss with olive oil. Keep warm. While pasta is cooking, in a medium sauce pan, melt the butter over med high heat. Wisk in flour and cook for a couple of minutes to get rid of the flour taste. Gradually wisk in the milk and cream, a little at a time. Cook for a couple minutes, then wisk in the cheese. The mixture should thicken up, but remain very creamy. Season with the garlic salt, onion salt, and peppers. Combine with the cooked macaroni. Stir in the chicken and bacon. Gently fold in the goat cheese. Pour into prepared casserole. In a skillet, melt the remaining butter on med high heat. Add the breadcrumbs and season salt, and toast the breadcrumbs until golden and crispy. Sprinkle on top of the casserole. Put the casserole into the oven, and bake for about 15 minutes. Let sit for just a couple more minutes, then serve. Sprinkle each serving with additional goat cheese crumbles, crispy bacon, and snipped parsley.

At last, the bacon piece is mine! Take a bite. Sigh. Make yummy noises. Henceforth and forever, refer to mac and cheese as Easy Peasey Mac and Cheesy.


Manggy said...

Dump- er, Paula, I wouldn't dare! That's you and your daughter's special thing! (I find that so adorable, by the way :) But I will love a giant heap of it! Maybe on the side of some broccoli or something, heh :)

Cathy said...

Oh my, does this look delicious. Goat cheese and bacon added to my favorite mac and cheese. What could be better?

Bellini Valli said...

This dish really does say C.O.M.F.O.R.T with a capital C. I enjoy the addition of chicken, bacon and goat cheese 3 of may favourite things:D

Marjie said...

That must have been a great thing to feed the goblins before they went out last night! I fed mine ham and scrambled eggs loaded with cheese and tomatoes - stuff the protein into those turkeys before they go out! Ryan sprained his wrist yesterday afternoon, and the way he groaned getting into his costume, you'd have thought he'd broken both arms! I love M&C, but my dearly beloved doesn't, so it appears only rarely...


i love the addition of goat cheese - very tasty!

Esi said...

Any mac and cheese with bacon is a winner in my book! It looks so good!

Cheryl said...

That is my #1 favorite comfort food! We call Beef Stroganoff, Beef Strokinoff, we are naughty!

Pam said...

I am soooo craving some homemade mac and cheese right now!

noble pig said...

Oh this sounds delicious, Wow, love it!

Paula said...

Howdy folks! Hope you're having a great weekend!

Manggy: I was so happy to see your name pop up here! I've tried to view your blog without success ... now I can follow this link! Yeah!

Cathy: It was pretty darn good! Thanks for stopping by!

Bellini Valli: The chicken, bacon, and goat cheese really boosted it into a full meal. Just add a salad and call it done!

Hi Marjie: You. Won't. Believe. This! Cole had scrambled eggs, too! No mac and cheesy for him ... mac is ok, cheese is ok, all the ingredients by themselves are ok, but not together! Hope Ryan's wrist is better, poor guy. Sprains are so awful. We sent you an email; hope it went through ... I've been having trouble again. Hubby finally agrees with me that there's a glitch somewhere. So, be on the lookout for a msg from us!

Mediterranean Kiwi: Maria, I love the goat cheese. It really goes so good with the other cheese and ingredients!

Esi: It tastes as pretty as it looks!

Cheryl: You are naughty ... and I love it! Of course, now I'll be calling it that, too!

Pam: It is so good, I could call it craving satisfaction!

Noble Pig: It was terrific. My daughter kept rolling her eyes (in a good way) and making yummy noises! She scraped her plate clean!


yes, paula,i agree - why do children have to learn to be the same when they are all different, and unique in many ways???

Jan said...

Love the bacon in it Paula, looks delish!!

Anonymous said...

Ah, Mac & Cheese. And with goat cheese yet! *claps enthusiastically*

PS. My family-given nickname is "Bubba." :oD

Peter M said...

I once new a gal named Peasy! lol

Who doesn't love mac & cheese, and the bacon and goat cheese ar a fine twist here.

Pam said...

Oh Paula. Can I come over for dinner...please? This looks perfect in every way. Topping it with bacon is genius.

Grace said...

this is indeed gorgeous--i don't think melted cheese could be anything but gorgeous. yep, what you have here is the epitome comfort food--thanks for sharing. :)

Aggie said...

Oh, this looks VERY comforting. I love mac and cheese!!

Your post made me laugh because we've been calling our 20 month old daughter Beaners since she was an infant (her name is Gina, and for some reason we always refer to her as Gina Beena, hence, Beaners!) I might have to rethink this!! LOL

Lo said...

Unbelievably good looking, Paula. I'm pretty sure that goat cheese takes ordinary Mac & Cheese right over the top.

And what a great story (Dumpy is too cute!). We have some pretty wacked out names for favorite foods around our house too... but, you know that :)

The Blonde Duck said...

I am all over that. Yum. I'm never not on a comfort food kick. I'm going to have to up my cardio!

Jocelyn said...

I have read most of your blog and I love the recipes. I am a comfort food addict as well.
Maybe I will make the Mac n cheese tonight. Last ngiht son and I made Cinnamon rolls. I have been an utter failure in the bread making department, and they wern't bad! I just kept saying I made Bread ! I made BRead!
YIPEEE!!! Keep up the super fabulous recipes I will visit often!

Dawn said...

I need to start using goat's cheese. I keep seeing it in recipes all over here in food-blogger land.
This looks good, really good.

Bridgett said...

Looks delicious with the addition of bacon. I love the salty mixed with the creamy cheese. Talk about a decadent meal! Fantastic as usual, Paula!

mikky said...

my, what a comfort food... :)

anudivya said...

Ooh love your mac and cheese and the way it looks. I made one a few days back with whole wheat pasta and loved it.
First time here, like your blog a lot :)

Lisa said...

My daughter loves Macaroni and Cheese too! It 's the first thing she asks for when she comes home from college. And bacon really couldn't help but make it even better. Great idea!

Deborah said...

Haha - I'll have to be careful what we nickname our baby!! This mac n cheese looks amazing!

Sandy Smith said...

This looks delicious! I love the addition of goat cheese - very creative. And bacon is a nice change from ham in mac n cheese.

Kevin said...

Mac and cheese sprinkled with bacon and more cheese...mmm...

Darius T. Williams said...

I love this - and I just made mac and cheese on my blog last night!



i'm going to try making this over the weekend - does it keep well for the next day?


Hi Paula, I finally made this dish (using leftover cooked mince instead of chicken), and it was well worth the effort - a real comforter!