When I was young, I refused to eat macaroni and cheese. My mom made lots of things from scratch, but not mac and cheese. My brother and sister were really into the Kraft but I had this weird thing against cheese and the bright-orange powder cheese really freaked me out. When I was young, I ate cheese only on pizza and nachos. I always claimed I only like 'melty cheese.' As I got older, I started eating more cheese but I still prefer melted or soft cheese. (You will not be able to get me to eat a cube of cold, hard cheese. Never.) As I started eating cheese more, I fell in love with mac and cheese, mostly thanks to my friend Andrew who would make great mac 'n cheese with fake bacon. Today I made my version- with real bacon. Trouble is I don't really have a 'my version.'
You may have realized by now that I solve all my problems by googling, so wanting some sort of reference, I found this recipe for baked mac and cheese. I had already gone grocery shopping and so didn't have some of the ingredients on the list. Here is my interpretation of the recipe, mixed heavily with a version I made from a friend's mom's recipe over the summer.
1 lb elbow macaroni, cooked
16 oz cheese (I bought Kraft Naturals shredded- one bag of cheddar and one of colby-jack because it was buy-one, get-one free)
6 tablespoons butter
4 cups milk
4-5 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon paprika
1 small yellow onion, diced
5 sliced bacon, crumbled
1 cup breadcrumbs
I mostly followed the instructions from the link above, though the sauce mixture was on the stove for a long time due to waiting for the bacon to cook. Melted the butter, mixed in milk, flour, paprika, onions and cheese. I put about 3/4 of the cheese in the milk mixture and then mixed the rest of with the breadcrumbs to put on top. I had doubled the amount of pasta but only partially doubled the sauce due to limited reserves of milk. In the end, there was a lot of sauce and I was even worried there was too much and didn't pour on the last 1/4 cup. After cooking, it was just about the right amount of cheese mixture. I didn't melt extra butter for the breadcrumbs and when I pulled the dish out of the oven, I was worried. It looked super crusty and dry on top, and the shredded cheese was visible and burnt-looking.
The taste test proved me wrong. While I'll probably toss the breadcrumbs in butter next time (cause you can never have too much butter) the crust was still delicious. The good news is I have leftovers for the whole week and macaroni and cheese is one of those dishes that just gets better reheated!