This is my son, Christopher:
Isn’t he adorable?
Okay, that’s not exactly a recent picture. This is Christopher now:
Yes, he has outgrown his father. He’s 6’3″ and still growing. A football-playing, power-lifting, eating-us-out-of-the-house fifteen year old.
Wait, did I really just type that? Fifteen?
And this week, he received his first college recruitment packet in the mail!
What? How did that happen?
But, yes, he celebrated his 15th birthday this week. I always let him choose what he wants for dinner on his birthday. A few days before the big day, he told me that he didn’t want a birthday cake this year. What?
He nodded seriously and said, “I don’t want a cake. I want a big pan of macaroni and cheese. If it makes you feel better, you can put candles in it.”
You can really tell that your family has been eating healthy when all your child wants for his birthday is carbs. And fat. And calories. And bacon.
That’s right. I made him bacon mac & cheese.
I don’t make my macaroni and cheese completely from scratch, so if you’re a person who is afraid of processed cheese stuff, move along.
I still consider my recipe pretty much from scratch because it does start with a bechamel sauce. Don’t be afraid of the fancy word. It’s just white gravy. Butter, flour, milk, salt and pepper.
Then you add the Velveeta and the pasta, pour it into a pan, top with cheddar and crushed crackers and bake until bubbly.
And then, oh, my gosh! It is an absolute dream of creamy, cheesy, ooey-gooey deliciousness! I didn’t put the candles in it because they would melt. Christopher was totally okay with that!
Birthday Boy Bacon Mac & Cheese
- 6 tablespoons of butter
- 1/4 cup of flour
- 2 cups of milk
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
- 16 ounces of Velveeta, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 pound of elbow macaroni, cooked to al dente
- 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup of Ritz crackers, crushed
- 2 tablespoons of melted butter
- 1 pound of bacon, cooked crisp, optional (yeah, right!)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook pasta and drain. Leave in the strainer until ready to add to the cheese sauce.
In a large saucepan, melt 6 tablespoons of butter. After butter has melted, add flour and stir. Cook for 1-2 minutes over medium-high heat, but don’t brown. Whisk in half the milk until the mixture begins to thicken. Add the rest of the milk and whisk until it thickens again – to a gravy-like consistency. Switch to a wooden spoon and add the chunks of Velveeta. Lower the heat to medium and stir until Velveeta melts. Stir in the pasta and combine completely. If you’re adding bacon, stir it in now.
Pour into a large baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Spread evenly and top with shredded cheddar.
Melt the remaining two tablespoons of butter and add the crushed Ritz crackers. Sprinkle over the top of the cheddar.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Well Duh #1 Hmmm…that one was pretty straightforward. I don’t think you need any duhs!
I’m sure you noticed that I didn’t add the bacon to the dish, but sprinkled it over the top after baking. That’s the way Christopher wanted it this time. I think he had just had all the quinoa, baked chicken breasts, and lettuce wraps that he could take! The boy just wanted fat and carbs and bacon on the side. He also had pork loin. Because my boy has missed the pork products!
I chose to have the mac & cheese as my splurge meal for the week, but I only ate a little. Christopher ate as much as he wanted. And then he woke up sick as a dog during the night. I guess when you get used to eating healthy stuff, your body rebels when you throw really decadent food at it. That’s why we now only eat that kind of food now and then and sparingly!
But when you decide to indulge, what a way to go!