Weeknight Loaded Mac & Cheese

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The other night I looked at the clock and it was 9:30pm. I hadn’t had dinner yet, was starving, and had lots of work left to do. I had two options: delivery or get creative. Not one to turn down a challenge, I decided to get creative.

When you need to cook a meal fast it is all about deciding on an easy base. My go-to is Annie’s Mac & Cheese. I grew up on Annie’s and I still love it. It is never a bad pick. Rummaging through the fridge, I pulled out butter (duh), milk, asparagus, a shallot, mushrooms, mozzarella cheese, and bacon (why not?). Next, I headed to the pantry for some bread crumbs and olive oil.

When you make a loaded Mac & Cheese the key is to use up the stuff you have in your fridge. Cauliflower? Throw it in! Brussels Sprouts? Chop those suckers up! Mushrooms? I am in love!

This takes a grand total of 30 minutes max. and the left overs are to die for.

Weeknight Loaded Mac & Cheese (feeds 2-3) 

  • 1 box Annie’s Mac & Cheese + ingredients box calls for (typically milk and a little butter)
  • 1 medium shallot sliced thinly
  • 4 pieces of bacon
  • 1.5 cups sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 1.5 cups chopped asparagus (1″ long chunks)
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  1. Cook pasta till al dente.
  2. Cook bacon in a small oven-safe skillet or caste iron pan. When crisp, remove from pan and chop coarsely.
  3. Sauté shallots and mushrooms in bacon fat.
  4. When soft, add asparagus, season, and cover until steamed (about 8 minutes)
  5. Make ‘cheese sauce’ in a small bowl following the boxes instructions. Set aside.
  6. Combine breadcrumbs and butter in small bowl. Set aside.
  7. Add cooked pasta, bacon and mozzarella to vegetables, stir until combined evenly.
  8. Pour cheese sauce over top of the pasta mixture.
  9. Top with breadcrumbs and some black pepper.
  10. Broil for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling.
  11. Enjoy!

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