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
- Cook pasta till al dente.
- Cook bacon in a small oven-safe skillet or caste iron pan. When crisp, remove from pan and chop coarsely.
- Sauté shallots and mushrooms in bacon fat.
- When soft, add asparagus, season, and cover until steamed (about 8 minutes)
- Make ‘cheese sauce’ in a small bowl following the boxes instructions. Set aside.
- Combine breadcrumbs and butter in small bowl. Set aside.
- Add cooked pasta, bacon and mozzarella to vegetables, stir until combined evenly.
- Pour cheese sauce over top of the pasta mixture.
- Top with breadcrumbs and some black pepper.
- Broil for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling.