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Mac and Cheese on Steroids




Some foods should never be eaten. Some foods should be eaten now and again. Mac and Cheese on Steroids is one of those dishes that might ought to be stored on the now and again shelf, not banished forever and not served weekly. I made this, upon request, after Christmas and enjoyed the meal with great delight. Was it the company that made the meal so delightful or the fat and starch and gluten and dairy that made my toes wiggle in glee? The answer to that would be a resounding, “YES!”

The company was delightful. The games after the meal were likewise delightful. The meal itself? Over the moon. I first made a full recipe of Mac and Cheese on Steroids that included bacon, half ‘n half, cheese, and sour cream. What is not to love? As that dairy monstrosity was in its final stage of preps I began steaming a huge bunch of broccoli. How did broccoli end up paired with a tummy happy, diet disaster, dish like Mac and Cheese on Steroids? Easy.

While meal planning that afternoon knew that I needed a bright green veggie to redeem the meal. I considered leafy greens like spinach or lettuce but goodness! With all the recalls on food of late I did not see the point of risking listeria or salmonella or… or… I will hold off on salad until my garden starts spewing forth in April. And then I spied broccoli. Perfectly green… not a bad price… Memories flooded my brain of the kids happily eating mounds of broccoli so long as cheese covered the top of the bowl. How about a big steamer full of broccoli that would be served alongside this extra creamy, almost sloppy Mac and Cheese? It might be the perfect combo.

My grown-up kids gobbled it down. They did not need any coaxing to eat their broccoli once they caught on to the cheese of the mac coating the green yum of the veggie. Perfect!

So here is the Mac and Cheese on Steroids that probably should not be a dinner table regular. But why not enjoy it from time to time? The last time I made this was April 2021, per request, of course.


Mac and Cheese on Steroids

1 pound corkscrew pasta

1 teaspoon salt

¾ pound bacon, cut into small pieces

3 cups half and half

2 cups (8 ounces) sharp cheddar cheese, grated

¼ teaspoon black pepper

½ cup sour cream

 

Boil water and salt in a large soup (stock) pot. Cook pasta to al dente. Drain but do not rinse. Let the pasta rest in a colander.

Cook bacon in the pasta pan until it is crispy. Remove the pan from the heat and scoop out bacon with a slotted spoon. Pour off fat but don’t bother carefully removing every bit of fat. It is tasty if some is left behind. Add half and half to the pan and bring to a gentle simmer over medium low heat. Scrape up the bacon bits from the bottom of the pan as the half and half heats. Reduce heat to low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.

Add grated cheese and cooked bacon bits to the bubbly pot. Stir until the cheese is melted, about 2 minutes. Stir in 1 cup of sour cream. Salt and pepper to taste.  

Return cooked pasta to the pan and gently stir into sauce. Serve alongside a big bowl of steamed broccoli. Broccoli adds to the yum.

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