[Editor's note: This recipe was originally published on Clinton Patch.]
I had some leftover bacon, some broccoli, some cheddar cheese and thought - what would taste good and be quick to make for dinner?
Easy and delicious Mac and Cheese with Broccoli and Bacon, it is.
I thought this would be a neat way to get kids to eat their veggies as the creamy mac and cheese is hard to resist. If you don't have any bacon, you could easily add some cooked ham or chicken to the dish as it goes into the oven. Just a few strips of bacon will add a lot of flavor -- a little goes a long way.
Mac and Cheese with Broccoli and Bacon
serves about 6
2-3 cups fresh broccoli, washed and cut into bite-size flowerettes
1 lb. elbow macaroni
2 T butter or margarine
2 T flour
2 1/3 cups milk
8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
about 4-6 strips of bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
buttered bread crumbs or crushed Ritz crackers as a topping, if desired
Bring a large pot of water to boil and add the broccoli. Let simmer for about 2 minutes until tender, but not over-cooked. Remove broccoli with slotted spoon and set aside. Add macaroni to the boiling water and cook until el dente. Drain.
In the same pot, melt the butter or margarine. Add the flour and whisk well and let bubble gently. Slowly add the milk in several increments, whisking well after each addition. On medium heat, stir the milk mixture until it boils and thickens. Add the cheese, also in increments, and stir well after each addition until well blended.
Remove the pot from the heat.
Stir in about three-quarters of the cooked macaroni into the cheese mixture until well-blended. Gently stir in the broccoli and bacon. Add a little more macaroni if you have plenty of sauce.
Pour the mixture into a greased casserole dish. Top with crushed Ritz crackers or buttered bread crumbs, if desired.
Cover and heat in a 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes.