Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Beer & Bacon Mac n' Cheese

My husband is in a garage band with a bunch of great guys and gals. Those guys will eat anything.
I love that. I love feeding enthusiastic people. 
Of course, Beer & Bacon Mac n' Cheese isn't really pushing the envelope with a group of guys, huh?  That being said, it also happens to make us gals pretty happy too, y'know!

Even though my recipe calls for Sharp Cheddar and Parmesan cheese doesn't mean you actually have to go out and buy those cheeses.
You know that, right? 
Really the best Mac n' Cheese is made from all the little bits and pieces of cheeses that you have in your fridge right now that you need to use before it's too late and they turn all green and fuzzy!  In my fridge right now I've got mozzarella, cheddar, pepper jack, some fancy pants fontina cheese, marscapone, goat cheese.... it goes on and on folks. 
You get the point, what cheese do you have? 
Okay, try that...
You really think that someone would object to BRIE in their Mac n' Cheese??? No way (as long as you cut the rind off) that would be so creamy and delicious.

Now some of you might even like Velveeta cheese... I have to tell you, any cheese you buy off a shelf that is NOT refrigerated is not really cheese in my book. BUT, if that happens to be your favorite cheese, go for it... I guess. 

Serves 6
3/4 lb. pasta- Shells, Macaroni, Penne
2 tsp. salt

2 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. light olive oil
1/2 cup onion, finely minced
3 Tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup beer, full bodied is best
6 slices cooked bacon, crumbled into 1” chunks
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. ground black pepper
Salt to taste

1 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Cook up your bacon.  You can cut it up and fry it on the stove top, OR, you can bake it on a baking sheet.  It's easier and makes nice flat pieces.
I bake it at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes.   It should look almost done when you pull it out.  It continues to cook, and will crisp up while cooling.


This is how most restaurants cook their bacon!

Chop the bacon up.  Kind of an arty shot of my bacon, huh?

Saute the onions in the oil and butter.

Add the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Add the beer and the milk, whisking constantly.  Add your cheeses and dijon mustard and keep stirring.  Add seasonings.  Make sure you have well seasoned sauce, as the flavors lessen when combined with all those bland noodles.

Cook your noodles until almost done, with a bit of firmness. 

Add the noodles to the sauce mixture.  Add half the bacon. Mix.  You should have a high sauce to noodles ratio, that makes the best, creamiest, cheesiest Mac n' Cheese when baked, otherwise your noodles absorb everything and you are left with dry Mac!

Sprinkle the top with more Parmesan or cheddar cheese, 1/2 to 1 cup should do. Saute the panko bread crumbs in 1-2 Tbsp of olive oil, or butter and add to the top. Spinkle the rest of the bacon on top.  Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes until it is bubbley and hot throughout.


  1. Now I'm really wishing that mac n' cheese hadn't had bacon in it! Cheese and beer?! Is there really anything better? I'll have to try a veggie version of this. :)

  2. Oh yes, I have the dreaded Velveeta (my kids request it for cheese dip) but also pepper jack, mozzarella, cheddar and Parmesan. Except for the Velveeta, they would be fabulous in this recipe which sounds so good with the bacon.