Loaded Mac and Cheese


Theres a story behind this recipe : - )
Warning: Nothing healthy about this recipe. But it is oh, so good...

I'm a southern girl at heart. I love my good old fashioned southern food, even though I'm from New York. You can never go wrong when it comes to that Southern Homestyle cooking. Yum...Things like collard greens, ribs, fried chicken, mac and cheese, dressings and all that good stuff. Here is a recipe that I tweeked and combined together from two people, who taught me how to make some good mac and cheese; (not the straight out of the box kind that I was used to) a lady named Mrs. Esther and a gentleman named Mr. Duke.

Heres a little story of how I used to do my mac and cheese. All my life growing up in the North, I've loved mac and cheese. So anytime I needed mac and cheese I would do what I assume, almost everyone does. I'd follow the instructions on the back of the box - boil pasta and then add the cheese that comes with the packet. That simple : - )

One day I made mac and cheese along with some other things for a party. When everyone ate the food, they loved it. But after the party. Mr. Duke came to me and said "Mrs. You are in the South now. Mac and cheese has a whole new meaning out here. Let me explain to you how to make mac and cheese the right way for next time." I started laughing but actually took his advice and tried it next time.

Then I met another lady named Esther who for the first time in my life, I'd seen that actually adds other things into the mac and cheese besides just the pasta and the cheese from the box. Thats where I got the loaded idea from. Two mac and cheese specialists, whom I'm not sure if my mac and cheese will ever deserve a table spot anywhere near theirs : - ) Thanks for the help.

Loaded Mac and Cheese
Servings: 8 Servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Source: Elise Jackson, Mr. Duke, Mrs. Esther

Ingredients
1 box shell Pasta
2 tbsp olive oil
1 8oz can cream of mushroom soup
1 pack shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese cut into small cubes
1/2 cup cheddar cheese cut into small cubes
1/2 onion diced really small
1/2 pepper diced really small
1/4 cup chives diced really small
1/2 tomato diced really small
1 pack of bacon
bread crumbs (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Directions
In a small pot sauté  for about 1 - 2 minutes in a little butter or oil, your onion, pepper and tomatoes. Set aside.

Set a pot full of water on the stove on high heat and when it starts to boil, add in your pasta for the directed time on the back of the box. Should be between 6 - 10 minutes more or less. Once boiled and soft, drain and rinse the pasta in cold water (this helps it to cool but most importantly stops the cooking)  set aside.

Preheat your oven to 400F and bake your pack of bacon until crispy and set to cool. Once cooled crumble your bacon. (This can be done with any meat. Chicken would be a great alternative. Cooking the chicken and then shredding it.)

Once your bacon is already cooked and crumbled and all of your cheese are cited and  your vegetables are diced tiny as mentioned in the list above. Get big bowl and mix in all of your ingredients (except for the shredded mozzarella cheese) together into the big bowl. Add a little salt and pepper and mix well.

Now reduce your oven temperature to 350F, Get a pyrex and sprinkle a little  olive oil on the bottom just to prevent the pasta from sticking.  Place all of your mac and cheese mixture into the pyrex and sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese on top. (Optional: You can sprinkle some bread crumbs on top also. With the mozzarella cheese, for a uniquely different taste and a nice crunch)

Cover with aluminum foil and Place in the oven for about 20minutes, remove the foil and set oven to broil for about 1-2 minutes(only) just to allow cheese to brown on top.

Remove from oven and serve warm.
Goes great with everything

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From my kitchen to yours
Enjoy

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