28 January 2009

Bacooooowwwn.

Sunday morning, Meg and I had a chat about bacon. She'd visited Blue Tractor for the first time and ordered the mac and cheese with bacon. I commented on how I like bacon but I don't like it IN stuff because I think the flavor overpowers everything else (this is important for later in the story!). I spent the next few hours thinking about bacon, though. So when I hit the grocery store, I grabbed some turkey bacon, fantasizing about the delicious BLTs I was going to make.

In an effort to be frugal and use the tiny butt ends of the french bread in the fridge, I made a handful of mini BLTs, with a little mayo and some baby spinach. Cute, and tasty. I would like to eat another right now, actually.

In the meantime, I'd also picked up a fakie bento box -- miss Lisa has been a lunch-making inspiration for me. It's funny, I've always HATED making lunches. Growing up, I had to make my own lunch. And I hated it so much, I'd just throw a bunch of crap in a bag to satisfy my chore of making my lunch.... And then would pay the price the next day. I started making Brad lunches about a week ago -- ironic timing, eh, now that he kind of has to take lunch. :) But while at Target this weekend, I saw this four-piece box Lisa had recommended and I couldn't resist.

Here Brad is showing off his leftover beet, chicken, and goat cheese filling for a tortilla wrap sandwich. Applesauce and cupcakes to boot.

Brad mentioned yesterday that he's always jealous of the fancy surprise treats his buddy brings in his lunch, so now I must continue to pack more and more creative lunches. I will not lose the cool lunch war!

Another fun foodie surprise this week.... Mini cupcakes! A little pick-me-up courtesy of Lisa Z, lunchbox and mini queen. Lemon strawberry with pink sprinkles... They certainly hit the spot and I can't believe I've managed to control myself -- I still have a few left! I've been rationing us, no more than two each a day. I hope they never end! Hugs hugs, you!

And finally, back to the bacon!

We'd designated Tuesday to be mac and cheese night, so mid-afternoon when I realized I had all the time in the world to make dinner, I decided to look for a new recipe. I make mac and cheese a lot, but I make lazy man's mac -- all in one pot. Cook the noodles, dump in some milk, drop in some cheese, stir, and eat. I remembered my conversation with Meg, remembered I had some bacon in my fridge, and thought, what the hell -- why not try bacon in my mac and cheese, too!?

I settled on this recipe from Food Network. I mostly followed the recipe, but I didn't have any cream and I certainly wasn't using whole milk -- I ended up just using about 3-1/2 cups of skim milk. I also didn't have quite that much cheese, so I used about 4 cups total, then sprinkled a handful of cheddar and parm each on top. The lemon juice seemed weird, so I skipped that step, and I also added a few sprinkles of breadcrumbs on top. Threw it all in the oven... and man, did that smell GOOD cooking. It was still bubbling when I took these pics:

I couldn't wait to dig in and dished out the goods, pairing it with a little creamed corn and some classic white bread -- a little southern WT dinner, ya'll! (PS I'm totally in love with these separated dishes I bought for the kids at Christmas dinner a few years ago). Oh, and FYI, the little green specs? Those are just some tricolor rottini I threw in (we have like 5 open boxes of noodles in the cupboard, sheesh!).

The verdict? I think I am sold on bacon in mac and cheese!! It definitely is a strong flavor element, but I think it worked. It also felt more like a meal and I filled up quicker than I normally do (only one trip back to the pot for more!). I can only imagine how delicious this would be with the whole milk, cream, and real bacon.... Definitely recommendable, either way. And the leftovers? Even MORE delicious. I'm excited I have one last spoonful for lunch again tomorrow.....

4 comments:

KayBee said...

Too funny..I used to hate packing my lunch as a kid too. I always made sandwiches because they were easy hence my serious adversion to sandwiches now (well, unless they are grilled cheese of course but never got to pack that for school).
I totally am visting your house on Tuesdays and making a mad dash to Target to get my own Bento Box!! LZ has me hooked. Packing you lunch is the new trend - seriously yo. PS. Bacon in, on or surrounding anything is the best. I once wrapped a shoe in bacon and it was delish:)

queen b said...

DUH! ;) This post totally reminded me of the bacon mac 'n cheese we got at Levende Lounge in San Francisco back in 2006. Yum. I totally had mac 'n cheese for dinner on Tuesday, too, but it was not as good as yours!

And did anyone notice Kristal said "seriously yo" in her comment? Glad to know I have some influence around this place!

Lady Lisa said...

awww. Look at me, inspiring you kids to pack lunch. Who knew my obsession would turn into a hobby for all my friends too! I'm up to 3 bento boxes now, so let me know if you need suggestions on where to find stuff.

Also, I almost peed my pants laughing out loud when I saw your ghetto mac dinner. Love the mixed noodle touch. You'll turn thrifty into fabulous yet. ;-)

Alison said...

That recipe looks amazing - even with the lemon juice! I'll have to try it out. And I actually like the taste of turkey bacon better than the taste of "real" bacon. Is that weird or what?