Is there anything more comforting than a big bowl of mac’ and cheese? It’s soft, it’s creamy, it’s cheesey and it’s delicious!
Well, here’s our take on the traditional mac’ and cheese with a few extras thrown in and the best thing is, you can make the white sauce recipe in the microwave! Now that really is easy peesey!
400g macaroni pasta
1 x packet of chopped short cut bacon (approx 200g)
2 x sticks celery
1 x whole medium cauliflower
100g baby spinach
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs (normal is fine)
1/3 cup plain flour
2 x cups milk
1 tbs Dijon mustard
1 x cup of grated cheese and extra for sprinkling
Salt & Pepper to taste
1. Turn on the oven to 200 degrees.
2. Cook macaroni as per instructions on packet, set aside.
3. Cut up cauliflower into small pieces and steam until tender, set aside.
4. In a small frying pan, cook the bacon and the celery until the bacon is crispy and the celery is tender, set aside.
To make the white sauce…
1. In a large glass Pyrex (or microwave safe) bowl, melt the butter for approximately 20 seconds then whisk in the flour to make a smooth roux.
2. Add 1/2 a cup of milk to the mixture, whisk well then return to the microwave and cook on high for a further 30 seconds.
3. Give it another whisk before adding the remaining 1 & 1/2 cups of milk, whisk together well then return to the microwave, on high for two minutes.
4. Remove the bowl from the microwave, give it a good mix then return and cook on high for a further 1-2 minutes (you will get a feel for how thick the sauce is after the first mix).
5. Once the sauce has thickened, add the Dijon mustard, cheese, salt and pepper and mix well.
Then combine together…
1. Combine all the ingredients together, macaroni, cauliflower, bacon, celery, baby spinach and white sauce until mixed well.
2. Pour into a lasagna size dish and push down gently, spreading evenly.
3. Sprinkle with the panko bread crumbs and extra grated cheese then bake in the over for 15-20 minutes or until bread crumbs start to become golden and the cheese melts.
Serve immediately! Also tastes great the next day as left overs for lunch!
You can really use any veggies you like in this recipe, broccoli, roast pumpkin, onion/leek, capsicum… I just make it simple so the kids will eat it but if yours are a little more adventurous than mine then the sky is the limit!
If you can, try and get smokey bacon as it enhances the flavour dramatically. Of course, if you are vegetarian, then omit the bacon.
You can also mix through left over shredded roast chook if you fancy making it a little more hearty.
If you don’t fancy making the white sauce in the microwave then you can make it on the stove in a small saucepan using the same method.