Macaroni & Cheese is good... but BAKED macaroni & cheese is better!
For some reason I thought making baked macaroni & cheese was much harder than is actually is. It's a wonderful dish you can serve up for several guests and you can always be quite creative on what goes in it. I think adding a bag of real bacon bites (you can find these in the salad dressing aisle at your local grocery store) adds great flavor. How can you ever go wrong with cheese and bacon, right!? I've used different types of cheese... but, thanks to a tip by the ever-reliable, Paula Deen, I was introduced to hoop cheese. It's a type of farmers cheese that can be found in the deli area of your grocery store... next to the other "fancy" cheeses. Some stores may not carry it... usually Whole Foods or Harris Titter will have it... but remember, if you can't find it, you can use any other type of cheese you want.
Tip - Watch how much salt you put in this. Between the bacon bits and cheese, it already has quite a bit of salt. I've learned this lesson the hard way. :-/
Baked Macaroni & Cheese with Bacon Bits
4 cups of cooked elbow pasta - (boil 2 cups of uncooked pasta.)
1 cup of hoop cheese, chopped up in small cubes
2 cups of grated sharp cheddar cheese - (I just buy the already grated bags of cheese at the store.)
2 cups of grated mozzarella cheese or any other white cheese of your liking.
1/2 stick of butter or 4 tablespoons of butter.
2/3 cup of sour cream.
3 eggs, beaten.
1 cup milk.
1 teaspoon of salt
1 small bag of real bacon bits to garnish
Breadcrumbs for topping.
* Preheat over to 350.
* Prepare the pasta as directed. Boil pasta in water in a pot until soft. Drain.
* After draining water, return pot with the pasta to the stove. Reduce heat to low.
* Add 1/2 stick of butter and stir until butter has melted.
* Add the hoop cheese cubes. Stir until almost all of it is melted.
* Add 1 1/2 cup of sharp cheddar cheese and 1 cup of mozzarella cheese.
* Add sour cream, milk and eggs. Stir until it's thick and creamy. Add a little salt or half-bag of bacon bits. Stir again.
* Pours contents of the pot into a greased casserole dish. Top with 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese and a few breadcrumbs.
* Bake for 45 minutes.
* After 45 minutes, rotate the dish in the oven and add the remaining cheese (1/2 cup cheddar & 1/2 cup mozzarella) a few more breadcrumbs and bacon bits.
* Bake for 10 more minutes.
Serve with a dollop of sour cream and parsley to garnish