5 Stupid Simple Mac and Cheese Recipes

Keep it stupid simple!

5 Stupid Simple Mac and Cheese Recipes

1. Jack Daniels Smoky Bacon Mac and Cheese

How long it will take: 30 minutes

What you'll need:

½ tsp. kosher salt + more for pasta water

12 oz Hickory smoked peppered bacon, uncooked

2 tbsp. unsalted butter

½ c. Jack Daniel's Whiskey

½ c. chicken broth

¼ c. all-purpose flour

½ tsp. smoked paprika

1 tsp. garlic powder

½ tsp. New Mexico chili powder

1 tbsp. chili pepper paste

½ tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

2 c. milk

4 oz extra sharp cheddar (white), shredded

2 oz smoked provolone cheese, shredded

2 oz Asiago cheese, shredded

8 oz dry elbow pasta croutons (garnish) 

What to do:

Bring an 8 quart covered pot filled with water to a boil over high heat. Once it boils, add a handful of salt and pasta. Reduce heat to medium high and cook uncovered to al dente (has a bite to it). Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, warm a large 12” skillet over medium-high heat. Using clean kitchen shears cut bacon into bite size pieces over the skillet and let them to fall into the pan. Stir occasionally as needed. Cook until crisp. While the bacon is cooking, shred cheeses and prepare remaining ingredients.

Once bacon is cooked through, remove bacon to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Reserve 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings and discard the rest. Wipe the side of the skillet to avoid flame ups.

Pour reserved bacon drippings back into the skillet over medium heat and add butter. Once melted add flour and whisk to combine. Add spices, chili paste, Worcestershire, whiskey and chicken broth. Whisk to combine. Allow to come to a bubble for 3 minutes, whisking occasionally to help pick up the bits on the bottom of the pan. Add milk. Whisk to combine. Bring back to a bubble and add cheeses. Stir until cheese is melted and smooth.

Add pasta to sauce and stir to combine. Add bacon. Cook pasta in sauce for 5 minutes over medium heat until sauce thickens and the pasta has a chance to absorb some of the sauce. Sprinkle with croutons, enjoy!

Recipe courtesy of The Slow Roasted Italian.  

2. One-Skillet Mac and Cheese

How long it will take: 25 minutes

What you'll need:

2 c. water

½ c. chicken broth

5 oz evaporated milk

¾ c. whole milk (divided)

3 c. elbow macaroni, uncooked

2 tbsp. butter (optional)

1 c. sharp cheddar cheese (can use more), shredded

1½ c. mild white cheddar cheese (can use more), shredded

⅛ tsp. smoked paprika

¼ tsp. ground mustard

salt & pepper

What to do:

In a large deep skillet, add water, chicken broth, evaporated milk, ½ cup of whole milk, and elbow macaroni. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce heat to a simmer (watch carefully it will overflow if you let it boil to rapidly). Cook until al dente while stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and let sit for a few minutes until some of the liquid has absorbed. Stir in butter, if using. Add the cheeses a little at a time while stirring.
Add in enough of remaining milk to create a creamy sauce (you can place the pot back on the heat on low if you need more heat to melt the cheese). Stir in smoked paprika and ground mustard. Stir in salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Recipe courtesy of Divas Can Cook.

3. Grilled Mac and Cheese

How long it will take: 10 minutes

What you'll need:

4 slices Sourdough (or other dense bread)

8 slices American or Cheddar Cheese

2 tbsp. butter

1½ c. leftover macaroni and cheese

What to do:

Over medium heat, warm ¾ cup of mac & cheese in a small nonstick skillet. Once warm (about 3-4 minutes), shape mac & cheese into a square about the size of the bread and top with 2 slices of cheese. Turn off heat.

Butter 2 slices of bread and place both slices butter side down in another skillet over medium heat. Top one of the bread slices with 2 slices cheese. When lightly browned turn off heat. Use spatula to transfer mac & cheese rectangle onto cheese covered bread in the skillet. Cover with the other bread slice, toasted side up. Gently press together with spatula and transfer to a plate. Serve immediately.

Recipe courtesy of Spend With Pennies.

4. Bacon Jalapeño Mac and Cheese

How long it will take: 30 minutes

What you'll need:

1 16. oz. box pasta (I use cavatappi or penne pasta)

2 tbsp. butter

2 c. milk

8 oz. bag shredded sharp cheddar cheese (+ more grated cheese if you want to use some on top of the casserole for a cheesy crust)

4 oz. Velveeta cheese, cut up into chunks

1 lb. bacon, diced

5 jalapeños, veins and seeds removed + sliced

What to do:

Preheat oven to 350º. Cook pasta according to package directions, except cook about 2 minutes less. You want the pasta al' dente so it will soak up some sauce. Drain when cooked and set aside.

Cook bacon in large saucepan. Remove from grease and let drain on paper towels.
Drain grease from pan (leave about a tablespoon in the pan) and then add jalapeños and sauté a couple of minutes to soften them. CAUTION: turn on your fan! And be careful, the spice will make you cough! Remove jalapeño from pan and set aside with the bacon.

In medium saucepan, melt butter, then add milk and heat. Add cheeses and continue to heat over medium heat, stirring, until cheese is melted and combined.

In large casserole dish, combine pasta, cheese sauce, bacon and jalapeños. Top with additional grated cheddar cheese, if desired. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Let sit about 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe courtesy of I'm Bored - Let's Go....

5. 10-Minute Mac and Cheese Pizza

How long it will take: 10 minutes

What you'll need:

8" pre-baked [mini] pizza crust

1 Horizon Macaroni and Mild Cheddar cup

1/4 cup shredded cheese (I used a white cheddar mozzarella blend)

1 tsp bacon crumbles (optional)

pinch of parmesan and Italian spice blend for garnish 

What to do:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Prepare the macaroni and cheese according to package directions. Spread mac and cheese over the crust. Top with extra cheese, parmesan, Italian Spice blend and optional bacon crumbles. 

Bake for 8 to 12 minutes or until everything is hot and bubbly. Serve and Enjoy! 

Recipe courtesy of Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom.

Fashion, beauty and lifestyle editor at Livingly. Miami Hurricane obsessed, forever Miami Heat loyal, Food Network junkie. You can reach me anytime at alison.higgins@livingly.com.
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