Can I get a hell ya? I CAN’T HEEEEEAAAR YOOOOOOUUUUU. Sorry, I’m excited. I’m taking classic mac and cheese up a notch by adding crispy bacon and some broccoli florets. I also like to eat it drowned in hot sauce but you can use ketchup/ leave it as is if you can’t handle the heat. This is such a good make ahead meal. You can easily double this recipe (highly recommend it) and have one for dinner and a separate casserole for the freezer. Full instructions on when to freeze and how to re-heat below.
Bacon Broccoli Mac and Cheese
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Total time: 40 minutes
Yield: 8-10 servings
- 1lb cavatappi noodles
- 3 cups grated sharp cheddar*see notes
- 3 cups grated gouda*see notes
- 3 cups steamed broccoli florets (I used frozen and I thawed it in the microwave to save time)
- 4 slices cooked of bacon, crumbled
- ½ cup butter
- ½ cup flour
- 4 cups whole milk, room temperature
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. pepper
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
*Use good quality cheese and grate it yourself! If you buy the bagged pre-grated stuff thinking it will save you time you are right – it will save you time but the low quality of the product makes a grainy cheese sauce that doesn’t taste nearly as good. I use the grating attachment for my food processor to speed things up!
Preheat oven to 350F.
Boil noodles in a large pot of salted water according to directions on package for al dente noodles. Drain and set aside. In a large saucepot melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
Slowly add in milk, whisking constantly until smooth. Continue to cook over medium heat until sauce has thickened. Stir in the grated cheese 1 cup at a time, reserving 1 cup of grated cheddar to sprinkle on top. Mix in the cooked noodles and broccoli florets, and ¾ of the crumbled bacon bits.
Grease a 9x13 baking dish. Pour the noodle/sauce mixture into the dish and top with remaining cheese and bacon bits.
Cook in centre rack of oven for 20 minutes, until hot and bubbly.
If you are making this ahead, cover your mac and cheese casserole and freeze it before it goes into the oven. When you are ready to eat it pop it into a preheated oven at 350F. Cook, covered with aluminum foil for 1 hour, remove foil and cook for an additional 15 minutes.