Comfort Food

Saturday evening, Kansas City got hit with an ice storm.  The weathermen had been predicting it all week, so most of us were prepared to stay inside.  JP and I decided to make a last minute dash out to Buffalo Wild Wings to grab some take-out before the evening college basketball games started.  We made it home right as the ice started freezing on my windshield.

All night long, we could hear the ice blowing against our windows.  By Sunday morning, the ice-fall had turned to snowfall which, as any Midwesterner will tell you, is an extremely dangerous combo – snow on top of ice.  So JP and I searched through our end-of-the-month refrigerator contents for anything we could turn into a meal.  With a little help from Pinterest, we ended up with Brussels sprout turkey bacon mac and cheese.  There is nothing quite like sitting on the couch, catching up on every crime drama under the sun, while indulging in a (large) bowl of melted cheese and pasta.

Brussels Sprout, Turkey Bacon, Gruyere Mac and Cheese (original recipe by love & olive oil)

8 ounces elbow macaroni
1/4 cups heavy cream
1 3/4 cups almond milk
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 slices reduced fat turkey bacon, chopped
8 ounces gruyere cheese, grated
8 ounces Brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced
1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 2-quart casserole dish (about 11×7 inches in size) and set aside.

Cook macaroni according to package directions until just al-dente. Drain and set aside.

Melt butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. When butter is completely melted, add flour and whisk until sauce is smooth and begins to bubble, 2 to 3 minutes. Slowly pour in cream and almond milk, whisking vigorously, until all the cream/milk is incorporated and mixture is smooth.

Continue to cook over medium heat, whisking regularly, until sauce bubbles and has thickened slightly. Lower temperature to low and whisk in cayenne, paprika, and salt and pepper. Slowly add cheese, a handful at a time, whisking until melted before adding more. Stir in macaroni, turkey bacon, and sliced Brussels sprouts until evenly coated.

Pour into the prepared dish. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over top. Bake for 20 minutes, then broil for 2 minutes or until breadcrumbs are golden brown. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!


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