Will and I had gotten to that point in our lives when we needed to meal plan. I can’t tell you how much money I blew buying things we might need or the time it cost us to run out for the things I had forgotten. If that wasn’t bad enough, too often I actually had everything I needed but Will wasn’t in the mood for whatever was on the menu that day. He has no problem ordering pizza or anything else for that matter until our account winds up a few hundred dollars short of what he’d expected. Truthfully, it’s not hard to do.
While, I like all things ethnic and Will craves home style cooking. The answer was planning together. On Sundays, we all sit down and sort out what we want to eat for the week. It usually starts with dinner but we plan every meal including what beverages we’ll have in the house and snacks. I didn’t really grow up with snacks, so I never really think about it. God help us if we run out of sweets!
What I found was that by doing this, we’ve cut nearly $50 out of our bill every week. The meals get eaten and I’m not racking my brain trying to figure out what they want to eat this time. Meal Planning is awesome.
I know there are some really great apps out there for this stuff but for me, I use notepad. You know, the one that comes with your iphone. I am really not good at typing on anything that’s not a traditional keyboard. That little microphone button is my best friend. That’s not very exciting is it? The exciting part is having finally found a grocery list app that organizes my entries by department in the supermarket. I’m a true fan of Anylist. Say “Cheese” and it ends up under the “Dairy” heading. I love that! No more trekking all over the grocery store because I suddenly remembered I needed onions while standing medicine aisle.
Ok. Ok. This post was supposed to be about Bacon Mac N’ Cheese so let’s get to the point. I never in a million years would have served Bacon Mac N’ Cheese for dinner. This was very clearly Will’s contribution. I’m sure in his mind, I was picking up a box of shells n’ cheese and a pound of bacon. However, I chose to do it up right.
After careful research, I found this recipe. I did not buy a pound of bacon. Instead, I went for the short cut and bought Oscar Mayer Real Bacon Bits. It’s that specific and no I’m not getting paid for this post. They are phenomenal and shelf stable. That small choice created the list of alterations. This recipe is what we ended up with:
- 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
- 6 oz Oscar Mayer Real Bacon Bits
- 3 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp flour
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp ground mustard
- 1 3/4 cups shredded sharp Cheddar Jack cheese
- 2 slices of bread
- 1 tbsp melted butter
- Preheat oven to 400 F degrees.
- Cook the pasta and drain, reserving 2 cups of pasta water.
- In a separate pan, melt 3 tablespoons butter.
- Add 3 tablespoons of flour and stir until thoroughly combined.
- Add pasta water and evaporated milk.
- Bring mixture to a boil.
- Add cheese, garlic, and mustard.
- Stir until thickened.
- Add bacon bits and stir.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour Mac n’ Cheese in oven safe dish.
- Toast bread until dark but not burned.
- Tear into pieces and load into food processor.
- Pulse until crumbs appear.
- Add butter and continue to pulse until thoroughly combined.
- Sprinkle crumb mixture over the Mac N’ Cheese
- Bake at 400 F for 15 minutes or until crumbs are dark golden brown.