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Stove Top Beer And Bacon Mac And Cheese

I’m not a beer snob. To be honest, the term has always rubbed against the grain.

I’m a beer fan, a beer lover, a girl fascinated by beer, but I’m not a snob.

I spent years on the fringes of the music industry in LA, and the beer snobs I meet now echo those same phrases I heard then. And so do my responses.

If you loved The Killers when we saw them play free shows at The Spaceland, you should still love them when they win Grammys.

Good music, is good music. Regardless of how many, or how few, other people like it.

If you loved Rogue Dead Guy Ale when no one carried it, you should still love it when it has mass distribution.

Good beer, is good beer. Regardless of how many, or how few, other people like it.

At a beer event a few months ago I asked the rep from North Coast Brewing why he hadn’t brought any Scrimshaw, "The Beer Snobs would eat me alive if I poured that!" And then whispered to me that it was what he drank more than anything else.

Stop doing that.

Good beer is good beer. Don’t be afraid to drink what you like, even if everyone else likes it too.

In celebration of good beer, I give you my favorite one pot, quick and easy, make this for Thanksgiving, you will never make it from a box again, Mac & Cheese. Hope you still love it even when everyone else does too.

Stove Top Beer And Bacon Mac And Cheese

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups elbow macaroni
  • 4 strips of bacon, cut in half
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup beer (pale ale, blonde, bock, and Hef work well, an IPA will give you a very strong beer flavor)
  • 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese (fresh grated, pre-shreaded has additives that prevents it from melting properly)
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • salt to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large pot of boiling water, add the noodles and cook until just before done. Don't over-cook the noodles or this will end up mushy.
  2. Drain the pasta, return the pot to the stove and cook the bacon until crispy, remove from pot and allow to cool.
  3. Drain off bacon grease and return drained noodles to the pot.
  4. In a separate bowl, add the beer, egg and sour cream, beat until well combined.
  5. Add the butter and the beer mixture to the noodles and return to medium heat. Stir until the butter has melted.
  6. About 1/4 a cup at a time, add the cheese. Stir until cheese has melted before adding more.
  7. Add the spices and chopped bacon, stir.
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Orzo Caprese In Tomato Cups

When I was a kid "Pasta Salad" was just a requisite side dish at family gatherings that was hastily bought at the grocery store and remained in it’s plastic tub beside other more appetizing offerings while slowly making it’s way to room temperature. I never really understood how macaroni noodles, eggs and mustard where always such an important part of every barbecue I went to. And while these little gatherings were being planned, there was always a mention of it, "Who is going to bring the pasta salad?"  Pasta salads have so much variety and take so little time, you don’t ever have to resort to grocery store tub again.

Instead of that I offer you this. Orzo pasta and a fairly traditional Caprese salad, mixed together and served in a hallowed out tomato (feel free to bypass the individual serving size vegetable dish for larger gatherings.)

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Orzo Caprese Salad in Tomato Cups

1 cup dry Orzo pasta

2 cups (10 oz) grape tomatoes, halved

2 cups small mozzareall balls (ciliegine sized) cut in half or quarters

5 basil leaves, chopped

3 tbs pesto sauce

1 tsp balsamic

Salt & Pepper

4 beefsteak tomatoes

Cook Orzo according to package directions until al dente, put in a bowl with the grape tomatoes, mozzarella balls, basil leaves, pesto and balsamic. Toss to combine, salt and pepper to taste.

To serve in tomato cups, cut the beefsteak tomatoes in half widthwise and use a melon baller to scoop out the insides.

Fill with Orzo Caprese Salad and serve.

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