Last week, Philly was graced with its 2nd major Blizzard in under 6 days. The whole city pretty much shut down on Wednesday = SNOW DAY! Luckily, I also had off on Thursday as Philly is completely unmanageable under 30+ inches of snow & ice chunks. Dre still had to trudge to work and I wanted to make sure he came home to a warm house and a warm dinner! I had defrosted a whole chicken and searched for a recipe online. My first stop is to see what Kayotic Kitchen has up her sleave. Rustic Roasted Chicken? Sounds perfect to me!
I have an odd obsession with the process of butterflying a whole chicken, or spatchcocking it. I had my first adventure with it last summer for my grilled Chicken Under A Brick. It’s easier to slice & serve and makes sense if you aren’t planning to stuff it. Kayotic Kitchen’s marinade for the chicken was a beautiful crimson (in real life) and super tasty.
Marinating Chicken nestled in Raw Vegetables
I improvised the veggies and such with I had available including baby carrots, shallots, onions, Idaho spuds, green onion, smashed garlic cloves, fresh thyme, & turkey bacon to keep it straight poultry.
Fresh Thyme w/ Vegetables
The 7lb bird took about 2-2.5hrs to cook and had the house smelling delicious when Dre got home from work.
Rustic Roasted Chicken & Vegetables
I whipped up what were supposed to be fluffy cheddar biscuits to serve with the chicken. Instead, I got cheddar pancakes. What more could I expect from mix I picked up from Acme for $1. They were still tasty with some melted butter and reheated perfectly for a quick Leftover Lightning! (in the form of a yummy chicken sammie the next day!)
Cheddar Biscuits turned Pancakes
P.S. I highly suggest you click through to the Kayotic Kitchen blog. Kayleigh’s photos are beautiful and recipes are really amazing & easy to follow. I could only aspire to take ones that great. Her love for food is certainly sincere ❤
Dre’s main request for Friday’s dinner was Mac & Cheese WITH BACON to accompany my Roasted Tomato, Mushroom, & Smoked Mozz Stuffed Chicken Breasts. On a shopping trip last week, I picked up the most adorable red casserole dish and this was the perfect opportunity to christen it. I needed to refresh myself on Mac & Cheese basics and Alton Brown seemed like my go-to man. I forgot how easily you can turn a basic rue, some milk, onion, & cheese (and bacon, of course) into the most comforting of foods. Mmmm, Mac & Cheese!
Shredded Mozz, Cheddar, Smoked Gouda, & Velveeta
I put Dre in charge of finishing up the Mac & Cheese. He crumbled bacon and tossed it into the macaroni & melty cheese mixture. The jumbo macaroni were perfectly filled up with the bacon & gooey cheesiness. He gets half the credit on this cooking venture for that move!
Smokey Bacon Mac & Cheese
No Baked Mac & Cheese is complete without a crunchy crust and why not have it add to the cheesiness! Dre crushed up some Cheez-Its, tossed with melted butter, and sprinkled on top. It added a crunchy texture to the creamiest, yummiest Mac & Cheese I’ve ever tasted, if I do say so myself! And how cute is that casserole dish?!
Smokey Bacon Mac & Cheese w/ a Cheez-It crust
Smokey Bacon Mac & Cheese
adapted from Alton Brown’s Macaroni & Cheese Recipe
- Macaroni – (1) lb, cooked al dente
- Farfalle, Orchiette, Spirals & Shells all work well, too
- Butter – (3) T + (2) T
- Flour – (3) T
- Milk – (3) cups
- Whole Grain Mustard – (1) T
- Paprika – (2) tsp
- Bay Leaf – (1)
- White Onion – (1/2) med onion, chopped
- Shredded Cheeses – (4) cups or more
- I used (2) cups Mild Cheddar, (2) cups Mozzarella, & (1) cup of Smoked Gouda
- Velveeta – (8) oz, cubed
- Smoked Bacon – (4-5) slices, cooked & chopped (optional, I guess…)
- Cheez-Its – (1.5) cups, crushed
- Cook macaroni until al dente. Drain and set aside.
- Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
- Melt (3) T of butter in a heavy pot on Med and add flour. Stir for about 5 min until it turns a light caramel brown, watching closely.
- Add Milk, Mustard, Paprika, Bay Leaf, Onion, & S&P and stir. Bring to a simmer on Med for about 5 min. Remove Bay Leaf.
- Immediately add the cheese mixture to the pasta in a large bowl or your stock pot and coat. The bacon crumbles can go in now, too.
- Pour mixture into a large, greased baking dish or casserole.
- Crush (1.5) cups of Cheez-Its in a sealed plastic baggie and then toss with (2) T melted Butter in a bowl. Sprinkle over Mac & Cheese.
- Bake for about 30-40 min until bubbling. Remove and let it sit for (5) min before eating.