Cookin' ATVS Style: Mama Gomila's Mac & Cheese (kicked up) with Roasted Asparagus

Father's Day is of course a day for grillin'. Naturally, my dad's not too keen on anybody else doing the grillin' on his grill, and with my mom out of town, it fell on yours truly to come up with the side dishes for this year's feast, and I decided to spice up my mom's usual Mac & Cheese recipe, with some roasted asparagus. The Mac & Cheese recipe probably came from some 80s cookbook or another, but my mom had it down on an index card. I decided to play with it a little by adding the seasoning mix. As for the milk, I find its best to adjust it to the consistency you prefer. Anything over four cups will be a lot, though.


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Ingredients

1 8-ounce block of sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 8-ounce block of pepper jack cheese, grated
1 16-ounce bag of macaroni noodles
2-4 cups milk (depending on desired consistency)
4 tbsp flour
4 tbsp of butter, plus 2-3 pats
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cayanne pepper
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 cup dried breadcrumbs
Bacon bits (I used about half a package but I say do this one to taste)
Paprika

Instructions

1. Boil the noodles to package specifications, drain and set aside.

2. Combine the grated cheese and then divide into two 8-oz portions.

3. Combine the salt, pepper, mustard and nutmeg in a small bowl and set aside.

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4. In a large dutch oven, melt the 4 tbsps of butter over medium heat and whisk in the flour until smooth and incorporated.

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5. Slowly add the milk, whisking as you pour. Add the seasonings, increase your heat and cook the sauce for at least 5 minutes or until thickened, stirring often.

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6. Slowly add one portion of the grated cheese, again, slowly and while stirring, so that the cheese will melt into the sauce evenly and not clump.

7. Fold in the macaroni and stir to incorporate and make sure as much of it is coated by the sauce as possible.

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8. Pour the pasta and sauce into a 13x9-inch baking dish, and spread to make sure it covers the dish evenly.

9. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top, followed by the bacon, and then the bread crumbs. Again, you want to make sure you coat the top of the dish as evenly as possible.

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10. Sprinkle the top with some paprika, and then dot with 2-3 pats of butter, just to make sure the crust doesn't dry out too much.

11. Bake uncovered, at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until the crust is good and browned. This should serve 8-12 people.

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Ingredients

1 bunch fresh asparagus spears
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp minced garlic
1.5 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp black pepper

Personally, I prefer to stick asparagus on the grill, but we didn't have room with the chicken and sausage, so we used the oven here. Either way will work just fine.

Instructions

1. Break/cut the tips off of the asparagus spears, and then place in a large Ziploc bag.

2. In a small bowl combine the olive oil, garlic and seasonings and mix well.

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3. Pour the olive oil mixture over the asparagus, seal the bag and shake to make sure the spears are well coated. Place in fridge and allow at least 30 minutes to marinate -- though the longer the better, obviously.

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4. Remove the spears from the Ziploc bag, wrap in aluminum foil and place in a baking sheet.

5. Back in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes or until tender.

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