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Macaroni Cheese (with Bacon and Mushrooms)

(Serves 2 persons)


The beauty of this recipe is that it is so adaptable! If you prefer a plain Macaroni Cheese then do not include the Bacon, Mushrooms or Onion! Ham can be substituted for the bacon but it won’t need cooking first. Spring Onions can be substituted for the ordinary onion. A few cooked Garden Peas can be added if you prefer them. (Sliced tomatoes can also be added if you like.) Be adaptable and creative and serve up a real tasty and filling meal!


Ingredients:

90g Macaroni

3 slices of Back Bacon, or substitute Ham

1 very small onion, or substituted Spring Onion

40g Button Mushrooms, White or Chestnut

43g Butter

35g Plain Flour

1/2 pint of Milk

Salt and Pepper to taste

1/2 teaspoon English Mustard, optional

Grated Cheese to taste, and for the topping

Breadcrumbs for the topping


Method:

Preheat the oven to 200C or Gas 6.

Cook 90g (3 1/2 oz.) of Macaroni in salted boiling water for 10 minutes, but do not over-cook.

Whilst this is cooking gently fry 3 slices of back bacon, plain or smoked, cut into little squares, in a little vegetable oil, along with a very small onion finely chopped or spring onions finely sliced. Also add approximately 40g (1 1/2oz.) of button mushrooms, white or chestnut, halved or quartered depending on their size. (Sliced tomatoes can also be added if you like.) When soft and the bacon is cooked but not crisp drain off any surplus fat. Set aside.

During this time you can also make the sauce:

Melt 43g (1 1/2oz.) Butter on a low heat and when melted add into the pan 35g (1oz.) Plain Flour and stir and cook for a few minutes. Slowly add in 1/2pint (0.284ml) of milk, stirring all the time. When all the milk has been added turn up the heat a little, continue stirring until the sauce thickens. If any small lumps appear press them against the side of the pan to help them dissolve. After a while the sauce will gently bubble. If the sauce appears too thick then just add some more milk. Now add salt and pepper to taste and some grated cheddar cheese according to how strong you would like this cheese sauce to be! Half a teaspoon of English Mustard could be added here too if required. A sprinkling of Italian Herbs can be also added at this stage if you like an Italian style taste.

Into a small casserole dish tip all the cooked macaroni, separate any stuck-together pieces. Add in the cooked bacon, onions and mushrooms and mix in with the macaroni. Finally pour in the sauce and mix the lot all together.

Level off the top with the back of a spoon and then sprinkle the top with breadcrumbs and then some grated cheese. Place in the oven for about 20mins until the top is golden brown.

Serve with any cooked fresh green vegetables.

FREEZING: If you want to freeze this meal for a later day do not cook in the oven but share the  mixture between two metal foil trays. Top with breadcrumbs and cheese as above and then freeze. Defrost before cooking in the oven. (The mixture can also be frozen in plastic trays for cooking in a microwave later.)

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