Anyone who knows me well enough knows that I have been obsessed with weddings lately. People all around me are getting engaged or married so I can’t help but scroll through the photos they post from their photo sessions. This addiction only became worse when my close friend Emily got engaged. Emily and I have been friends since we were about 11 years old. We go way back to recess time in elementary school and have grown up together. Here are some of our finer moments…
Or of course this classic…
Even though I don’t see her as much as I would like, she is one of those friends where we can just pick up where we left off. Naturally, when I learned of her engagement, I geeked out. I couldn’t wait to start planning and getting preparations together for the big day!
She is my first close friend to get married so every other time I go on Pinterest it is to go to the wedding board. After speaking with her last night about new wedding details, I was inspired to make mac and cheese for my blog. Emily and I are similar in the fact that we can each eat mac and cheese multiple times per week. It’s just so tasty! It is classic American comfort food and after a long day, mac and cheese is hard to beat.
But how should I cook it? Should I bake it? Should I just heat it on the stove? So many questions and so many possibilities! Since I needed to test out my mac and cheese recipes anyways, I decided to do a doubleheader on mac and cheese this week! The first version I made is today’s version: baked mac and cheese kicked up a little bit with the addition of some hot red pepper flakes. This recipe comes to me from my dear boyfriend Matt, which I have taken and made a few alterations to.
This baked mac and cheese is super creamy and cheesy. Then, after baking, we get a nice contrast in texture in the crispy panko crumbs that cover the top of our mac and cheese. Finally, you get a slight heat from the red pepper flakes. All of this combined makes a pretty tasty and kicked up version of baked mac and cheese.
So it’s time for this head to head to take place. Vote for your favorite by commenting, tweeting me (@GoEatandRepeat), liking the recipe on our Facebook page, pin it, or any other form of public displays of affection.
This mac and cheese face off is for you Emily! I can’t wait to celebrate at your wedding!
Prep time 40 times, Serves 4
- 1/2 box fun shaped pasta
- 4 tbs butter
- 2 tbs flour
- 2 cups milk, warmed
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Cook pasta according to box instructions and set to the side.
- In a larger pot on medium low heat, melt 2 tbs butter. Add in flour and stir thoroughly.
- Cook flour for about 1 to 2 minutes. Add milk.
- Simmer milk mixture, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 5 minutes.
- Add salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes and cheddar cheese. Stir until cheese is melted.
- Add reserved pasta to cheese sauce and gently fold to incorporate all ingredients. Pour into a greased baking dish.
- Melt remaining 2 tbs of butter in a small dish. Add in panko bread crumbs and mix until all breadcrumbs are lightly coated in butter.
- Pour panko mixture on top of mac and cheese.
- Place in oven and bake 10 minutes or until panko has browned.
Note: When cooking your pasta, it is best to cook it for the minimum amount of time recommended by the box. Since we’ll also be baking it, we don’t want the noodles to get too soft.