Beer and Bacon Macaroni and Cheese

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I’m that weird person that wants to eat all the burned cheese off the top of lasagnas, spaghetti and baked mac and cheese. I stare at the dishes coming out of the oven and immediately plot how to remove the crusty, burned bits without anyone catching me in the act.

Because really, how weird would it look for Tony to waltz up to me with a hungry tummy and an empty plate while I am maniacally hunched over the dish, picking it with my fingers and calling it my precious?

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One step away from the nut house, is what it’d be.

Luckily for me, I married a man who hates the burned cheese so I get it allllll to myself without looking like too much of a freak. Win.

This mac and cheese is a whole lot greater than the sum of it’s parts. Beer, two different cheeses, homemade panko breadcrumbs, bacon, pasta… oh yes. Bring all these elements together and you get what I would consider premium mac and cheese. And I get all the burny, crunchy cheesy bits all to myself. Be jealous 😉

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Beer and Bacon Macaroni and Cheese
adapted from How Sweet It Is
serves 4-6


2 1/2 cups uncooked shell noodles (you can sub elbow noodles)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
8 ounces milk*
8 ounces beer (I used Blue Moon Belgian White)
8 ounces freshly grated cheddar cheese
4 ounces freshly grated gruyere cheese
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
pinch of nutmeg
1/2 cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs
4 strips thick cut bacon, fried and coarsely chopped

Note: I’m betting that if you used heavy cream in place of the milk that it would yield a creamier, thicker consistency. (Also, I hate bacon. I added it to make it the ultimate mac and cheese. The things I do for you people. If you don’t like bacon, which I’m sure you all do, feel free to leave it off.)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Prepare water for pasta and boil according to directions, cooking until just al dente.

Heat a medium saucepan over medium high heat and melt butter. Once melted and sizzling, whisk in flour to create a roux and cook until bubbly and golden in color, about 2 minutes (mine was a bit lumpy at first, just keep whisking and it’ll come together). Add milk and beer into saucepan whisking constantly to combine, then add cheeses and stir until melted. Turn heat down to medium and continue to stir, cooking for 5-6 minutes while mixture thickens. Stir in pepper, paprika and nutmeg.

Butter a casserole dish; set aside. Drain noodles and add them to your buttered casserole dish. Then pour cheese over top, mixing gently to combine. Top with panko bread crumbs and an additional sprinkle of cheese if desired. Bake for 20 minutes, sprinkle with bacon and bake for another 5-10 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and the panko is golden on top.

Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes, if you can wait that long. Enjoy : )

This post is going to be a delicious dish at our blogging (early) Thanksgiving dinner table. For the turkey and all the trimmings, check out Phyl’s blog for the round-up. Who knows, you might find something you’d like to add to your dinner table 🙂

PS. This is real life. I was using a beer bottle as background filler for my pictures and the wind knocked it over. And it spilled everywhere. Nice.

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Pizza Swirl Bread

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What do you get someone who has absolutely everything they need and the means to get themselves anything they could ever want?

I mean, how HARD does that short, simple sentence make gift giving? Hella hard.

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I don’t have the problem of giving a gift that isn’t heartfelt. That’s not my style, any gift given by me always have a loving thought behind them. Always, non-negotiable.

And as (my) luck would have it, those that I want to show an immense love and appreciation for through my savvy gift giving ways, always end up being the ones who stump me due to said reason above.

And it sucks, people.

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I know, I know… it’s the thought that counts but dangit I want the item itself to count too. I don’t want it shoved in the darkest corner of your least used closet to gather dust. I want it to be loved.

It’s stressful. I’m stressed. Did I stress you out? Here, have some bread.

Not just any bread. This is the love child of swirled bread and pizza. All the ooey, gooey saucy toppings of a pizza surrounded by soft, pillowy bread. This really can’t get any better. Bake it and serve it up warm with extra pizza sauce for dipping/slathering. Eat and de-stress.

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Pizza Swirl Bread
adapted from How Sweet Eats
makes one loaf


1/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (you can sub AP flour for the WW)
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup warm water
1 large egg
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated
4 ounces cheddar cheese, grated
28 slices pepperoni
1/3 cup tomato sauce, or more if desired
1 tablespoon italian seasoning


In a measuring cup, combine milk and 2 tablespoons butter and pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds or until the butter melts; set aside to cool slightly.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together flours, yeast, and salt.

In your measuring cup with the milk/butter, add 1/4 cup of warm water and the egg and whisk to combine.

With the mixer on low speed (using a dough hook), add the milk mixture to the flour mixture. Mix on medium speed until dough comes together, about 5-6 minutes. Remove dough from bowl and lightly flour your workspace, then knead by hand for a minute or two until the dough becomes smooth. Add a few more teaspoons of flour if dough is sticky.

Coat the stand mixer bowl with non-stick cooking spray, then place dough in the bowl. Cover the bowl and set in a warm place to double in size for about one hour.

Optional: while your dough is rising, stick the pepperoni in the microwave on a paper towel lined plate for 30 seconds to remove a bit of grease. I then dabbed the tops of the pepperoni’s with a paper towel to get the excess grease off the tops as well.

Lightly spray an 8 1/2 x 4″ loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

After dough has risen, gently press you hand down into the dough to deflate it. Flour your workspace and roll into an 8 x 12 inch rectangle. Spread tomato sauce on first, then minced garlic, then pepperoni, then your cheeses (reserving a small handful) then italian seasoning. Starting at one of the short ends, tightly roll dough into a loaf. Place in loaf pan and brush with a little butter, and sprinkle with reserved cheese and more italian seasoning.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until top is golden brown (the top of my bread exploded so it began to leak some cheese and sauce so I slipped some foil in under the loaf to catch the drippings). Let cool for 30 minutes, or not. Reminder: HOT cheese, proceed with caution 🙂

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This post was inspired by Di’s Homemade Loaf roundup. A bunch of swell bloggers got together and all made some yummy bread. Head on over to check them all out. A round-up will be posted soon.

SMS – Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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First and foremost…


I fully expect each and every one of you to sing ‘happy birthday’ to the fiance. At least in your heads 😉 He will be working for the majority of the day/night which makes me sad but we celebrated his birthday on Saturday.

Anywho, this… was my first homemade carrot cake. I’m used to the cloyingly sweet frosting and the fakey taste of the ones you find at your Randall’s bakery section.

With that being said, it got rave reviews from everyone who tried it, took it to work this morning and its almost gone, the cake is fluffy and moist, the frosting is creamy and delicious. The only thing I have an issue with is that it didn’t taste much like carrot cake to me. It was actually more of a spice cake than a carrot cake. But good none-the-less.

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I suck at frosting cakes. Not to mention it was getting late and I had zero patience left. BUT I’ll hopefully be taking some classes this year, so look forward to non-crumby, smooth frosting in the future! 🙂

I know the cream cheese frosting didn’t sit well with some people, so I was hesitant in making it myself, but I couldn’t leave the cake unfrosted, so I took the plunge. And boy am I glad I did. My mother (read: hater of all sweet frostings and overly sweet confections) LOVED the frosting!! She wouldn’t stop sticking her finger in my frosting bowl 😉 It did make more than I needed so I sent the leftovers home with her in a bowl to eat at her leisure.

Things I changed:
I added one small can (8oz, I think) drained to the carrots
omitted the orange zest from the frosting
baked in two 9″ cake pans (my layers were very thin as a result)
omitted walnuts

All in all, it was delicious. Simple to throw together and yields a fluffy very moist cake if it isn’t overbaked.

Thank you to Julie of Little Bit of Everything for choosing this recipe and making me take the plunge on this frosting. Head on over to her blog for the recipe and a laugh or two 🙂

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