I have never liked box mac & cheese. Ever. Not even as a kid. I came to have a small appreciation for Velveeta Shells & Cheese, but not enough to actually buy it and make it for myself more than once every few years.
But home-made is something else. My mom always made a custard based mac & cheese using evaporated milk. I've made it Mom's way and I've made it with a cheese sauce. I prefer the custard.
Last night, I wanted mac & cheese and I was in a mood to experiment. I didn't have any elbow macaroni in the pantry, but I did have whole-grain shells. I always have a variety of cheese. I came up with something pretty fabulous, between my fridge and my pantry.
Ramped Up Shells & Cheese
6 oz whole grain medium shells
1 12 oz can evaporated milk
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 c shredded sharp cheddar
1 c Sargento,s shredded Six Cheese Italian Blend
2 oz crumbled blue cheese
6 slices bacon, crumbled
4 Tbs salted butter, divided
1/2 c Italian seasoned bread crumbs
2 TBS grated Parmesan cheese
Cook pasta per package instructions. Prepare a 3 qt casserole by spraying with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Whisk together eggs, milk, and spices.
Place a layer of pasta in the bottom of the casserole. Dot with 1 Tbs butter, sprinkle with 1 oz crumbled blue cheese. Add 1/2 of the bacon and top with 1/2 cup each of the shredded cheeses. Repeat. Cover with egg mixture.
Mix together 2 TBS melted butter, bread crumbs, and Parmesan and spread over the top. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes.
Sorry I can't post pictures. I was so hungry when I finished, I didn't take time to find my camera.