“You’re gonna post this, right? And blog about it?”

The little one has just prepared dinner for me. I was half kidding this morning when I asked who was going to fix me a birthday dinner. The husband and big boy rolled their eyes, but the 13-year-old came home from school with a sheepish grin on his face.

“I’m fixing you dinner,” he said. “I’m making macaroni and cheese with bacon.”

I thought he was kidding.

“It’s okay, Sammy,” I said. “We’re going to order out.”

“No, Mama. I’m making you dinner.”

So my son and I braved an unexpected snow shower(!) and hit the grocery store for macaroni, grated cheese and bacon, which he studiously examined before choosing a pack. (“You have to look at the reverse side,” he said. “It can’t be all white fat.”)

When we got home, I pulled out my favorite mac & cheese recipe and instructed him on how to read it all the way through, where to find the measuring spoons, how to stagger his cooking times …

“Leave, Mama,” he said. “I’ve got this.”

Thirty minutes later, we sat down to a really wonderful plate of macaroni & cheese with bacon. (“Mention Epic Mealtime on Youtube,” he said. “That’s where I learned about bacon.”)

Yes, Sam … You definitely “got this.” It was a dinner worthy of any birthday celebration.

Birthday-Worthy Mac & Cheese (with bacon)

This is a decades-old recipe, hailing from “Glamour” magazine, circa 1988. It’s my go-to macaroni & cheese; thanks to my son, I’ll now add bacon.

  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni
  • 8 ounces bacon, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Cook the elbow macaroni according to package directions, then drain and set aside.

In a medium skillet, cook the bacon until crispy. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate.

Melt the butter over medium heat in a large saute pan. Add the scallions and cook until tender, about 2 minutes. Add the flour and cook for a minute, stirring constantly.

Increase the heat to high and slowly add the milk, whisking to avoid lumps. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly, then cook for a minute or two to thicken. Remove from the heat and add the mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Add the cheese, stirring until it’s melted and everything is incorporated. Stir in the cooked macaroni.

Add half of the cooked bacon to the macaroni mixture. Place in a greased, 9-inch casserole and top with the remaining bacon.

Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Serve hot.

 

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