Divisional Playoff – The new face of the Colts vs. B&B

January 2014, the next chapter in the Pats vs the Colts playoff edition begins.  Two teams that have both had their struggles but seem to be finding a groove in time for the playoffs.  Which Colts team is the real team?  The one that got lucky breaks to rally and win last weekend or the one that starts slow and has to rely on Luck to get them over the finish line?  There’s a saying, it’s better to be good than lucky.  Both teams are good and both have had their share of 4th quarter luck.  I’m going to put my chips on the experience of Brady and Belichick to lead this years team to the next round.

For playoff food I’m going simple and sinfull – bacon mac & cheese.  I have two versions to share.  The budget version and the gourmet.  Both are tasty.  The original recipe comes from allrecipes.com.  I’m sharing my twist and testing feedback.

Budget Bacon Mac & Cheese:

1/4 cup butter – sweet and salted.
1/4 cup of flour
1 1/4  cup of milk
1/2lb of velveeta cut into cubes
2 cups of elbow macaroni or similar shell pasta.
1/2 cup of diced bacon.
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
6 ritz crackers

So saving calories with skim milk and turkey bacon can be done.  I find 2% is good although whole milk will be the creamiest.  Melt 3 Tbsp. butter in medium saucepan on medium heat. Whisk in flour; cook 2 min., stirring constantly. Gradually stir in milk. Cook and stir 3 to 5 min. or until thickened. Add VELVEETA; cook 3 min. or until melted, stirring frequently. Stir in macaroni and bacon.   Spoon into 2-qt. casserole or similar conatiner sprayed with cooking spray; sprinkle with Cheddar. Melt remaining butter; toss with cracker crumbs. Sprinkle over casserole.  Bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

The gourmet version
Applewood smoked or other similar smoked bacon with good marbling
The target is still about a half pound of cheese.  At high end cheese prices this list is indulgent but still affordable:

A blend of
Gruyere
Landaff
Mahon Aged

a sprinkle of aged gouda can work nicely too.  These cheeses are what I can get at Butter’s Fine Food & Wine and I can attest to the blend working nicely.  If you are shopping the cheese selection at the grocery store then think better cheddar, gouda and mozzarella.  I’d avoid a smoked cheese as you’ve got that flavor coming from the bacon.

The rest of the process follows the budget process above.

Drinks

Since the game starts at 4pm I’ll be working the Hop Session today through dinner.  It just plain works with a rich creamy cheesy bacon dish like today’s main dish.  Afterwards I’ll be breaking open an imperial stout which is going on sale growler only today.  It’s 12% and big all around.  I’ll be sipping of course as I want to watch the full Pats game.

Hope you enjoy today’s games with friends, family, fun food and of course great beer!

cheers,

Bill

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