Cheese + Bacon + Corn + Pigtail Shaped Pasta + More Cheese = Mike’s Mac N Cheese
My husband, Mike is often caught in the crosshairs of my humorous Snapchats and other social media posts. He gladly takes any opportunity to make me happy, even if it means he will totally embarrass himself. There are other random notes beyond that, I feel I should share. Welcome to “Mike’s World”.
He’s an impeccable dresser.
Seriously though… only the nicest clothes (ripped sweats and jeans) will do. (He steals my red paisley boots all of the time.) I have to throw his clothes away when they cross the line of being ‘worn’ into being ‘unwearable’.
He’s so damn silly. All. The. Time.
This is what I have to deal with, sometimes I say I’m raising three children because Mike is so silly. It is so fun to be around people who never take themselves too seriously.
He will do anything to save a piglet.
There is always a place for the bucolic images of the farm and farm life, but then there’s this. Farming sucks sometimes. Really sucks. With the limited number of sows that we have, we can typically hyper-focus on the delivery of each piglet we raise to show. Again, this is our hobby, but we do sell these animals and every ounce of extra attention we can give them, we do. You never know, they could become the food to nourish a family, the 4-H project that could teach a kid valuable lessons or this lifeless piglet could help us teach our kids to never give up. This piglet was born with no pulse in his cord. Nothing. Mike tried for about 5 minutes to get anything. Nothing. Not every day in the barn is a win, but if our kids can learn anything, even through the unpleasant outcomes, it makes those tough times more tolerable. Here’s a post where those extra breaths and hard work saved a piglets life.
He’s happiest with his family, at home, in the barn.
The photo below was taken before we vaccinated little pigs. Slowing down and letting the kids have a hand in whatever task he’s going to take on is fun to watch and gives the kids confidence.
He is obsessed with pig genetics.
If there is any frivolous time that my husband spends, it is researching pig genetics. You’ll find him at four o’clock in the morning with the laptop open, looking at extended pedigrees of sows we have, and sires we may use. I have to remind myself to be as excited about a ‘sow being in this boar’s pedigree 8 times!’ as I’d be if George Strait walked through my front door and wanted to serenade me with “Amarillo by Morning” while fixing me breakfast.
By: Cristen FoodandSwine.com
Makes one 9×13 casserole, serves 8-12
4 TBSP butter
1/2 cup of minced sweet yellow onion
4 TBSP flour
4 cups 2% or whole milk
1 tsp ground mustard
2 tsp seasoned salt, divided
½ tsp ground black pepper
1/3 pound American cheese, cut into small pieces
1/2 pound Farmer’s Cheese or Monterrey Jack Cheese, shredded (reserve ½ cup for topping)
1/2 pound Provolone Cheese, shredded (reserve ½ cup for topping)
1 can of sweet corn, drained
1 pound of bacon, cooked until crisp, chopped 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
1 pound box of pasta (cellentani, rigatoni, penne etc.) cooked to al dente, drained
1 C reserved pasta cooking water
9×13 baking dish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large stock pot over medium heat, add butter and onion. Cook for 5 minutes until onion is translucent.
- To the onion and butter mixture, add flour and stir well to incorporate. Cook for 2 minutes, then add milk, stirring well again. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until mixture comes to a simmer. Simmer for 2-4 minutes, or until thickened. Remove from heat and add ground mustard, 1 ½ tsp of the seasoned salt, black pepper and all cheeses minus 1 cup of the shredded cheeses which will be used for garnish. Stir or whisk well until smooth. Add sweet corn, bacon and chives if desired. Set aside.
- Boil pasta for 2 minutes less than box instructions say. Strain pasta, reserving 1 cup of pasta cooking liquid. Add pasta to large stock pot with cheese/corn/bacon sauce. Stir well. Add pasta cooking liquid if needed so the sauce is not too thick. It will continue to cook during the bake time, so it needs to be a bit looser to start.
- Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray. Add cheese sauce covered pasta. Sprinkle reserved shredded cheese on top. Sprinkle with ½ tsp seasoned salt.
- Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees F. For a browned top, broil on high for 2-4 minutes until top of mac and cheese is browned. Serve warm.
Notes: Feel free to omit the bacon and corn from this recipe. We like a little additional flavor and pops of texture in our macaroni and cheese!