For the first time in as long as I can remember, we skipped the big, fancy New Year's Eve meal out this year and cooked at home. We started with a lovely cheese plate garnished with marcona almonds, then had huge, thick, ribeye steaks with red wine and wild mushroom sauce, sauteed green beans, garlic mashed potatoes, and what turned out to be the best mac 'n' cheese EVER, made using this fabulous recipe from The Pioneer Woman, a/k/a Ree Drummond.
I follow lots of food blogs, but the large majority of them are Austin blogs, except for the incredible eye and mind candy that is Not Without Salt. So I only recently heard about The Pioneer Woman when she was here promoting her new cookbook at Bookpeople. I know. I need to get out more.
But I digress (as usual). This is the first time that I've made one of Ree's recipes, and it turned out beautifully. I loved the way she illustrated each step, thus making it totally idiot-proof (well, mostly idiot-proof; I got all enthusiastic and neglected to reserve some onions and bacon for the top, but it worked out fine without them). It was super easy to make and just really delicious; I could not stop eating the stuff. The macaroni was nicely al dente rather than being all mushy, and the bacon and carmelized onions imparted a nice textural interest and flavor.
One problem with blogging about something that a nationally-renowned blogger made is that your photos (or, at least, my photos) can't possibly stack up. But food blog posts without photos are boring, so I'm posting them, anyway. Although I usually prefer to do so, I won't reprint the recipe here, as I didn't change a thing from hers - other than kicking the temperature on the oven up to 375˚F (after 25 minutes in my oven at 350˚F, it still was not browning).
One part ooey, one part gooey, one part rich, one part chewy. In other words, perfect.
Another helping of that crack 'n' cheese, please.