We all eat macaroni and cheese, mostly from a box. Here’s how to turn it into a memorable meal.

We’ve all had our mac and cheese moments. How about mac and cheese momentous?

Try this recipe. You may never go back to Kraft in a box. That’s for kids. This is for the rest of us who love a classic comfort food.

Imagine combining the tastes of mac and cheese with bacon. It’s pretty close to heaven, folks.

You’ll be successful with this recipe if you control your natural urge to overcook stuff. The bacon should be slightly fried, the macaroni parboiled for just a few minutes and the broccoli fresh. You’ll finish off in the oven, so don’t worry about undercooking.

Do not neglect the chicken. It needs a bath for at least two hours in milk. This relaxes the meat, velvetizing it to a perfect texture for your casserole. For the sauce, use cream or half and half for the rich flavor it deserves.

Everything is from scratch here, so allot about an hour. And don’t tell anybody in advance what you’re making. If you say mac and cheese, they’ll expect Kraft.

Inspiration for this comes from the Gouda mac and cheese served at Pete’s Pizza & Grill at 401 Cherry Ave. in Canton, Ohio.

JIM’S MAC AND CHEESE

3 strips bacon, bite-size pieces
1 large chicken breast, boneless and skinless
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 medium onion, diced
2 cups half and half or light cream
1 cup broccoli florets
1 1/2 cups white cheese, shredded (asiago, Jack, Gouda, etc.)
One half teaspoon white vinegar
2 cups pasta (macaroni, shells, rotini or cremini)
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs

Drench chicken in milk and refrigerate for at least two hours. Lightly brown bacon and chicken pieces in large skillet until bacon begins to lose fat. Remove both to a plate. In the same skillet, melt butter and whisk in flour.

Slowly add half and half or cream, whisking over medium heat. Do not allow to boil. Add cheese, stirring to melt. Keep adding liquid until sauce thickness is like gravy. Sauce should be loose. Add onion.

Parboil pasta 3 to 5 minutes. Drain. Mix all in a buttered casserole dish. Bake 30 minutes covered at 350 degrees. Remove lid, top with breads crumbs and bake uncovered for another 15 minutes. Allow to rest 5 minutes before serving. Serves 2 heartily; easily expandable.

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