Well, ladies and gentleman, I am no longer in my 20s. I should feel different right? Don’t you become magically wiser when you rise up into the grown-up world of your 30s? No? I guess it’s just wishful thinking.
Honestly, I’m surprised that I didn’t have more of a life crisis at this point. Sure, there are plenty of things I thought that would be different at this point in my life (Where is my farm already?), but I feel like that will always be the case. I’m really happy right now. My life is pretty wonderful and its moving in the direction I’m we are hoping for. What more could you ask for at 30?
Sometimes I wonder if I should have had a bucket list of things to do before I hit 30, but I always felt like that added such unnecessary pressure. I think I’ve checked off some of the most important boxes already anyway. Looking back I know I would have had something like finish the Adirondack 46, but that’s probably the only thing I haven’t crossed off the list. Maybe I would have liked to hike out west or travel more within the US, but there is still plenty of time for that and now it will be extra fun to do it with a little one in tow. I really am so excited to see him discover all these amazing things for the first time as he grows up. I’m glad there will still be quite a few things that we can discover together.
Then there are those things that Mom knows are amazing but little man has still yet to discover. Things like this Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese, with Spicy Breadcrumbs.
First of all smoked Gouda.
If there was ever something that I would say is my favorite food, it would probably be smoked cheese, especially smoked Gouda. It’s just so creamy, so smoky, just so much flavor. I love it. I really, really, love it.
I also really love pasta and it’s just recently that the little man can tolerate dairy, so for the first time in something like 9 months I can actually eat both cheese and dairy in the same meal. It’s pretty epic, so I’m celebrating multiple things with this amazing single serving mac and cheese.
Obviously, you can double, quadruple sextuple (did I make that up?) this recipe to pretty easily to feed a larger group. I wouldn’t blame you either if you double or tripled it just for yourself. I mean I wouldn’t do such a thing, but you totally could.
Ha! Who are we kidding? I totally made triple the recipe just to get this shot and proceeded to eat it all myself in one sitting. Don’t judge me.
Smoked Gouda Mac & Cheese with Spicy Panko
- ½ cups elbow macaroni or cavatappi
- 1 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- ½ cups milk
- 2 ounces Smoked Gouda cheese grated
- 1 ounce extra-sharp Cheddar grated
- 2 Pinches salt
- 2 tablespoons cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Pinch cayenne pepper or more to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Cook the macaroni according to package instructions. Drain well and set aside.
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a thick bottomed sauce pan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and let it cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until it browns slightly. Reduce the heat to low and whisk in the milk until well blended. Cook for an additional minute until the sauce thickens.
Stir in the smoked Gouda, cheddar, and one pinch of salt. Allow the cheese to melt slightly and stir in the cooked macaroni. Pour into an individual size gratin dish.
Melt the rest of the butter in a small bowl in the microwave. Add the panko, another pinch of salt, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper. Toss well to combine. Sprinkle the panko mixture over the top of the pasta.
Place in the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.