If you didn’t know, I teach and host cooking demonstrations at my office once a month. I was beginning to get pretty crafty since we don’t have a proper kitchen (read: oven or stove) so I was forced to improvise. I’ve made a lot of things on the blog during my workshops such as the salmon poke, salad rolls, tomato “ahi” tuna sushi, tabbouleh salad and so on - the list can literally go on! But when one generous follower decided to purchase me an Instant Pot off my Amazon Wishlist, I knew it was going to be a game changer.
I’ve always been curious about the Instant Pot…but the problem is, I actually love cooking. I love using my beautiful Le Creuset cookware and letting things simmer, filling my house with the most delicious smells. But the hype attracted me. So naturally, I was thrilled when the Instant Pot landed at my desk and to be truthful, it still lives at my office to this day.
One of my most recent workshops was a mac ‘n cheese demonstration. Since I had an appliance that I could now cook with at the office, I was finally able to venture into cooking hot foods - hooray! During this workshop, I was a little ambitious and made five different type of Mac ‘n cheese: vegan, baked, Mexican, classic, and a bacon and onion mac ‘n cheese, or in my words, trailer trash mac.
There are definitely some wins and losses with the Instant Pot. Certain things that typically require a long braising or cooking time make the Instant Pot worth whereas other things take about the same amount of time. For instance, it takes about 10 minutes to bring the Instant Pot to pressure + your cooking time + Quick Release/Natural Release which can be anywhere up to 10 minutes. Risotto, for example, was a definite loss (which will be up on the blog at a later time) because it literally took the same amount of time. I do, however, like the one pot-appeal and short cooking time for certain things as you’ll see here.
So why trailer trash mac? First of all, bacon is dotted throughout the mac. Secondly, you have three major crunch factors for the top coating which are Italian bread crumbs, crushed sour cream and onion chips and crispy fried onions - the latter two pretty much contribute to the trailer trashness.
This was my personal favourite out of the different types of mac that I made even though the Mexican was a clear winner (addition of salsa, cumin, chili flakes, and hot sauce). Maybe I’ll make that one and put it on the blog one day. Mac ‘n cheese IS one of my favourite comfort foods after all…
BACON & ONION MAC ‘N CHEESE - serves 4 - 6
1 (500g) pkg macaroni
4 cups chicken stock
1/3 cup butter, unsalted
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 (400g) block old cheddar, grated
1/2 cup 2% milk
salt + pepper
1/4 cup bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 tsp red chili flakes
1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/4 cup sour cream and onion potato chips, crushed
1/4 cup fried onions
Place the macaroni and stock into the Instant Pot and set to High Pressure for 5 minutes. Open up the vent via Quick Release.
Change setting to Saute and add the butter, dijon and salt and pepper. Gradually add the cheese and stir constantly until it has melted. Alternate with the milk and ensure everything is well-incorporated and silky smooth.
Transfer the mac to a heatproof Pyrex and sprinkle the breadcrumbs, chips and fried onions on top. Broil in an oven for about 6 - 8 minutes until the top coating is toasted.