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Breakfast Mac and Cheese

Another recipe from Pinehurst Inn Bed & Breakfast in Bayfield, Wisconsin:

Okay, breakfast probably does not immediately come to mind when you think of mac and cheese, but let me tell you, it works. Mike and I were enjoying our favorite mac and cheese (thank you, The Chunky Chef) with fresh lake trout and broccoli (trying to offset the mac and cheese) and Mike asked why we don’t serve our mac and cheese for breakfast. Hmmmm, good question. So I started playing around to see how I could make it “breakfasty”–an egg on top of course, but what else? Well, ultimately, I ended up adding onions, red peppers, and ham to the mac and cheese, then topped it with an egg and buttered panko breadcrumbs before baking. Wow! We tried bacon and different sausages, but ham was the winner (at least for Mike and I). I still need to figure out what to serve with it when we start serving it as part of our 3-course breakfast at Pinehurst Inn Bed & Breakfast. The side will need to be something that can offset the richness, probably some fresh veggies or salad. As you probably already figured out, we tend not to serve your typical breakfast, we try to shake things up a bit. This dish, of course, would also make a great lunch or dinner, but why not try it for breakfast. The recipe is easy to adapt to your particular taste, so feel free to substitute ingredients (different cheeses, veggies, meat or no meat)–the choice is totally up to you.

We just finished sampling the final version of this recipe, so I decided to post this recipe before venturing outside to enjoy the unseasonably warm temperatures and to burn off some of these calories. It is in the 60s and sunny–almost unheard of for November in Bayfield, WI, and we have our view of Lake Superior back now that the leaves have fallen. We are enjoying the incredible sunrises over the lake and the sparkling water. Oops, sorry for the digression. We hope you enjoy this recipe and the other Recipes on our site. Stay safe and be well.

Becky, Innkeeper
Pinehurst Inn Bed & Breakfast
Bayfield, WI

Prep Time: 40 Minutes
Cook Time: 35 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour and 15 Minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredients:

  • MAC AND CHEESE:
  • 8 ounces elbow pasta
  • 8 ounces ham, diced
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 5 TBLSP butter, divided
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half
  • 1/2 cup 2% milk
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/8 tsp paprika
  • TOPPING:
  • 2 TBLSP butter
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 8 large eggs

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease 8 ramekins with butter.

  2. Cook elbow pasta according to package for al dente, drain.

  3. While pasta is cooking, saute over medium heat onions, peppers, and ham in 1 TBLSP butter until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside. In the same pan, melt the remaining butter and once it is bubbling and foamy, slowly add the flour while whisking and continue whisking until a smooth loose paste forms, about 5 minutes. Slowly add the milk and half and half to the flour, whisking constantly until smooth. Continue cooking and whisking frequently until the mixture comes to a low boil and thickens, about 7-8 minutes.

  4. Remove flour/milk mixture from heat and stir in salt, pepper, and paprika. Add 1/2 of the cheeses to the pan and mix until smooth, then stir in the onions, peppers, and ham to thoroughly combine. Let mixture cool for 5 minutes, add the remainder of the cheeses and mix well (there will be cheese the does not melt, that is what you are going for).

  5. For the topping, melt butter in small bowl in the microwave, then mix in the panko breadcrumbs.

  6. Assembly: Fill prepared ramekins with mac and cheese mixture, firmly packing it down so it is about 3/4 full. Make a well on top of each ramekin for the egg. Crack an egg in a small bowl and pour into the well of each ramekin. Divide the panko mixture between the 8 ramekins.

  7. Place the ramekins on a foil lined baking sheet and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 10 minutes. Turn pan and place on top rack for 3 to 5 minutes or until the whites of the eggs are cooked and the yolk is cooked as you like it. Remove from oven and let rest for about 5 minutes. Garnish with chopped parsley or other fresh herb if you like. Now its time to enjoy!

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