2 Tbl butter
2 Tbl flour
3 cups whole milk, cold
3 cups shredded cheese
1 tsp red pepper flakes
3 Tbl fresh herbs (rosemary and thyme here), chopped finely
Miscellaneous vegetables (here: brussels sprouts, broccoli, green bell pepper)
4 strips bacon, cooked and chopped
1 cup leftover ham (or whatever), chopped into cubes.
Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add flour and cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes. This is just cooking out the flour-y flavor, no need to achieve any coloring here. This is called a roux.
Whisk quickly while you pour the cold milk into the roux and continue to whisk until the lumps are gone. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring slowly and constantly with a wooden spoon or spatula, until the mixture has thickened.
Add the cheese, red pepper flakes and chopped herbs, stir to combine, and simmer for 5-10 minutes. You should be stirring all the time.
Cook the bacon
While the cheese sauce is going you can cook the bacon in the oven.
Spread the bacon evenly on sheet pan and place the sheet pan in the oven.
Turn the oven to 350F and cook the bacon until it’s brown and crispy (about 20 minutes).
Allow to cool slightly and chop into bite-sized pieces.
Roast the vegetables
These can go into the oven at the same time as the bacon!
Chop any veggies you have lying around. We happened to have extra brussels sprouts, broccoli, and green bell peppers, and they work well here. Just make sure they’re in bite-sized pieces.
Spread the veggies evenly on a sheet pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Roast for about 20-30 minutes at 350F or 375F if you want a little more browning. They should still be crunchy.
Toss the bacon, ham, and vegetables in a medium casserole dish or mixing bowl. Pour in the cheese sauce and toss until everything is coated.
Works great as post-holiday lunch or dinner. It would probably be great with a fried egg on top too.