Tag Archives: macaroni and cheese

Chapter 3: The Best Mac n’ Cheese

17 Jan

I almost can’t believe it. I have been on the search for the best macaroni and cheese recipe for what seems, ever. And apparently it has been; my last blog post on my search for the best mac n’ cheese was on May 23, 2011! I started a 3 chapter post and chapter 2 was all the way back then….

Well, I have found it. This is the recipe that will be the base of all my future mac n’ cheese recipes. Thank you Martha Stewart. (Of course.) I did change it slightly after reading and researching what makes the best mac n’ cheese. (How many times can I say mac n’ cheese?!) I did use some cream instead of milk and I used dry mustard instead of nutmeg. I DO NOT like nutmeg in recipes that are supposed to savory but I do like it in desserts. My husband thinks I’m crazy but I can detect the slightest bit of nutmeg and it just grosses me out.

Also, in this recipe Martha does a bread crumb topping which I omitted, just not a fan.

6 Tbs unsalted butter

3 1/2 cups milk

2 cups heavy cream (yup!)

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp dried mustard

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

4 1/2 cups (about 18 ounces) grated sharp white cheddar

2 cups (about 8 ounces) grated Gruyere

1 pound elbow macaroni (I used shells, holds the sauce better)

1/4 cup pecorino Romano cheese

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Fill a large pot with water. Bring to a boil. Cook macaroni according to package instructions but about 3 minutes less, until it is just underdone. Drain in colander, rinse and set aside.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish;set aside. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, heat milk and cream. Melt remaining 6 Tsp butter in a high-sided skillet or large saucepan over medium heat. When butter is completed melted, add flour. Cook, stirring 1 minute.

Slowly pour hot milk into flour-butter mixture while whisking. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until mixture bubbles and becomes thick.

Remove the pan from heat. Stir in salt, black pepper, mustard, cayenne pepper, 4 cups cheddar, 1 1/2 cups Gruyere; mix well. Stir the macaroni into the cheese sauce and then pour into prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle remaining cheese over the top. Bake until browned on top, about 30 minutes. Let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving….Enjoy!

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I have big plans for future mac n’ cheese recipes….

 

 

 

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Mexican Mac & Cheese – Chapter 2

23 May

For the second chapter on macaroni and cheese I am writing about a new twist on an old favorite, Mexican mac & cheese! A coworker told me about a recipe called Queso Chicken Pasta on the blog www.mangeratrois.net, I checked it out and decided to change a few things like adding ground beef instead of chicken (the chicken seemed a bit boring) and few other slight adjustments and voila! a hearty, tasty mac & cheese that is definitely a meal.  Check it out for yourself and I am sure it will delight you…

1 lb Penne pasta

1 lb ground beef

2 Tbls olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp coriander

2 Tbls flour

2 2/3 cups milk

2 tsp salt

8 ounces cream cheese

12 ounces shredded cheese (Cheddar, Mexican blend, Colby, Jack or mixture of any) I have found that I like to use 8 ounces of Colby or Jack to 4 ounces of Cheddar, it makes it creamier. 

1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes, drained

Heat oven to 350 degrees and  thinly coat a large casserole dish with oil-I like to use olive oil but vegetable will work just as well.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta 2 minutes less than directed. Drain well and place in the casserole dish.

Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in large skillet over medium heat and brown the ground beef, until cooked through, about 10 to 12 minutes and drain well. Add the browned ground beef to the pasta.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in the same skillet adding the onion and garlic.  Cook until the onion becomes soft, about 3 minutes.  Add cumin, coriander and salt.  Cook until spices become fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Add flour and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. (Add a touch more olive oil it seems to dry.)  Gradually add milk and stir until smooth.  Increase heat to medium-high and simmer until thickened.  Turn heat down to low heat and add cream cheese and 8 ounces of shredded cheese, stirring until melted.  Stir in Ro-Tel tomatoes.

Add the cheese mixture to the pasta and ground beef and stir well until fully incorporated.  Top with remaining shredded cheese and bake for 20 to 30 minutes until golden brown and bubbly.  Let stand for 5 minutes (if you can) and then ENJOY!

Mac & Cheese…Chapter 1.

15 May

Ok, so this particular favorite food of mine will get at least 3 chapters, this being Chapter 1.  I believe that it was love at first bite when I had my first taste of Kraft macaroni & cheese, although I’m not sure exactly when that was. It got me through college and whenever I don’t feel well it’s the only thing I really want to eat. I do remember going to a friend’s house when I was about 13 for dinner and they were having macaroni and cheese; just macaroni and cheese.  I had never heard of such a thing.  Her mom had made I’m not sure how many boxes and then put it in a large pan and baked it but that wasn’t even the best part.  She served it with sour cream! As if just having mac & cheese for dinner wasn’t enough of a treat, I got to smother it in sour cream. It was absolutely incredible!  I know that are foodies out there who say that I cannot be a “real” foodie if I like anything that comes out of box in powder form and is technicolor orange, but I am and I do!  And keep in mind that you do add real milk and real butter, so good!

My favorite...

Now I have always known that you can add all sorts of things to this mac and cheese to make it a meal or a more hearty side dish but I prefer it “au natural” , just plain and lovely.  My husband has just discovered at a friends suggestion that his favorite way to eat it, is with red-hot pepper flakes sprinkled on it, why didn’t he think of that?! But did you know that there are gazillions of recipes out there to enhance and entice you into eating more mac & cheese. On the Kraft website they have, of course, a macaroni and cheese page with suggestions like: add cut up hotdogs, can of peas or corn, a can of tuna…(not so much) and they also offer suggestions like to spray the top of the foil you put over it when cooking it in the over so the cheese doesn’t stick .  They also have an entire section of recipes devoted to macaroni and cheese and a Facebook page.  Love the Facebook page where you can post pictures of you, your family, friends, pets and neighbors eating Kraft macaroni & cheese.

Let me now your thoughts and feelings about this and if you get the chance check out the website and maybe you will find a favorite new way to eat mac & cheese.  www.kraftfoodscompany.com

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