Quick and easy mac and cheese

November 12, 2011 § 9 Comments

So I love mac and cheese. Pretty much any kind that doesn’t involve powdered cheese. Nick likes any mac and cheese whether its made of powder or not. So of course when I suggested that we have mac and cheese around 6pm the other night, Nick more than happily said he’d gladly wait for me to make it no matter how long it takes. Considering everything I cook typically takes more time than we’d like, I was a little surprised. So I decided to try and find a quicker recipe than our current standard, which involves making the delicious cheese sauce, cooking pasta, then putting it all in the oven.

So I found this recipe courtesy of the more humble version of our favorite magazine, ATK. Parenthetical asides are amounts/types of ingredients that I used. I think because this recipe is so simple, it requires better than average cheese and likely cheese that hasn’t been pre-shredded. But cheeses can likely be played around with to your tastes, and perhaps next time I’ll experiment and keep you posted.

Nick thinks that this is the best one we’ve had in a while that we’ve made, and rivals that of Poole’s Diner, our newly discovered absolute favorite restaurant in Raleigh. I think this recipe good, great considering time and effort, but their mac and cheese was pretty darn amazing.

Coming up next: pumpkin recipes!

The Stuff

  • 2tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2cups fresh bread crumbs (or Panko since I don’t make breadcrumbs)
  •  Salt and pepper
  • 3 3/4cups water, plus more as needed
  • 1(12-ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 3cups elbow macaroni (a little less than 1 box, I used the whole box)
  • 1teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2teaspoons hot sauce (I don’t like hot sauce, so used a dash of cayenne)
  • 3cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (10 oz Cracker Barrel, extra sharp)
  • 2cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (8 oz colby jack, Kraft)
The details
  • 1. Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add bread crumbs, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until deep golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl and wipe out skillet.
  • 2. Bring water, 1 1/4 cups evaporated milk, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to simmer in skillet over medium-high heat. Add macaroni and cook, stirring often, until macaroni is al dente, 8 to 10 minutes.
  • 3. Whisk remaining evaporated milk, cornstarch, and hot sauce in small bowl, then stir into skillet. Simmer until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Off heat, stir in cheeses, one handful at a time, adding water as needed to adjust consistency. Sprinkle with toasted bread crumbs. Serve.

Tomato Mac and Cheese

March 22, 2010 § 2 Comments

Serves 8 to 10, prepared in 13 x 9 baking dish.

recipe from CC, April 2010

Ingredients

1 lb elbow mac and cheese*

28oz can petite diced tomatoes

6 tblsp unsalted butter

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp cayenne

4 cups half-and half

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

4 cups shredded mild cheddar cheese

2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

*Barilla is the suggested pasta, and it’s ok to use something other than the traditional elbows if you have an aversion to them for some reason.

The plan:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Prepare macaroni

1. Bring 4 quarts of water to boil over high heat. Stir in 1 tbl salt and macaroni and cook until just al dente, about 6 minutes. Drain pasta and return to pot.

2. Pour diced tomatoes and juices over pasta in pot and stir to coat. Cook over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

Prepare Sauce

1. While preparing noodles, melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat until foaming. Stir in flour and cayenne and cook until golden, about 1 minute.

2. Slowly whisk in half-and-half and broth until smooth. Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture is slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.

3. Off heat, whisk in cheeses, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper until cheeses melt.

4. Pour sauce over macaroni and stir to combine.

Bake and finish

1. Spread mixture into 13 by 9 baking dish set on a baking sheet.

2. Bake until top begins to brown, 15 to 20 minutes.

3. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes before serving (or it will be soupy).

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