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.

cheesy primavera

December 20, 2010 § 2 Comments

we have another feature from our now incredibly famous guest-blogger, larina. surely she will soon have her own handle and be posting at will. also, to those wondering how you, too, can be featured on our lovely site: invite me over for dinner and serve something ridiculously delicious. not so hard. yes?

1 med. onion
appx 2.5oz beech mushrooms, or other mushroom equivalent
3 cloves garlic
appx. 1/3c. sundried tomatos
1 diced small tomato
1 diced head broccoli
appx. 2/3c. corn (frozen or fresh)
more spinach than you think (appx. 3/4 bag, fresh)
1 med. sweet potato or yam (orange!)
12oz. pasta (rigatoni or penne)
4oz. cream cheese
8oz. goat cheese (yes, also more than you think).
cream (or milk, you fat-conscious losers)
optional- sour cream or plain yogurt- gives it some tang
other assorted cheeses in the fridge (asiago, cheddar, motz., etc)

to do:
bake sweet potato in oven, wrapped in tinfolil at 350 for appx an hour. it can bake while you’re preparing the rest of the sauce components.
then, saute the onion in butter or olive oil, to brown edges, shy of carmelization
following, add garlic and mushrooms. (note: mushrooms are making with the watery, so cook them earlier than the rest of the veggies, lest the remainder of the sauce be all drippy-like).
next, add sundried tomato, broccoli, corn and (in the event your sweet potato is finished baking), your sweet potato.
now, add spinach and tomato. both need only be wilted, so make with the short-cooking. otherwise you’ll end up with stewed grainy tomatos and gross wilty olive green spinach. no good, friends. no good.
see picture of appropriately sauteed veggies (and salt! if you’re not me, add salt!!):

in the meatime, boil water, salt and evvo, mixing in appx. 12oz. pasta. when the pasta is al dente (that’s right, don’t make it gross), strain.

add more butter than you think (appx. 4-5Ts)

add cream cheese in small chunks. ditto the goat cheese.
splash in milk or cream to sauce.
add veggies and stir to coat in varied daries.

if sauce is too thin, add more cheese. too thick? add more butter.

serve with bread.

sprinkle with parsley, iffin you’re feeling all fancy-like.


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