Thursday, October 21, 2010

Double Take: Golden Macaroni and Cheese

I'm admittedly picky about macaroni and cheese. I've never been into the boxed versions. My mom made a good nonbaked version growing up that I still prepare sometimes. My mom also made a baked macaroni and cheese that's been a family recipe for multiple generations. Most of the family raves over it but its never been my favorite thing. I ate it and enjoyed it ok but it wouldn't be on the list for my last meal or anything. No version of mac and cheese has reheated well in my past experience. In fact, reheated macaronis are one of the few things I've struggled to eat as leftovers and often felt inclined to just pitch to the birds and squirrels. When Melanie mentioned this recipe, I grimaced. I've had her favorite mac and cheese (which was handed down through the family too). She loves it. To me, its a lot like my mom's family's version. Hers might be cheesier (which is a good thing) but they're pretty similar. However, I figured, why not try it. It could be better than I expect. It doesn't hurt to try new things. I could always make a small version (which I usually do anyway so that I don't spend all week eating the same thing).

I came home and started a half recipe of the macaronis. I had to measure the cups needed of pasta b/c most of us get macaronis in 1 lb boxes. Then I had to keep my mind on halving everything since I didn't want to rewrite the recipe. (Recipe below is the whole version of the recipe, I made mine in an 8x8 pan.) Everything came together easily and bonus...no egg! I'm pretty sure I smiled when I realized it was eggless. Its not that I dislike eggs. Rather, I don't prefer to find little white clumpyness in macaronis and be reminded oh an egg bit. Heather called part way through the macaronis baking and asked about coming over to hang out. I said "sure, want to try these macaronis I'm making?" Heather said, " Uh, probably not, I really never like macaronis. Well, since you're making them and I like your food, I'll at least try a taste." I told her I made no promises since some recipes from this book haven't been prize winning but she was welcome to try them.

The macaronis came out of the oven just as Heather arrived. I scooped some up with some fresh steamed green beans. Heather got a plate and sat at the table beside me. We were both surprised to realize..hey these are pretty good. ...actually really good....I think I want some more. After we'd both had 2 servings (which would equal one serving according to USL...their servings are huge), we decided this was a definite keeper. Heather doesn't cook a ton but said she wanted the recipe.

Golden Mac and Cheese with Steamed Green Beans
Final test: The macaronis tasted good fresh...very good in fact. The secondary question was...how did they reheat? Most macaroni recipes are kind of dry and taste odd after reheating. This tends to be part of the reason they get fed to birds and squirrels. This recipe was the exception. It was wonderful reheated. They remained cheesy, soft, and tasty. Sorry squirrels, you'll be missing out on these because they're too good toss.

Golden Macaroni and Cheese (slightly modified from The All New Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook)

8 oz of elbow macaroni  (approximately 1 3/4 c. measured dry macaroni noodles)
2 c. milk
1/4 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. onion salt
2 (8oz) blocks of sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (4 1/2 c.) *
1 c. soft bread crumbs
1/4 c. butter, melted (I use unsalted.)

How to:

Cook macaroni according to the package instructions. Typically this involves boiling a pot of water, adding noodles and letting them cook for 10-15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Place milk, flour, and onion salt in a jar. Cover tightly and shake vigorously for 1 minute.

Stir together flour mixture, 3 1/2 c. cheese, and macaroni noodles.

Pour macaroni mixture into a lightly greased 9 x 13 pan. Sprinkle evely with breadcrumbs and remaining 1 c. of cheese. Bake at 350 F for 45 minutes.

Yield: I'd call this 16 side servings, not 8 (as stated in USL). If there's only 2 people, halve the dish. If your family eats a ton of macaroni, go for the full sized pan. Remember that most people are going to want seconds of this dish and plan accordingly.

*(I modified the cheese blocks. When I shredded the cheese, I only needed the equivalent of 2 8 oz blocks rather than two 10 oz blocks per the recipe.)

Final Product, prior to serving...it might not win a beauty contest but it tastes great!

Response:

Heather and I both loved this dish and I plan to make it again...tonight for dinner with some Tuscan pork chops! (You'll have to wait til next week to hear about those though.)

Be sure to stop by Fabulously Fun Food to see what Mel and Bender thought of this dish.

5 comments:

  1. you can't beat a good mac and cheese recipe yum, I guess the pumpkin was about 3 cups? sorry it was half a small one lol

    have a great weekend Rebecca

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  2. I'm so glad you liked this recipe as much as I did! Did you use the oven or microwave to reheat?

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  3. @ Rebecca: Thanks! My pumpkin is pretty huge. 3 cups should be no problem.

    @ Mel: Its good when all of us enjoy a recipe. I reheated in the microwave.

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  4. Tabitha!! I'm just getting around to sending your box of swag-sorry it took so long-we had a birthday and a festival right after I got back from BlogHer Food--I can't find your mailing address ANYWHERE it's like my computer ate it or something-could you please resend it to me? Thanks so much!

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  5. hi yeah I was looking in the WRONG email account--duh-sorry will be on the way momentarily!

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