Baked Mac and Cheese

Sooooo…. how do you get wax off carpet?  Red, cinnamon scented wax.  A spot the size of a large pickle.   That is all I can come up with.

 A pickle.  

Stan is none too pleased with me.  His place in front of the fire has been disturbed.  I am none too pleased with me, because there is red wax on my white carpet.  Awesome.

I should probably head over to that place called Pinterest.  There are all sorts of trickery on that site.  

Secrets on how to remove grease stains (chalk?, really?) to teeth whitening at home (swish and spit with peroxide?…OK).  

Ways to recycle wine corks to cat fur….both of which I have come to collect.  Without trying.  Wine cork coasters and cat fur sweaters are in the works. 

There is bound to be a secret for wax removal from carpet.  Right?  I hope so.  Otherwise…when you step into my house and notice the red spot in front of the fire place…don’t say anything.  I notice it is there.  I put it there.  Accidentally, yes…but none the less….it was me.  You would be stating the obvious…and inside my head I would be calling you Captain Obvious, while on the outside I would explaining the spot…which I think is kind of obvious, seeing how there is a large red candle, 4 feet above the red spot.  1 + 1 = 2.  Right?  I hate stating the obvious.  Drives me bonkers…almost as much as loud eaters and hearing a story twice.  Bonkers, I tell you.  Bonkers!

Wanna know what is truly bonkers?  I made mac and cheese.  Twice.  In one weekend.  A little overkill, perhaps.  But it was all in the name of this blog.  And for the love of mac and cheese.  Or just cheese.  I grew up with mac and cheese that was strictly made on the stove top.  A mixture of milk and Velveeta.  Elbow macaroni.  Salt and pepper.  Soupy and cheesy.  And we topped it with canned tuna …a tradition that started with my grandparents, I think…or my moms way of getting my dad to eat something resembling tuna noodle casserole, which he will not touch with a ten foot pole.  Dad doesn’t do casseroles.  Meaning that we didn’t eat tuna noodle casserole nor was our macaroni baked.  Never.  Ever….like, T Swift style, never ever.

So we got it else where…church potlucks, restaurants, friends houses…the usual.   And then I grew up, got my own kitchen, and now I bake mac and cheese to my hearts content…some times twice in one weekend.   

Why two batches?  I needed a head to head comparison of straight up extra sharp cheddar to a mixture of extra sharp cheddar and monterey jack (known for its melting ability).  Conclusion?  I preferred the combo.  Talk about creamy.  But if all you have on hand is cheddar…thats perfectly OK.  No monterey jack?  How about pepperjack?  Because that would be ahhhmazing.  How about add-ins?  Caramelized onions?  Crispy bacon?  If this is happening at your house, could I get an invite to dinner?  I am a good guest.  I bring cookies and do dishes!  

 

Baked Mac and Cheese
 
Serves 4 to 6
Ingredients
  • ¼ Stick Butter, melted
  • 1 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 1 Cup Extra Sharp Cheese, Shredded
  • ¼ Cup Parmasen Cheese, Shredded
  • 1 Stick Butter
  • 8 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Heaping Tablespoon Dry Mustard Powder
  • 5 Cups Whole Milk ( this is important…skim and 2% may leave your mac and cheese gritty – the increased fat in whole milk acts as a solidifier)
  • 8 Ounces Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 8 Ounces Monterey Jack Cheese
  • ½ Cup Parmesan Cheese, shredded
  • 2 Teaspoons Salt
  • ½ Teaspoon Pepper
  • ¼ Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
  • 1 Lb Pasta (elbow, shells, penne)
Instructions
  1. Prepare topping. In a medium sized bowl, combine melted butter, panko bread crumbs, and both cheeses. Toss to combine. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 400F.
  3. Cook macaroni, in salted boiling water, until firm but not al dente ( I cooked mine for 6 minutes). It will cook further in the oven. Drain pasta and set aside.
  4. In a large pot, melt butter. Sprinkle flour and dry mustard powder over butter and whisk to combine. Cook over medium low heat for about 5 to 8 minutes, stirring constantly. Do not let mixture burn.
  5. Pour in milk and whisk until smooth. Cook mixture, stirring constantly, until thickened (about 5 to 10 minutes). The final consistency should be close to a thin pudding.
  6. Remove sauce from heat and stir in salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and cheeses. Stir until cheese has melted and sauce is smooth.
  7. Fold in cooked pasta, coating pasta with cheese sauce.
  8. Transfer mac and cheese to a buttered baking dish and sprinkle with panko topping.
  9. Place in preheated oven and bake for about 20 minutes, until panko topping is golden brown and the edges are bubbly and cheesy.
  10. Remove from oven and let sit for about 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

p.s. if you don’t like crunchy topping…OK.  Just sprinkle with more cheese.   You can never go wrong with more cheese.  It is like cow bell.

 

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Comments

  1. says

    Oh man! I adore this kind of mac n cheese! I firmly believe that homemade and store bought are so different, they should have different names. If you invite me over for mac n cheese, I want to know what I’m agreeing to!

    It looks so gooey and amazing.

    • Mal says

      I haven’t done this, but I wouldn’t see any problem in doing so. You are able to make other pastas ahead of time (lasagna) and then baking it off at a later date. I would perhaps not cook the macaroni all the way as it will be sitting in a creamy cheese sauce for a period of time – so cook under al-dente so you don’t end up with soggy pasta. hope this helps!

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