Sunday, February 24, 2013

Quintessential Comfort Food-Macaroni and Cheese

This Kraft box of macaroni and cheese represents one of the most quintessential comfort foods. My children have consumed many, many macaroni and cheese dinners courtesy of the Kraft manufacturers during their childhood. Truly it was one of their favorite foods. I liked it because it was so easy to make. 
It would probably surprise you considering all the cooking and testing of recipes that I do that I have never made macaroni and cheese from scratch.  Perhaps I have always been suspicious of the main ingredient used in most recipes: Velveeta Cheese. It is not a refrigerated product but has an amazing shelf life. The best thing about this product is that it produces a very creamy sauce.

Recently I needed to come up with a recipe that was both economical and tasty to feed a large senior group.  This following recipe has been senior and kid tested for approval :) 
Macaroni and Cheese
Cook's notes:  When I made this recipe as shown in photo I used bow tie pasta as I was out of elbow macaroni.
  Serves 6-8
Ingredients:
  • 3 TB. butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 cups 2 % milk
  • 5 oz. Velveeta cheese-cubed
  • 1-1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3-1/2 cups dried elbow macaroni or 5 cups cooked macaroni
  • ½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tsp. dry mustard
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 large tomato sliced
  • dash nutmeg

Topping

  • 1-1/2 cups whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1 Tb. parsley flakes
  • 1 TB. melted butter

Topping Directions:

  • Use a Cuisenaire to crumble bread slices
  • Add in melted butter and parsley flakes

Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Grease a 2 qt. casserole dish
  • Slice tomatoes drain on a paper towel-set aside
  • Boil noodles, drain-set aside
  • Use same pan as noodles and melt 3 TB. butter
  • Whisk in flour and cook 1 minute
  • Whisk in milk and while bringing this mixture to a slow boil, add in cheddar cheese, Velveeta cubes, onion, Worcestershire sauce and dry mustard
  • Keep stirring till sauce in smooth
  • Stir noodles into sauce mixture
  • Add macaroni to casserole dish
  • Sprinkle with a dash of nutmeg
  • Arrange tomato slices on top
  • Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture on top of tomato slices
  • Bake uncovered 30 minutes
Next blog posting I have another grown-up version of macaroni and cheese that uses 2 different kinds of cheeses than the above posted recipe.  I am surprised how often macaroni and cheese dishes are listed on restaurant menus. Check out this creative presentation of macaroni and cheese my friend ordered for her lunch.

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