I love macaroni and cheese.
I have always said, if I am ever on death row, I want my last meal to be mac and cheese and Bob Evans sausages.
Not that I am planning on being on death row.
But you never know.
However, I am not a Mac and cheese snob. I like it in many varieties. I like the frozen Stouffer's variety. I like the version available at my local Wawa convenience store. Which I understand is actually Stouffer's, which explain that.
But I also like the boxed variety. Not the more expensive brands, but the cheapest store variety with the yellow powder, 66 cents at the supermarket this week. I do make a wee change. I use 1/2 cup of milk, more than they say, and add no butter. Instead I add a bit of real cheese, whatever I have on hand. It does not take much and makes a huge difference.
My ultimate comfort food.
|Best served in a plastic kid's bowl from IKEA.|
Of course, my favorite is the real baked Mac and cheese like my mom used to make.
Now that we are in the season of Lent, and Fridays are again meatless, my memory goes back to those Fridays of my youth...which contained a lot of Mac and cheese. And canned tuna, or fish sticks.
My mother used the recipe on the back of the Mueller's elbow macaroni box, and I pretty much use the same one today. Ok, I went a little wild! I change the pasta. And I change the variety of cheese. My mom always used Crackerbarrel Cheddar but I used some cheddar, some pepper jack and some Gouda. Make a bechamal sauce, add the cheese and seasonings, mix with the pasta, top with buttered breadcrumbs for the crunch and bake. Lovely!
Now oddly, my grandmother had her own take on that same Mueller's recipe. She used all the ingredients listed on the box but skipped the directions. she just mixed them into the baking dish with the cooked elbow macaroni. No sauce...just mixed it all together. Baked it in the same battered aluminum round pan, year after year. Oh, and she always had a cigarette hanging from the corner of her mouth..that ash getting longer and longer...
And my sister in law has yet another version, which she swears my mother taught her. True no doubt, but odd since my mother never made it this way. Put the boiled pasta in baking dish. Add cubed cheese. Pour on enough milk to come just to the surface and bake. Which give you a sort of curdled texture which is...different. But to each their own! Macaroni and cheese is all about what makes you happy!
|...used these cute little 'pipes'|
1 lb. uncooked macaroni
1/4 cup margarine or butter
3 tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 cups milk
16 oz. shredded cheese
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs, toasted in 1 tbs. melted butter
1. Cook macaroni for 8 minutes.
2. Drain, cover and set aside
3. Preheat oven to 350°F.
4. In medium saucepan, melt butter; blend in flour, mustard, salt and pepper.
5. Cook until mixture is smooth and bubbly; gradually add milk.
6. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture boils;
simmer 1 minute,stirring constantly.
7. Gradually mix in cheese. Stir over low heat until cheese is melted.
8. Add pasta; mix together. Pour into baking dish.
9. Top with panko bread crumbs
10. Bake 25 minutes.
|I believe that is my mom's original pyrex dish. Still going strong!|
This is my contribution this to this week's Weekend Cooking.
"Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend."
Be sure to check out the other entries this week. As always, hosted by Beth Fish Reads.