Thursday, December 23, 2010

Homemade Mac 'n Cheese

Raise your hand if this winter weather has you craving comfort food!

Well, there's nothing more homey and comforting than rich, creamy, homemade mac 'n cheese. This was our dinner the other night, partly out of want and partly out of necessity (the chicken I had in the fridge had gone bad and I didn't have enough time to thaw out any other meat.)

After searching several recipes online and finding none that really jumped out at me, I devised my own version. I will share the recipe to the best of my recollection, of course, the art of cooking requires adaptations to suit your own tastes (i.e. level of creaminess, amount of spices, etc.)

(This is not my picture, but looks the closest to mine since I baked it in my cranberry glazed stoneware.)

Lisa's Homemade Mac n' Cheese
1) Boil a large pot of water for the noodles. You can use any kind you like, white or whole wheat. I used traditional macaroni.

2) In a stainless steel or non-stick skillet, heat approx. 1 Tbs. oil and 3 Tbs. butter until melted.

3) Add approx. 2-3 Tbs. white flour and stir until blended. Cook and stir about 2 minutes until slightly golden (this is your roux.)

4) Season roux with salt, pepper, and a dash each of red cayenne pepper and ground nutmeg. This is where all the flavor comes in!

5) Slowly add about 2 c. evaporated or whole milk (I used a combination of both) and stir until thickened (this is the part where you'll need to be adaptable; use more or less milk to create a creamy base for your cheese sauce.)

6) Shred 1-2 c. cheddar cheese and stir into creamy base until melted and incorporated. Reserve about 1 c. of cheese sauce and set aside.

7) Add cooked and drained noodles to remaining cheese sauce and toss to coat.

8) Spread macaroni into greased casserole dish.

9) Top with bread crumbs and melted butter.

10) Bake at 350 for 20-30 mins. or until bread crumbs are golden. Serve with remaining cheese sauce.

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