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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Creamy Mac and Cheese -- Beware of Calories!

My job situation requires me to be four hours away for three days each week.  S. and A. (my brother) prefer to reheat leftovers than cook.  Both of them can and will cook if necessary but usually are too busy or lazy.  If I don't leave anything, they go for junk food... sigh...
A. requested mac and cheese for next week (and S. happily seconded that request) so I am making mac and cheese today.  Warning:  This recipe is NOT diet-friendly.  That's why I am making it and running away! ;)  However, it's super-yummy.

Source:  January 2002, Southern Living

Yield:  Large casserole dish that serves two hungry guys for at least three days.  The original recipe says 6-8 servings but they must be referring to REALLY generous servings.

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground red pepper (I usually add 1/2 tsp because they like it more spicy)
1/4 tsp granulated garlic (I usually mince 3-4 cloves and saute with butter; you can also add garlic powder)
2 cups half-and-half
2 cups milk (or 1 cup half-and-half and 1 cup water)
2 10-oz blocks sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded and divided (I only had one 16-oz bag of shredded Cheddar)
1 10-oz block extra-sharp Cheddar, shredded (see note above)
1 16-oz package elbow macaroni (I had mini Farfelles), cooked
  1. Cook macaroni as usual, drain.
  2. Melt butter in a large skillet or sauce pot over medium-high heat.
  3. Preheat over to 350 F.
  4. If you choose to saute garlic, do it now.
  5. Gradually whisk in flour until smooth; cook, whisking constantly, about 2 minutes.
  6. Stir in salt, black and red pepper, and garlic (if you did not saute it already).
  7. Gradually whisk in half-and-half and milk.
  8. Cook, whisking constantly, 8-10 mins or until thickened.
  9. Stir in half of sharp cheese and all of extra-sharp cheese (I stirred all at once because I only had 16 oz).
  10. Remove from heat.
  11. Combine pasta and sauce with cheese.
  12. Pour into a lightly greased large casserole dish.
  13. Sprinke with remaining cheese (I decorated with cheese lattice, made of bacon-cheddar slices).
  14. Bake at 350 F for 20 minutes (15 mins longer for a crusty top).
Note:  I sometimes add chicken or meatballs to make all-in-one meal.

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