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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Thursday Recipe - Macaroni and Cheese

I can't believe I never posted this recipe. This is one of the first dishes my oldest son learned to cook. Versatile, simple, cheap - how can I have overlooked macaroni and cheese?

Macaroni and Cheese

1 lb dry macaroni, whatever shape you like although elbows are traditional
1/4 c. butter
4 T. flour
4 c. milk
1/2 t. ground black pepper
dash tabasco sauce
4 c. shredded cheese, sharp cheddar is traditional

Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Melt butter in a 2 quart saucepan. Stir in flour. Cook and stir for one minute. It should be smooth and bubbly. Stir in milk 1 c. at a time, whisking well after each addition. Stir in pepper and tabasco sauce. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sauce comes to a full boil. Boil and stir for one minute. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese, continue stirring just until cheese is melted. Pour over macaroni, stir gently to coat noodles. Serve immediately.

Variations: These are endless. Use your imagination.

Cheeses: Try swiss cheese for a fondue flavor. Or add in 1/2 c. crumbled blue cheese for a stronger tang. Use whatever bits of cheese you've got in the fridge. Be bold, experiment.

One of our favorites is to use 2 c. shredded parmesan for the cheese and add 1 t. dried oregano or Italian herb mix for a delightful alfredo sauce.

Mexican: Add 1/4 t. ground cayenne pepper and a pinch of cumin. Stir in 1 can corn, drained; 1 can chopped green chilis, 1/2 c. sliced olives, and 1 c. salsa. Garnish with chopped green onions.

Baconator: Cook 6 slices, or several pounds if you want, of bacon until crisp. Crumble and set aside until mac'n'cheese is done. Stir in bacon and extra cheese as desired.

Other things to try:
cooked and crumbled sausage
chopped, steamed broccoli
12 oz bag of frozen veggies and 2 cans of tuna fish, well drained
sliced hot dogs and 1/4 c. pickle relish
try lemon pepper seasoning over the top and fresh salmon on the side
pour mac'n'cheese into a baking dish and top with smashed potato chips. Bake at 350° until bubbly.
pour into a shallow baking dish and top with pizza toppings, bake at 400° until hot. This works great the the alfredo version.