Monday, March 17, 2008

Macaroni and Cheese

Today I decided to make a simple dinner of macaroni and cheese. I have mentioned that I don't make very many recipes twice, but there are exceptions. I use my Mom's recipe for Mac & Cheese; adding a few of my own touches. This is one recipe I have made over and over again. It was one of the first things I made when I was just starting out, learning to cook.

One thing I always do is use Tillamook sharp cheddar cheese. I love most Tillamook products, especially their cheese. Tillamook Cheese Factory is located in Oregon, and we go everytime we visit the Oregon Coast (which is usually at least once a year). A perfect summer day for me is picking blueberries at our favorite farm in Banks, Oregon, driving west through the beautiful forest (I stuff my face with berries during the whole ride until my stomach hurts), stopping at Tillamook cheese factory, tasting the yummy cheese samples and getting an ice cream cone, and then driving down to the beach and walking along it. Sometimes we'll stop and build a sand castle or let the kids swing on the swing sets that are right on the sand. Sometimes, if my husband is feeling crazy, he'll actually go into the water.... it's always way too cold for me!! The babies like to run up to the edge of the waves and try not to get wet.

Anyway, Tillamook cheese is so yummy, especially their sharp cheddar. Here is the recipe for my fave Mac & Cheese. It calls for elbow macaroni, and if I use that, I always use whole wheat. Any smaller pasta shape will work, though. I've used mini shells, mini wheat penne, wagon wheels, and gemelli. Tonight I used a mix of tri-colored radiatore and Trader Joe's new alphabet pasta. The original recipe called for 6 oz. of pasta, but I found that there was too much sauce in relation to pasta, so I upped it to 7 oz. and it's perfect. Also, all of the spice measurments are apporximate; I just sprinkle them in without measuring. I usually use 1% milk, and top the dish with tomato slices before baking. I didn't have any tomatoes tonight, though. You could also use buttered bread crumbs, or just leave it plain. You don't have to use Tillamook cheese, of course. It's good with many different brands, I'm sure. ;) I always serve this with fresh steamed broccoli, because we love the broccoli/cheese combination. Here is the recipe, and I really mean it this time:

Macaroni and Cheese

7 ounces elbow macaroni
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups milk
fresh ground pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon Worchestire sauce
few drops hot sauce
12 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions. You may want to undercook it by a minute or so, as it will cook more in the oven. Drain; pour into a greased 1 1/2 quart casserole dish. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt butter. Blend in flour with a whisk, then add milk; cook and stir until thick and smooth. Add pepper, dijon mustard, garlic powder, chili powder, Worchestire sauce, and hot sauce. Remove from heat, and add cheddar cheese, stirring in a handful at a time, until melted. Pour sauce over pasta, and fold gently to combine. Sprinkle with paprika, if desired, and any toppings you are using (sliced tomatoes, bread crumbs, etc). Bake at 350* for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly and very lightly browned on top. Yield: 6 servings


HoneyB said...

Thanks Dish! This looks awesome!

About GrannyLooHoo said...

Thank you for sharing, Dishy. I can't wait to make this!