Wednesday, December 11, 2013

#35 Easy Beer Mac and Cheese

On a cold December day who could resist the lure of beer and cheese?  This was good, a bit dry, not a favourite but did the trick. It had a really yummy crust and baked up crispy on the bottom as well. I opted out of the basil.  It would have looked prettier with it.  Recipe here from How Sweet it Is.

a few components

my helper/cheese eater

out of the oven
with a side of cauliflower

Thursday, May 30, 2013

#34 Basil + Brussels Sprout Mac and Cheese

I had some basil I wanted to use up and saw that Brussels sprouts were still in the market so I thought I'd try this one out.  The recipe was found courtesy of Brit & Co. and can be found here.

This recipe was kind of surprising because in addition to making a roux you also used heavy (or whipping) cream.  Even though I was doubtful about how it would turn out I followed the directions faithfully.  Normally you would make a roux with milk and using the heavy cream made the sauce gluey in appearance and consistency.  It may have helped if less flour were used and I thought the half cup called for may have been a typo.

I didn't make the salad to accompany this - I was in a rush to get dinner on the table and that's one of the reasons I love recipes with heaps of veggies included as I feel okay with not serving an additional side of veggies.

I was very worried with how it would turn out because of the nature of the sauce.  I thought this might be extremely dry because the sauce didn't even seem to mix in well with the veggies and noodles before baking.  Anyway I was pleasantly surprised that it turned out pretty good.  I love the combination of Brussels sprouts, cheese and basil.  I'd definitely recommend this one.

Friday, April 5, 2013

#33 Linda McCartney's Baked Macaroni and Cheese

I really, really wanted this to be good.  I'm totally inspired by Linda McCartney.  She was a pioneer in vegetarian cooking and did so much to make it mainstream.  I'm absolutely dying to try her products from her food line but sadly they are not available in North America.

I knew from reading this recipe that there weren't going to be any surprises but I somehow hoped that there was some magical about the recipe that I was missing and it would come together in an unexpected way.  That wasn't the case however.  I've made similar recipes to this using evaporated milk in place or regular milk and they turned out infinitely better.  The cheese didn't mix into the milk very well and the result was milky and tasteless with bits of melted cheese.  We all used plenty of salt and pepper to make our individual portions more tasty.

very basic ingredients

  some butter, breadcrumbs and Parmesan would have been nice on top

I used 1% milk, whole milk might have worked better

I won't be trying this again but I will gladly try some of Mrs. McCartney's Farmhouse Pies.

3/4 lb macaroni, uncooked
1 egg
2 c milk (I recommend whole or homogonized milk)
2 T butter
2 1/2 c Cheddar cheese, grated
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly boil the macaroni for about 5 minutes until half cooked.

Whisk the egg and milk together in a large cup.  Melt the butter and add it, with the grated cheese, to the egg and milk.  Stir well.

Place the lightly cooked macaroni in a greased baking dish.  Pour the egg and cheese liquid over the macaroni, sprinkle with salt and pepper and stir well.  Press the mixture evenly around the baking dish.  Bake, uncovered, for 30-40 minutes, until the top is brown.

Recipe adapted from Linda McCartney's Home Cooking

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

#32 Macaroni and Cheese with Tofu

image via Moosewood

I was really looking forward to this one because the Moosewood cookbooks are my favourite.  Just about everything I have ever made has been delicious.  That said, I was slightly disappointed with how this turned out.  I think I can narrow down the culprits.  Number one, two teaspoons prepared mustard was too much.  I think if I were to make this again I would either make it one teaspoon of prepared or two teaspoons dijon which imparts a more delicate flavour.  This was also really yellow in colour which I think was due in part to the mustard and the tumeric.  I've seen tumeric added to macaroni and cheese in vegan recipes but not in dairy ones.

Secondly I just don't think there was enough cheese.  I think they purposely cut down on the amount to make the recipe fewer calories and "healthier" but even though I used a really sharp cheddar the flavour was completely masked by the mustard.  So, if the mustard was changed and maybe a half cup more cheese was added this could be great.

It wasn't really creamy but more dense similar to when mac and cheese is baked with an egg.  I think silken tofu is an excellent addition to beef up the protein content.  So the final verdict was okay but definitely would be better with a few minor tweaks.

12 oz (3 c) elbow noodles or similar

cheese sauce
12 oz low fat silken tofu
1/2 c low-fat (1%) milk
1/2 c nonfat plain yogurt
1 c grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, packed
1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 t pressed garlic cloves
2 t prepared yellow mustard
1/2 t salt, more to taste
1/4 t freshly ground black pepper
1/4 t tumeric
pinch of nutmeg

1/4 c minced onions
1/4 c chopped fresh parsley
1/2 breadcrumbs (I used a mixture of whole wheat and panko) mixed with 1/4 c grated Cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 350.  Lightly brush or spray a 2-quart baking dish with oil.

Bring a large covered pot of lightly salted water to a boil.  When the water boils, stir in the pasta and return to a boil.  Cook until al dente (about 6 minutes).  Meawhile, in a food processor or blender, combine all of the Cheese Sauce ingredients and puree or pulse until smooth.  Add more salt to taste.

Drain the cooked pasta.  In a large bowl, mix together the pasta and cheese sauce.  Stir in the onions and parsley and spoon the pasta into the prepared baking dish.  Top with the bread crumb mixture.

Bake covered for about 30 minutes, then uncover and bake for 5 minutes more.

We served this with a simple green salad for supper.  Serves 4 to 6.

Recipe adapted from The Moosewood Restaurant New Classics

This recipe runs at about 435 calories per serving and 11 Weight Watchers Points for those of you who are counting.

Monday, April 1, 2013

#31 Campbell's Easy Macaroni and Cheese

I'll admit that I was more than a bit trepidatious to try this recipe.  I haven't had very good experiences with cheese soup.  I remember finding a can in my aunt's house and my cousin and I heating it up for our lunch.  It wasn't exactly the melty bowl of cheese that I thought it would be.

Luckily I was pleasantly surprised with this. Even though the recipe consisted of little more than mixing a few cans and cups together it baked up nice.  The cheesy taste was mild and it was creamy without being too thick.  Green onions and tomatoes added a nice bit of flavour.  Tellingly the recipe didn't call for any salt and none was needed.

Even though this wasn't gourmet by any stretch the family loved it and I wouldn't hesitate to make it again.

recipe here

Friday, March 29, 2013

#30 Macaroni and Cheese a la Tasha Tudor

I obtained this score at the public library book sale.  Being a big fan of Tasha Tudor's children's books and her beautiful world recreated through her lovely stories and sweet illustrations I was really looking forward to trying this out.  This cookbook is full of cozy standards and comfort food so of course mac and cheese makes an appearance.  I was a bit surprised by the use of Ritz crackers and Velveeta and also a bit excited.  Most of the recipes I make are of the purist sort so I was looking forward to trying something different.  We never had Velveeta as a kid so I'm not really used to cooking with it but if you ignore the plasticy texture it's fun to cook with and adds a certain depth of flavour when other cheeses are present.

This was so easy and good I would definitely make it again.

2 c elbow macaroni
5 T unsalted butter
1/4 c unbleached flour
2 c milk
1 c sharp cheddar cheese, grated
salt and pepper
4 oz Velveeta, cubed
1/2 c crumbled Ritz crackers for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and butter a shallow 1 1/2 quart baking dish.
Cook the macaroni in boiling slated water until just tender.  Drain it while you prepare the cream sauce.
In a large saucepan, melt 4 T of the butter, then whisk in the flour and add the milk.  Stir the mixture until it thickens, then add the cheddar cheese and stir it in until it melts.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cut the Velveeta into 1/2-inch chunks and stir it into the white sauce, but do not allow it to melt completely.  Place the drained macaroni in the prepared baking dish, pour the cheese sauce over it, and stir gently to mix.  Sprinkle the crumbled Ritz crackers generously over the top and dot with the remaining butter.  Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until browned and bubbly.

Serves 4 to 6.

Recipe adapted from The Tasha Tudor Cookbook

Enjoy your Good Friday everyone!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

#29 Cajun Shrimp Macaroni and Cheese

First off I must give credit where credit is due and thank Pinterest!  If I ever thought I'd run out of new mac & cheese recipes those feelings were put to rest since I joined Pinterest.  This latest recipe was found there along with a link to the crazy Wisconsin Cheese website I posted below. 

I was surprised at how different this tasted from what I expected.  It wasn't too spicy but was really tasty & delicious.  Four stars!  Recipe here.

Monday, March 25, 2013

#28 Grandpa's Mac & Cheese

 photo via A Local Choice

Wow this was really good and different.  When I was a kid my mom used to make macaroni noodles and throw in a can of Campbell's tomato soup and some shredded cheddar.  I liked it well enough but this definitely takes the same idea and raises the bar a few levels.  Since I didn't have any quark around I used ricotta and it seemed to do the trick just fine.  I'd really like to try it with quark though.  I will definitely be trying this one again.

Recipe here.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

#27 California Pizza Kitchen Mac & Cheese

Hmmm any casserole that sells itself on three ingredients is bound to be questionable.  This recipe was no exception.  It was okay but I think you have to be a big fan of Velveeta to really get behind this.  As you can tell I played around with a few filters to make this one look slightly more interesting.


"4th Annual"?

How did I miss this?!