Friday, April 29, 2011

Macaroni and Cheese

If you are lucky enough to have an "Aunt Bee" in your family, she probably has tucked away for safe keeping a stash of "BEST" recipes... she might even share them with you if you ask nicely! But if you don't have a favorite Aunt or dear Grandma who has spent years perfecting her macaroni and cheese, then you are on the lookout. I have several that I fall back on, one from Tyler Florence on Food Network that he calls Ultimate... it's good!

Tyler Florence's Ultimate Macaroni and Cheese
From Tyler Florence's Ultimate Cookbook
1 lb elbow macaroni
4 cups milk
2 -3 sprigs fresh thyme
4 garlic cloves, smashed and divided
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 1/2 cups shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
4 slices bacon, cut crosswise into thin strips
1 large onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1/4 bunch fresh thyme
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the macaroni and cook for 8 to 9 minutes, until al dente. Drain.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
In a small saucepan heat the milk with the thyme springs and 2 garlic cloves. Melt the butter in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly, to keep lumps from forming. Strain the solids out of the milk and whisk it into the butter and flour mixture. Continue to whisk vigorously, and cook until the mixture is nice and smooth. Stir in the 4 cups of the cheese and continue to cook and stir to melt the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Add the cooked macaroni and the parsley and fold that all in to coat the macaroni with the cheese mixture. Scrape into a 3 quart baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining 1 1/2 cups cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
While that bakes, heat a saute pan. Add the bacon, render the fat and cook until crispy. Add onion, garlic and thyme leaves and cook for about 5 minutes to soften the onion. Season with salt and pepper.
To serve, scatter the bacon mixture over the mac and cheese.

Another from the Deen Brother's Cookbook that never fails to please..

Ultra Creamy Mac and Cheese Casserole
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened,
plus additional for coating dish
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
8 ounces American cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
4 ounces cream cheese, cubed
1 cup half-and-half
4 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 13x9-inch baking dish; set aside.
In a large pot of water, cook the macaroni according to package directions; drain. Return the macaroni to the pot. Add the cheeses to the hot macaroni and stir well; spread in the prepared dish.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the 1/4 cup butter, the half-and-half, eggs, sour cream, salt, cayenne pepper (if using), and black pepper. Pour over the macaroni. Bake, uncovered, for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Servings: 8

...and the tried and true recipe from the back of Velvetta, easy to make and CHEESY-GOOD!

Velvetta Macaroni and Cheese
2 cups (8 oz.) elbow macaroni, uncooked
3/4 lb. (12 oz.) Velveeta cheese product, cut up
1/3 cup milk
1/8 tsp. pepper
Cook macaroni as directed on package; drain well. Return to pan.
Add remaining ingredients; mix well. Cook on low heat until prepared cheese product is melted, stirring frequently.
Courtesy of Kraft Foods

Today I was listening to Martha Stewart on Sirius and they were interviewing Ann Hodgman who's written Beat This, a cookbook with recipes she guarantees to be better than anyone else's! ALRIGHT!!! So when I got home, you guessed it...I Googled Ann Hodgman mac and cheese and here it is!

The Best Macaroni and Cheese From Beat This by Ann Hodgman
What makes this recipe the best? Its creamy, creamy creaminess. To achieve maximum smoothitude, you really have to use evaporated milk and Velveeta.
10 ounces extra-sharp cheddar, grated
4 ounces Monterey Jack, grated
4 ounces Velveeta, cubed(or, if you must, 4 more ounces of Monterey Jack, grated)
4 ounces cream cheese
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
6 slices extra-thick bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
Salt and pepper to taste
12 ounces elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
1/2 cup plain dried bread crumbs
2 ounces parmesan, grated
Heat oven to 350. Put cheeses (except parmesan) in the top of a double boiler (if you don't have one, set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan with about 1 inch of water in it) and melt over simmering water, stirring frequently. Gradually add milk, whisking until completely smooth. Whisk in mustard, bacon, salt, and pepper. Pour into a 9-by-9-inch baking dish, add macaroni, and toss to coat (for 4-ounce bowls like the one at left, mix macaroni and sauce in a medium bowl, then spoon into dishes). In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs and parmesan; sprinkle over the top. Bake until crumbs are browned and cheese is bubbling, 25 to 30 minutes (15 to 20 minutes for individual portions).

I'm going to try it out this weekend on the toughest critic I know... my 11 year old grandson. Results, next week!


  1. Wow Joycee,

    You've provided quite a selection of mac'n cheese for us here. We woke up to a snow-rain mix this morning. After planning a fresh salad for dinner, I think I may whip up the Dean Boy's version. It sounds comforting and warm! Thank you...

    Have a great weekend.

  2. Too funny, I've been looking for a more fancified mac and cheese recipe lately and have Tyler's bookmarked to try soon. I grew up with the Velveeta version though and that's hard to beat!

  3. I was fortunate enough to have an Aunt Bee-type of Aunt. When she died, one of my cousins made a cook book and memory book of our wonderful Aunt Ionia. What a great selection of mac and cheese recipes. Living in Wisconsin, and always having an abundance of different cheeses in the fridge, my mother used to make a simple mac and cheese with whatever was in the fridge and I loved it. Joni

  4. Not enough of a fan of the mac & cheese to try the "ultimate" recipes. I have bad memories of it as a child and it has turned me off for, no, don't ask, I will do a post about it as part of my therapy one day. Soon.

  5. Fantastic sounding recipes. :) Mac n cheese is one of the few dishes I can't seem to screw up, lol. maybe I made one bad batch, but I was a newlywed then so it's allowed.
    I have my own recipe, which was invented only because I didn't have most of the ingredients for the recipe I wanted to use. And of course the velveeta one is a staple in this house too. Alex likes me to melt pepperjack singles into his bowl for a little extra spice.
    Good luck with the grandson! I'm sure if he doesn't like the food, you'll have no trouble finding someone who does. lol. Enjoy your weekend!


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