October 26, 2011

Mac N' Cheese....My Kiss, My Hug, My Comfort!

When sick, or tired, or far from home, everyone seems to yearn for the gastronomic equivalent of a warm sweater, a kiss on the forehead, or a favorite blanket. Macaroni and cheese might mean comfort to you. It certainly does to me.  There's simply nothing more satisfying than a plate of piping hot elbow macaroni held loosely together in a creamy, custard-like cheddar cheese sauce covered with a crusty layer of baked cheese and buttered breadcrumbs. This dish is perfect!

A Maine House Mosaic

Mac and cheese is an incredibly simple dish. The name pretty much sums up the recipe. Elbow macaroni, or some other tube-shaped pasta, layered with cheese and cooked with milk or cream. That's all there is. But the simplicity of the dish is only part of its charm. Macaroni and cheese lovers add all sorts of secret ingredients and guard their recipes like new money.

Estelle's Ultimate Southern Macaroni and Cheese
16 oz box of macaroni
1 stick of butter (softened)
1 13 0z can of evaporated milk
1 block of sharp cheddar cheese (approx. 16oz)
1 block of sharp or mild cheddar cheese (approx. 8 oz)
1 box of Velveeta
1 4oz can of Jalapeno peppers, chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cook the macaroni according to package directions. Cook about 1 minute less than the package directions. While the macaroni is cooking, cut 16 oz block of cheese into small cubes. Slice Velveeta into pieces. Then, take the cooked macaroni, drain but do not rinse. Return the macaroni to pot. Add butter, milk, cheese cube and slices to hot macaroni. Mix well, until butter and Velveeta melt. The mixture will be soupy. The cheese cubes will not melt completely. Add peppers. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour into baking dish.
Cover the top with the remaining cheese (grated, sliced or cut into cubes.)
Bake at 350 degrees F. for 35 minutes. You want the top to brown and the pasta to set.

Estelle's Three Cheese Macaroni n' Cheese
1 box (1 .lb) of Elbows Macaroni
1 8 oz block of Mild Cheddar Cheese
1 8 oz block of Colby Jack Cheese
1 pkg. of Kraft Deluxe Cheese Slices
¼ cup of sour cream
¼ stick of butter
¼ cup of milk
salt and pepper to taste

Boil the macaroni in a pot until done (add 2 tsps of oil to the boiling water, to prevent the macaroni from sticking). Drain macaroni, add butter. Cut up the blocks of cheese, tear the slices and add to macaroni. Add in ¼ cup of milk, sour cream and stir, continue to stir and cook so that the macaroni won’t stick. Remove from stove and place in oven at 350 degrees F. and bake for about 15 minutes.

“A guest at a potluck dinner we attended recently brought a concoction she had prepared with cream of chicken soup. The guests were polite and said, “girl, is this your macaroni and cheese?” They were on their good behavior. Oh, you know that's right. When girlfriend left, the entire God-awful mess, bowl and all, was tossed into the garbage!” Joseph C. Phillips.

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