Thursday, May 24, 2012

New Recipe: One Pot Macaroni and Cheese

There's nothing quite like the comforting taste of homemade Macaroni and Cheese. Unfortunately, homemade Mac and Cheese also comes with the price of a lot of dishes to clean, along with waiting what feels like forever between prepping and eating.

Well my friends, everything you know about Mac and Cheese is about to change thanks to White on Rice Couple blog with their recipe for One Pot Macaroni and Cheese. Yep, you heard that right - homemade mac and cheese made with just one pot in about half the time of baked mac and cheese.

Here's what you need to get started:

2 cups large elbow Macaroni, uncooked (about 1/2 lb)
2 cups low fat Milk (about 16 oz) and if needed, an additional 1/4 cup milk or water for final cooking

1 tablespoon Butter, for flavor; 1/2 teaspoon Mustard powder; 1 teaspoon Salt, plus additional for final season later; and a generous dash of Nutmeg

1 cup Grated Cheese, any one or combination of ( jack, cheddar, swiss, mozzarella, gouda, parmesan*, asiago*, pecorino*) *Hard cheeses are best combined with a secondary, softer, better melting cheese; additional toppings: bacon bits, bread crumbs, chopped parsley, diced tomatoes (optional); and black pepper to taste (optional)

Once you have all of your ingredients, place the raw elbow macaroni in colander and quickly rinse under water. Let it drain.

Next, in medium sauce pan, add milk, raw elbow macaroni, salt, butter, mustard powder and nutmeg.

On medium heat, slowly bring mixture to a simmer, stirring the macaroni frequently as it comes up to a simmer. This will separate macaroni and keep them from sticking together. DO NOT LEAVE THE STOVE! (unless you want a big mess on your stove).

Once the mixture comes to a simmer, immediately turn the heat down to LOW. Stir the mixture frequently so the macaroni cooks evenly and absorbs milk evenly. If you don’t stir your mixture frequently, you will get a big clump of macaroni in the end! Stir, stir stir!

Cook for about 15-20 minutes or until milk has been fully absorbed. If macaroni is not cooked fully, add a little more milk or water to mixture (in small amounts) until macaroni is fully cooked (another 5 minutes)

Once the milk has evaporated, stir the cheese evenly into the macaroni.

Then, turn off the heat and place lid on top of pan and cover for about 5 minutes. This rest period will allow macaroni to plump up and absorb any excess milk.

Add any additional toppings of your choice and stir one final time to mix everything together. Serve immediately.

On the whole, I am pleased with how the recipe turned out. Still, if I were to make this again, there are a few things I would changed to make it even tastier.

First I would have used non-lactaid milk. Being lactose intolerant, I thought this might make it easier on me, but it added a sweet taste to it that mixed with the nutmeg and then cheese just didn't jive very well.

Second, I would use regular noodles. I was trying to be healthy using whole wheat noodles, but they taste slightly different that regular noodles and take a bit longer to cook, so I would want to see if this helped improve the flavor at all.

Finally, I would probably add a bit more cheese and maybe use a different mix to give it a bit more flavor as well. This time I used a mix of cheddar and monterey jack, but I might use a mix of this along with something that has a stronger flavor next time.

Still, you can't go wrong with one pot macaroni and cheese that is ready in under a half hour.

Check out this and other delicious recipes on my What's Cookin' page.
Messy Jess C.

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