5.5 weeks just the kids and me.
1 week on vacation.
1 week celebrating my baby’s first birthday.
That’s a lot of days doing very little cooking. It’s no surprise my scheduled posts have petered out and there wasn’t much to pull from the archives to share.
The moment has finally come to share a poorly photographed original recipe.
I made this Mac & Cheese just shy of one year ago. At that point in my life I had a two week old. Daylight Savings Time had ended and the dark Ohio nights were cold. What’s a better pick-me-up than some macaroni?
I decided to save another dish to wash by making my macaroni in a Dutch oven and putting it directly into the oven instead of transferring it to a casserole dish.
Wing-it Mac & Cheese
- 1/2 lb elbow noodles
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/2 sweet onion, chopped
- 1/2 tsp minced garlic
- 1/4 tsp ground mustard
- 1 tbsp flour
- 2 C whole milk, at room temperature
- 2 1/4 C shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 C panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
- olive oil, for drizzling
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cook pasta in boiling salted water according to package instructions to al dente.
- Heat vegetable oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Saute onion until tender. Add minced garlic and saute one minute. Stir in mustard, S+P, and flour.
- Whisk in the milk. Bring to a gentle bubble. Add in the cheese a handful at a time, stirring until melted before adding more. Once all the cheese is incorporated, fold in the cooked macaroni noodles.
- In a small bowl, whisk the panko and Italian seasoning. Spread over the macaroni. Drizzle with a little olive oil.
- Bake 30 minutes. Allow macaroni to rest 5-10 minutes before digging in.
Can we take a moment and freak out a little bit about how it’s already March? I know February is a short month, but I feel like we just celebrated those #FoodieExtravaganza pies!
Each month we take turns hosting and selecting a foodie holiday associated with that month; March includes Noodle Month, Celery Month, and Frozen Food Month. Today we’re celebrating noodles! Thanks to our host, Lauren of From Gate to Plate, for not picking celery. 😉
The noodle I am featuring in my recipe today are the classic elbow macaroni. But that’s all that’s classic about this dish! This macaroni and cheese is a guy’s dream – bacon and beer! I made this indulgent pasta for my husband’s birthday earlier this year. It would make for a wonderful Father’s Day meal, too.
Having beer in the cheese sauce really reminded me of fondue! I don’t care for beer, but it works amazingly well in macaroni and cheese! Especially when there’s a crust of bacon on top.
This recipe makes way more than the two servings quoted in the original recipe. I’d go ahead and say this macaroni would feed 4-6!
Beer and Bacon Mac & Cheese
- 2 1/2 C dry elbow noodles
- 3 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp flour
- 1 1/2 C milk
- 1 bottle (12 oz) beer
- 1 1/2 C shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 1/2 C shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 C panko bread crumbs
- 8 strips center cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
- Cook pasta in boiling salted water until barely al dente, about a minute less than the recommended cooking time. Drain.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Melt butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour and cook until golden. Add the milk and beer, whisking continuously. Slowly add the cheeses and stir until melted. Cook, stirring, 6 minutes until thickened. Season with the paprika, salt, garlic powder, pepper, and nutmeg.
- Add cooked noodles to the cheese sauce.
- Divide macaroni between ramekins or use a casserole dish.
- Combine the panko and cooked bacon. Top the macaroni.
- Bake until bubbly and the crust is golden, about 20 minutes. Allow macaroni to cool 5 minutes before serving.
*This recipe is adapted from Melanie at http://melaniemakes.com/blog/2014/02/bacon-crusted-beer-mac-and-cheese.html*
Be sure to check out these other recipes involving noodles:
One Pot Garlic Pasta by From Gate to Plate
Haluski (Fried Cabbage & Noodles) by Making Miracles
Homemade Chinese Noodles by Fearlessly Creative Mammas
Spicy Shrimp with Peanut Noodles by cookinandcraftin
Sopa Seca de Fideo – Spicy Mexican Noodles by Food Lust People Love
Green Bean and Squash Laksa by Caroline’s Cooking
Kakaós Tészta (Hungarian Cocoa Noodles) by Tara’s Multicultural Table
MiMi’s Baked Ziti by Cooking With Carlee
Tortellini and Tomato Salad by The Freshman Cook
Homemade Noodles by Our Good Life
Tossed Homemade Macaroni Noodles by A Day in the Life on the Farm
Soft Noodles with Veggies and Poached Egg by G’Gina’s Kitchenette
If you are a blogger and would like to join our group and blog along with us, come join our Facebook page Foodie Extravaganza. We would love to have you! If you’re a spectator looking for delicious tid-bits check out our Foodie Extravaganza Pinterest Board! Looking for our previous parties? Check them out HERE.
Macaroni and Cheese is one of those comfort foods that everyone seems to have a soft spot for. I know it’s one of my guilty pleasures. I say that because I still (in my upper 2os) prefer the highly processed boxed macaroni to a homemade pasta. I think what I don’t care for is a baked casserole dish of mac and cheese. I don’t care for the extra cheese or breadcrumb crust on top and baked noodle dishes to me always seem dry.
But I do give a “fancy” mac and cheese a chance every now and then. And when one is a stove-top version of the comfort food I’m more inclined to give it a try. Especially when cream cheese is one of the ingredients!
And with sausage being a main ingredient I know that my husband would definitely approve. That makes this pasta a main dish and not a side.
Sausage Macaroni and Cheese
- 1/2 lb uncooked macaroni noodles
- 2 links Italian sausage, casings removed
- 1 1/4 C milk
- 2 tbsp flour
- 3/4 C shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/3 C shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
- 1/4 C cream cheese
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- In a large, high-sided skillet over medium-high heat cook the sausage, breaking it up.
- In a measuring cup, whisk together the milk and flour. Add to the skillet and bring to a boil, whisking continuously. Reduce to a simmer and whisk in the cheeses, spices, and salt to taste. Stir until cheese is melted.
- Add cooked pasta to the skillet, coating it in the sauce.
*This recipe is adapted from Deborah at http://www.tasteandtellblog.com/cheesy-goodness/*
Instead of choosing a Fall or Halloween theme for our October potluck, we decided to broaden the category a little bit by going with “orange.” Anything orange in color, containing an orange ingredient, or using the flavor of orange was fair game. Understandably our menu contained a lot of pumpkin and squash.
I brought sweet potato chili. This chili recipe was inspired by my October CLUE assignment Eliot’s Eats. I made quite a few changes to Debra’s recipe, the main one being that I added ground beef to make a hearty chili versus something a little “soupier.” I swapped out the beans for adzuki beans, used crushed tomatoes instead of diced, removed the kale, and forgot about the orange zest.
I first made this chili as football grub when some friends came over. I needed something gluten and lactose free and chili seemed like the perfect solution. And it was a huge hit! Everyone went back for seconds and there wasn’t anything left the next day. Top your chili with tortilla chips and cheese, if desired.
I thought it’d be a perfect fit for our themed potluck and easily transportable in a slow cooker. Be sure to read past my recipe for the amazing collection of “orange” foods. We had a spectacular turn out of over two dozen friends.
Sweet Potato Chili
- 2/3 C dried adzuki beans
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil, divided use
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 tsp chili powder, divided use
- 1/2 large onion, diced
- 1/2 tsp minced garlic
- 2 C peeled and diced sweet potato
- 2 – 2 1/2 C broth (I’ve used both chicken and vegetable)
- 1 can (14.5 oz) crushed tomatoes
- 1 tsp finely diced chipotle in adobo
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tbsp dried parsley
- Soak beans for 1-2 hours. Rinse. Cover with water by 2″. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook uncovered 50-60 minutes. Set aside.
- In a skillet over medium-high heat, cook ground beef in 1 tbsp vegetable oil. Season with 1/2 tsp chili powder, S+P. Set aside.
- In a large pot over medium-high heat, cook onion in 1 tbsp vegetable oil until tender. Add 1/2 tsp minced garlic and cook 1 minute. Add the diced sweet potatoes and cook for 2 minutes, allowing them to get some color. Add 1 1/2 C broth and the cooked beans. Simmer for 10 minutes, covered.
- To the chili, add the crushed tomatoes, 1 chipotle in adobo, 1/2 tsp chili powder, coriander, parsley, S+P. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked ground beef to the pot. Add 1/2 – 1 C more broth and simmer until the beans are completely tender, approximately 30 minutes. (Note: If you want a meatier chili, cook uncovered. If you want more liquid cook partially covered, and add more broth as needed.)
*This recipe is modified from Debra at http://eliotseats.com/2012/03/01/black-bean-and-sweet-potato-chili/*
Here are the other recipes brought to the orange potluck:
- Orange Julius: Mix 1 can (12 oz) frozen OJ concentrate, 2 C milk, 2 C water, 1/2 C sugar, 2 tsp vanilla. Add approximately 16 ice cubes and blend until smooth.
- Pumpkin Spice Latte: http://thrivinghomeblog.com/2013/09/crock-pot-pumpkin-spiced-latte/
- Buffalo Chicken Dip: https://www.franksredhot.com/recipes/print/?re=re1242-1
- Macaroni and Cheese: Cook 1 lb pasta, drain, and set aside. In skillet, cook 1/2 onion (diced) and 2 tsp minced garlic in 2 tbsp veg oil until tender. In a large pot add 4 tbsp butter, 1 C milk, 1/4 lb Velveeta cheese until melted. Add in pasta, onions and garlic, and 2 C shredded cheese until mixed completely.
- Gnocchi with Squash, Spinach, and Prosciutto: Cook 1 lb gnocchi according to package instructions, reserve 1/2 C cooking water, drain and return to pot. In a large skillet, cook 6 slices chopped prosciutto in 1 tbsp butter, transfer to paper towel lined plate. Add 3 tbsp butter to same skillet and brown 1 1/2 lb cubed butternut squash 4 min, add 2 tbsp fresh thyme and cook 30 sec, deglaze pan with 1/2 C white wine until reduced by half, add 1 C chicken broth and cook 4 min until thickened. Add squash, 4 oz baby spinach, and cooked prosciutto to gnocchi, adding reserved pasta water as needed.
- Carrot Pudding: Boil 5 lb peeled and chopped carrots until tender, drain, and mash. Cream 1 C melted butter, 1 C sugar, 1 C brown sugar and add to carrots. Mix in 2 tbsp cinnamon, 1 tbsp ginger, 1 tbsp nutmeg, 1 tsp ground cloves, 6 eggs, 1 heaping tbsp baking powder, and 1 tbsp vanilla. Pour into a 9×13″ casserole dish and bake 1 hr at 350 deg F.
- Sweet Potato and Orange Puree with Almond Streusel: Make Streusel: Combine 1/3 C flour, 1/3 C whole almonds, 3 tbsp brown sugar, 2 tsp paprika, 1/2 cold cubed stick butter; refrigerate at least 1 hr. Make Puree: Mix together 4 lb worth cooked peeled sweet potatoes, 1/3 C OJ, 2 tbsp brown sugar, 2 tbsp room temperature butter, 1 1/2 tsp orange zest; place in 9×13″ casserole dish, top with streusel, bake 40 min at 400 deg F.
- Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells with Sage Browned Butter: http://www.melskitchencafe.com/butternut-squash-stuffed-shells-with-sage-browned-butter/
- Oatmeal Pumpkin Cookies: http://www.budgetbytes.com/2013/09/oatmeal-pumpkin-cookies/
- Met in your Mouth Pumpkin Cookies: Beat 2 C butter until fluffy, mix in 2 C sugar, 2 tsp baking powder, 2 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp nutmeg until combined, add 2 eggs and 2 tsp vanilla until combined, mix in 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin, slowly add 4 C flour until combined. Drop spoonfuls onto greased baking sheet and bake 10-12 min at 350 deg F. Make icing: Beat together 1/2 C butter, 1 pg (8 oz) softened cream cheese, 3 3/4 C powdered sugar, 1 tsp vanilla. Frost baked cookies. Garnish wish cinnamon.
- Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars: http://roxanashomebaking.com/pumpkin-cheesecake-bars-recipe/
I have another chorizo pasta combination for Mexican Monday. And although it makes quite a few more dishes and requires more ingredients than my previous Chorizo Carbonara, I am addicted to this one.
When I day dream about this dish – yes, I actually do this – I get hungry. The leftovers are even just as delicious as when it first comes out of the oven. And I’m not very big on leftovers, pastas in particular always take on a new rubbery texture, but not these!
There are also so many ways you could change this up and make it your own: use a different meat product, add peppers or chilies for heat, serve alongside guacamole, salsa or sour cream for extra creaminess with each bite. Is it time to eat yet?
Chorizo Mac and Cheese
- 2 C uncooked macaroni noodles
- 1 C shredded Mexican cheese
- 1 C shredded pepper jack cheese
- 1 tsp of corn starch
- 1 C milk
- 2 links Mexican chorizo, casings removed
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 1 heaping tbsp flour
- 2 tbsp bread crumbs
- olive oil, for drizzling
- Cook pasta in a pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- In a bowl, combine cheeses and corn starch. Set aside.
- Warm milk in a small sauce pan over low heat – do not bring to a boil.
- Brown chorizo in a sauce pan – breaking it up like you would ground beef. Add in onion and cook until translucent. Sprinkle in flour and stir. Slowly add in warm milk, stirring after each addition. It will begin to turn into a beautiful pale orange sauce. Melt in cheeses a handful at a time, stirring. Mix in drained cooked pasta.
- Pour pasta into a greased casserole dish, sprinkle with bread crumbs and drizzle with olive oil. Bake 25 minutes.
*This recipe is adapted from Elise at http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/chorizo_mac_and_cheese/*
Come join Mac and Cheese Mania at Nutmeg Nanny and Rachel Cooks sponsored by Door to Door Organics and OXO!