Monday, March 14, 2016

Four Cheese - Macaroni and Cheese

I am a Kraft Dinner kind of girl. You give me that blue box and I'm a happy girl. Shameful, I know, but dammmmmn, it's so good! Because of that (and my usual distaste for cheese in general), I've never made homemade mac and cheese. Ever. My mom made it occasionally, but it was never my favorite. I couldn't even tell you how she made it, other than she baked it until it was dry. No bueno!

My brother, on the other hand, makes the best. Like...THE. BEST. I called him when I was standing in the grocery store to find out what he does. He obliged. (And thank God, he did...cuz WOOOOOO, Betty! This stuff turned out AHHHHHHHMAZING!)

This is in absolutely NO way healthy. Not even close. Don't gripe about calories, fat, carbs, or anything else because this recipe is fattening. I'm sure you can probably substitute for other ingredients, but let's be serious - if you're dieting, you probably shouldn't be looking up recipes for mac and cheese anyway, right? Obviously, this isn't something I make regularly (first time in almost 40 years of cooking, so....), so an occasional indulgence is probably not going to kill me.

I made a pot full of this, so gauge accordingly on portions. We had a LOT of it.

2 boxes pasta (shells are what I used)
6T butter
6T flour
24oz chicken stock
16oz heavy cream
16oz milk
2lb box Velveeta, cubed
4oz cream cheese, cubed
8oz cheddar cheese, shredded
8oz colby jack cheese, shredded

½ tsp seasoned salt
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp onion powder
1T Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp mustard
2T sugar
Optional: bread crumbs or French's fried onions (plain or white cheddar) mixed with butter to create a crunchy crust

  1. Cook the pasta according to pkg directions. Make sure to err on the side of al dente. Drain, but DO NOT RINSE!
  2. Make sure your chicken stock, cream and milk are open and ready to pour because this next part can get a little tedious and you can wreck a good roux pretty quickly.
  3. Make a roux by melting the butter in a large pan/pot over medium heat. Sprinkle flour in slowly and whisk until a paste forms. Let it bubble consistently until it starts to turn a little darker. Keep an eye on the heat. Too high, you'll burn. Too low, it won't cook or mix properly.
  4. Once the roux has browned a little, add the chicken stock, cream and milk right after one another, whisking the entire time. You may need to add more milk or stock to thin it, if it turns thick too quickly, so keep some ready. If you've done it right, it should have a gravy consistency. You're always better off being a little thinner than thicker here, because the cheese will thicken things up a LOT.
  5. Slowly add the cheeses, one type at a time, melting them slowly and stirring well. You may need to turn down the heat so you don't scorch it.
  6. When all the cheeses have melted, add milk or stock until it's the desired consistency.
  7. Add the spices and remaining sauces, tasting as you go. 
  8. Mix with the pasta and pour into a large casserole dish or large baking dish. 
  9. You can top with a bread crumb/butter mixture and bake in a 350° oven until the top is golden or serve as it is. We like it as it is.

You can also use any type of cheese: pepper jack, gouda, smoky cheddar, etc.
You can add to it, too: crumbled bacon, cubed ham, shredded chicken, hot sauce, buffalo sauce, 
salsa, even.

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