Friday, May 21, 2010

Baked Goodness

Now that Sawyer's fallen into a fairly predictable bedtime, I figured I should step it up a notch and actually make a homemade meal. I decided to start with a sure thing: baked macaroni and cheese. My mom's recipe has been and always will be my fave.

Prepare macaroni: Bring water to a boil, and add 2 cups of macaroni. Cook until al dente. Drain and let sit.

Prepare rue: This is always the part when I get nervous. I can recall when my mom would psych herself up to add the dry ingredients once the butter was melted, and these memories have successfully been handed down to the next generation of women in our family. We have misplaced fears about the rue being lumpy, so I'm learning not to be afraid and just go for it!

While the pasta is boiling (about 10 minutes), prepare other ingredients. Making sure that your dry ingredients are ready to add to the melted butter will ensure a successful rue. So will using a whisk once you've added the flour mixture. Melt butter over medium heat in a pot that is large enough to eventually hold your cheese sauce and noodles. When the butter has melted, slowly add flour mixture, constantly whisking. Add a dash of nutmeg if you feel up to it. Stir over medium heat for a few minutes until it thickens up a bit.

Finish cheese sauce: Add grated cheese and milk. For baked macaroni and cheese, I think it's best to use a little elbow grease and grate you own cheese. I've tried using pre-shredded cheese before and it just didn't turn out right...too waxy or something. Shower the people you love (who are eating this masterpiece) with a block of sharp-cheddar, shredded from the heart.

Combine cheese sauce and noodles: Add drained noodles to the cheese sauce and once incorporated and pour into a casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Let cool.

Enjoy: Dig in. Have seconds. Save left-overs. Pat yourself on the back.

2 cups elbow macaroni
2 TBSP butter
2 TBSP flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dry mustard
2 cups milk
8 oz grated sharp cheddar cheese
3-4 TBSP Italian bread crumbs (optional)

1. Boil macaroni (12 minutes).
2. Mix dry ingredients and add to melted butter in sauce pan; add milk and stir over medium heat; add grated cheese to sauce.
3. Mix cheese sauce and cooked macaroni and add to casserole dish, topping with breadcrumbs (optional). Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Let cool.


Marta said...

YUM! Looks delicious.

Colleen MacDonald said...

The ULTIMATE in comfort food. Looks great!

JennX said...

EXACTLY like my mom made and I make too- yes, the rue is always a moment of truth. Not just the lumps but 'will it thicken enough'?!

Carol said...

Whisks are the best for keeping lumps out of your roux! Yummy food!