M is for Macaroni & Cheese

Macaroni and cheese is, for me, the ultimate comfort food.

mac cheese close up

I’ve been loving the  upscale-homestyle cooking trend of the past several years, where every other restaurant chef has a version of macaroni and cheese on the menu. They’re all delicious, some very creative, but really, I can do without truffle oil and exotic cheeses.

I’m happy with just the basics – elbow macaroni (or, okay, cavatappi ;-p) mixed with a sauce of good cheddar cheese, topped with crunchy bread crumbs, and baked until bubbling.

Everyone has a favorite recipe;  I’m always tinkering with mine to make sure there’s enough “sauciness” and it doesn’t dry out while baking, but also not too soupy.

This is a pretty good “base” recipe – I add a pinch of dry mustard to the sauce, and a little more paprika to the toasted bread crumbs.

basic mac cheese fannie farmer mac And this is the classic from Fannie Farmer – this also works well, although I never use cream — just add more milk and cheese.

It takes some time to get it just right. And the results are worth the time.

But sometimes I just don’t have the time…or the energy….or the ingredients….

In that sort of emergency situation,  I confess:  I will resort to Kraft Mac ‘n’ Cheese.

KraftI was introduced to Kraft in college, where it turned out to be a delicious way of soaking up all the beer and cocktails from a night of partying (ah, the resilience of youth!)

But even though those days of yore and cocktails are long past…still, whenever I’m feeling maybe a little sick, or really tired, and I want something satisfying to eat but I don’t want to cook – well, it’s just so dang easy to whip up a pot!

Of course, it’s nothing like REAL macaroni and cheese, and it’s frightening to contemplate what makes that cheese powder glow such a neon orange. But it’s incredibly tasty (thanks to the scientists at the Kraft labs ;-p)

broccoli      broccoli mac

And hey, if I add a handful of broccoli florets, it’s practically healthy! 😀

How about you? Do you have a favorite macaroni & cheese recipe?

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5 thoughts on “M is for Macaroni & Cheese

  1. I loved macaroni and cheese as a kid. We weren’t the richest guys on the block so my Mom used to give it to me a lot—in very creative different mixtures and looks. It really filled you up when you are starving boy just in from a basketball practice. Nowadays I have to steer away from this stuff. My waistline is bulging too far over my belt buckle as it is. I will just have to sit and remember the macaroni and cheese of my youth. Gordon.

  2. Yeah, there are low-call versions of mac ‘n’ cheese but they’re usually pretty awful ;-p Mac ‘n’ cheese is definitely a splurge nowadays!

  3. Reblogged this on damiongilmore16 and commented:
    I definitely agree with this opinion. Macaroni is a comfort food and seems to go with almost any meal you can make. Especially at a wedding reception, funeral, and most of all thanksgiving dinner. However, I think it all depends on how people make their macaroni.. Not everyone knows how to get that cheesy rich flavor. But my question is, what ingredients would you suppose go best with macaroni and what meal would it fit best with.

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