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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese

This dish is one of my favorites, and many other people as well. I will warn you though, start making this recipe, which takes just as long as the box Mac & Cheese, and your family may revolt at the sight of the box as mine has. 

This recipe, unlike others, uses actual measurements. I know this is odd, but I had to figure out the recipe for a friend of mine because unlike my baked rotini, this is a little more complicated. Please read through this entire recipe before attempting it.

These are the ingredients you will need:
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 2 1/4 Cup milk
  • 1-1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1-1 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2-3/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 2-4 cups TILLAMOOK Monterey Jack cheese
  • 2-4 cups cheddarjack cheese
  • 1 lb Macaroni

The equipment you will need:
  • pot for pasta
  • pan for sauce
  • mixing bowl (I use an 8 quart bowl)\
  • Prepping bowls or dishes

Preparation is KEY to the success of this dish. You will want to have all your ingredients ready to go before you begin. I keep the cheddar jack next to the big mixing bowl since they are both used at the very end. 

The first step of this recipe will depend on whether you have made it before. Trying to cook the pasta and the sauce at the same time can be difficult your first time. If this is the first time you have made this, try making the sauce first, putting it in the mixing bowl, and then boiling the pasta. It is ok if the sauce cools off, the heat from the pasta will heat it back up quickly. But as I have said before, leaving hot pasta in the colander just results in gross pasta, as it keeps cooking while in the colander. However you decide to proceed, here is how my version of this recipe goes.

Your first step is to melt the butter. I prefer medium-high to high heat for this, but again, if this is your first time you may want to start on medium.

These next few pictures are making the roux for the sauce. After the butter is all melted, add the flour.

This is what it will look like. I usually let it cook for about 30 seconds more before I start the next step, but always keep whisking it so it doesn't burn!

Next you will add the milk. . Not all at once though, I add about a third of the milk and mix completely each time. I am not asking you to measure your milk out into thirds, but three steps seems to do the trick for me. It doesn't really matter what milk you use. I use whole when making it for the kids, but fat free when its just for my husband and me

Now that all the milk is in, let it cook a little longer, probably only a minute or so. (This is where I usually turn to stir the pasta and check on it.)

Now add in your spices (salt, paprika and pepper). I don't usually add them all in at once like this, I usually do half of each and mix it then do the rest, but it worked out fine this way too.

WARNING!!! If you were hungry prior to starting this meal, the aroma that comes up from this step is almost unbearable. You are now officially starving. But seriously, it does smell really good.

Now you are going to add in the TILLAMOOK Monterey Jack. I cannot tell you enough NOT to substitute this ingredient. 

Whisk together the cheese until its all melted and smooth. Now pour your sauce into the mixing bowl.

Add your macaroni. My apologies for the foggy picture, the past was still hot and steamy.

You will also add in the cheddarjack cheese during this step. This cheese is mostly to taste. We like it pretty cheesy, so I use 4 cups.

When mixing for the last time, use a rubber spatula, not a wooden spoon. The spoons tend to mash or cut the pasta.  Serve immediately after mixing and expect to never use the boxed kind again. 

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