Thursday, January 13, 2011

Tried & True Recipes (Tag!)

Good Morning everyone! Today I'm doing something a little different. Pammy from Pammy Blogs Beauty created a new tag where people from all over can share their tried & true recipes! I think this a great idea because I am always struggling to find new recipes to make and often get stuck in a rut and make the same things over and over! I'm definitely looking forward to seeing everyone else's recipes and trying them out for myself! :)

So, that being said here is MY favourite recipe that I make all too often (although it is so good that I can't help it!). Originally this recipe came from my boyfriends mother but I tweaked it a little bit to suit our tastes! This is going to be hard to write down because I do it from memory and just sort of dump ingredients in!

By the way, you can make this recipe more health conscious by using low-fat or non-fat milk (and no Half & Half) as well as low fat cheeses and whole wheat pasta! I have done it both ways and the only difference is the texture of the sauce with low fat cheeses isn't quite as smooth - it still tastes amazing! 

PS - My instructions may seem long but I'm just being thorough! It's not actually hard! 

Baked Macaroni & Cheese

This recipe creates a LOT of Mac & Cheese! It fits in a 9x11 pan.

1/2 - 3/4 Bag of Any Pasta (the large bags) I use Rigatoni
1 small White/Yellow Onion (chopped)
2 Tbsp Butter (or Margarine)
1/2 Cup Swiss Cheese (shredded)
1/2 Monterey Jack Cheese (shredded)
1/2 Extra Old Cheddar (shredded)
1 Cup Medium Cheddar or Marble Cheese (cubed or shredded)
1 Small Container of Half & Half (You can omit and just use milk if you want!)
1 Cup Milk
2 Tbsp Flour (Or so - this is just to thicken)
1/4 Tsp Dried Mustard

Honestly, I have changed this recipe so much that it was really hard to find the measurements! A lot of the measurements don't really matter though because they are more for taste than for the cohesion of the recipe! :)

Heat Oven to 350 degrees F. 

What you will need:

1. A Large Pot (the biggest you have!)
2. A Large Pan (the biggest you have!) - enough to hold 3 cups of liquid.
3. A 9x11 Glass Baking Pan (the kind you make brownies in)
4. A Glass (liquid) Measuring Cup
5. A Set of Dry Measuring Cups
6. A Set of Measuring Spoons
7. A Cutting Board - Knife
8. Cheese Shredder
9. Extra Mixing Spoons (plastic works best - wood ones kind of soak up the cheese sauce!)
10. Strainer

Directions: Please read them through before you start! :)

1. Chop onion (whatever size pieces you prefer!). At this point, shred all your cheeses so they are ready for later as well! Heat a large pan (not a pot!) to medium/hot (around 7 if your dial has numbers!). Add your 2 tbsp of Butter or Margarine and melt. Add your onion and cook until translucent - try not to brown them! Depending on the size of your onion, or the amount you decided to use,  you may need to add some more butter. You will be able to tell because you need some extra butter still in the pan after the onions are cooked - so if your onions have completely absorbed the butter add a little more at the end. Next you need to add your 2 Tbsp of flour to create a Rue - this is the base of the sauce. Cook the butter, onion, flour mixture for about a minute - it should look like a paste. 

2. Start a large pot of water on high heat - add some salt and a dash of olive oil so the noodles don't stick together. While the water begins to boil, add your small container of half & half as well as your 1 cup of Milk. You will want your burner to be on medium. Stir and bring back up to a boil so it starts to thicken. If you notice it isn't thickening after one minute of boiling add another tsp of flour and boil for another minute. You just want a thick base. This is also total preference because some people prefer a runny sauce while others prefer a thick sauce so add flour to your preferred thickness! 

3. If your water is boiling, add the pasta and cook according to package instructions. While your pasta is cooking, and if your sauce is to your desired thickness, turn off the heat under your sauce. Add your pepper to taste and your dried mustard powder.Next, take your shredded cheeses and add them one by one. You can cube or shred the cheese it just melts faster if you shred it! Make sure it completely melts into the sauce before you add the next cheese. Keep stirring until all your cheeses have melted! Make sure to taste it at this point to see if it is to your liking! 

TIP: When you melt cheese it loses flavour, so if you want a very cheesy Mac & Cheese, use all Sharp or Old cheddar instead of the medium cheddar!

4. This is where I take the time to adjust the sauce to how I want it to taste. You can add more Swiss or add more mild cheddar it's totally up to you! By the way, the mustard powder may sound strange but it just enhances the taste of cheese, you can't actually taste mustard. So, if you don't have anymore cheese, add a tiny bit more mustard powder to intensify the taste! Next, drain your pasta and add it to your 9x11 pan. Pour your cheese sauce over your pasta and mix it a bit. Extra: I like to add some more shredded cheese on top but it's totally optional!

5. Place in your preheated 350 degree oven uncovered for 20 minutes. Take it out and enjoy!

I hope this recipe works out for you all! It's really hard to mess it up haha (trust me I'm a terrible cook!), as long as you get the "Rue" correct so your sauce thickens you will be good! 

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