Saturday, February 5, 2011

Pioneer Woman's Mac and Cheese

The other night I noticed my big 'o (unopened) hunk of swiss chesse in the fridge wasn't going to make it much longer. I wanted to use it all rather than having to throw it out in a couple days, so what better way to use lots of cheese than Macaroni and CHEESE?? I got out my Pioneer Woman cookbook and used this new recipe.

  • 4 cups dry macaroni
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 heaping tablespoons dry mustard
  • 1 lb cheddar (or other) cheese, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to suit your taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt (or to suit your taste)
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

Start out by cooking the macaroni until it's pretty firm - too firm to eat. In a small bowl, beat the egg. In a large pot, melt the butter and sprinkle in the flour.

Whisk it together over med-low heat and cook for 5 minutes, whisking constantly so it doesn't burn. Pour in the milk. Add the mustard and whisk until smooth.

Cook for 5 minutes or until it gets pretty thick - whisking constantly. Reduce heat to low. Time to temper the egg. Slowly pour about 1/4 cup or so of the sauce into the bowl with the beaten egg, whisking constantly to avoid cooking the egg. Whisk until smooth. If you haven't figured it out by now, you will be doing alot of whisking with this recipe. Maybe even enough to burn off a couple of these delicios calories you're about to consume :)
Pour the egg mixture into the sauce, whisking until smooth. Now add it all but about 1/2 cup of the grated cheese, and stir until melted. Add the seasonings. Taste the sauce and add more salt and seasoned salt as needed. Don't undersalt! I added several more sprinkles of both.
Pour in the cooked, drained macaroni and stir to combine. You can also add some extras to spruce it up a notch if you wish. I added a pint of fresh grape tomatoes and about 1/2 a red bell pepper I had sittin' in the fridge. I have to say, the fresh tomatoes definitely added a nice punch of flavor.
Pour into a large baking dish that's been sprayed with cooking spray...
Top with remaining cheese and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Mmmm, homemeade mac and cheese...doesn't get much better than that!

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