Tuesday, November 29, 2011

"Untitled" Mac 'n Cheese

This mac and cheese remains untitled at the moment. It can't simply be "mac and cheese"--too much love and cheese went into it. Believe me, this mac deserves its own name.

I came up with this concoction on my own after longing for an easy-but-delicious adult mac 'n cheese. There are so many fancy-pants recipes out there, but many of them require more ingredients and time than I am willing to put into a simple dish. Thus, I improvised using recipes I've read and some hints from my mom's Mac and Cheese recipe.

The combination of Sharp Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Swiss, and Mozzarella cheese made this a stick-to-your-ribs dinner. I made it just for my husband and I, but there is at least enough left over for one or two bowlfuls (depending if someone wants a heaping serving). To make it a little more heartier, I added some diced chicken. And I made myself some broccoli to toss into my own bowl since I have a picky eater on my hands.

Since I was making it from scratch, I eyed the measurements for the ingredients. I ended up with some extra sauce that was not included in the baked dish. You can always save the extra and add it to the leftovers, or just adjust the amount of cheese to milk ratio. 

"Untitled" Mac 'n Cheese

12 oz sharp cheddar cheese
  8 oz monterey jack cheese
  4 oz mozzarella cheese
  2 oz swiss cheese
  2 cups whole milk 
  2 tbsp butter
  2 tbsp flour 

Additional ingredients:
1 to 11/2 cups broccoli florets, boiled or steamed
1 to 2 cups pan-cooked chicken tenders
1 box noodles, boiled

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Shred all of the cheese. If you think you want more, go for it! Adding either the swiss or mozzarella gave the sauce some extra gooeyness. (Just think of the possibilities had I added more!) 
  3. Pour 1 cup of milk into saucepan. Add 2 tablespoons of butter and allow to melt. Add 2 tablespoons of flour* and whisk together. *I'm not sure the flour really did anything. This was something I took from my mom's recipe. Flour is supposed to help create a creamy base I think, but with so much cheese and milk, it didn't seem to matter.
  4. Stir cheese into the milk/butter mix. Do this in handfuls. Let the cheese melt a bit in between handfuls. If need be, use the remaining milk to even out the mixture. You don't want the sauce to be too runny, but you don't want it to be a solid blob of melty cheese either.
  5. Pour your noodles and chicken into a baking dish. My dish was and 8X8 Pyrex. 
  6. Once cheese sauce is at the right consistency to pour, evenly pour it over the noodles and chicken. Stir things up a bit to make sure the sauce oozes in and between the noodles. (At this point, if I were making this just for me, I'd stir in the broccoli too. Instead, I just stirred it into my own bowl.)
  7. Place dish in oven for 20 minutes. 
  8. Remove from oven and enjoy!

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