Classic Comfort

After a quick vacation followed by an unfortunate cold I am back to writing. I discovered that it’s difficult to talk about food when your appetite is lacking. However, as I expected, the chicken noodle soup that my sister wrote about was a wonderful remedy. With the close to 0°F weather we had, the entire family was happy to enjoy it, along with a few additional soccer players.

Today though, I was happy to get back to comfort food. One of my favorites is macaroni and cheese, and my younger son requested that it be on the menu this week. It’s so easy to prepare, I am consistently amazed when I hear that people still make the boxed variety.

I have a few homemade versions of this classic; many of them are variations of this classic recipe from my Aunt Sally. I had a number of things to take care of this evening, so it is worth mentioning that the only active time required is mixing the other ingredients while the pasta boils and the oven preheats. As soon as your pasta is done, stir it in, pour it into a prepared 9×13″ pan, top with panko, and bake.

And yes, I still serve it with hot dogs, but my preference is all-beef organic.

Sally’s Mac & Cheese

Entrées, Pastas, Tested and Approved!

Cook 30-40 minutes ∙ Makes 8-10 servings ∙ Difficulty Easy

INGREDIENTS

  • 2-3 eggs beaten, large
  • 24 ounces cottage cheese
  • 16 ounces sour cream
  • 4 cups cheddar, shredded
  • 4 cups macaroni, cook as directed in salted water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

Mix the ingredients in order and salt and pepper to taste. Optionally, top with panko or crushed saltines.

Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes.

NOTES

Can be mixed in an oven proof bowl and baked directly or for more crispness on the top, bake in a 9 x 13 pan. Also doubles well for large groups.

I have played with this recipe successfully including substituting Picolini for the elbows, dropping the cottage cheese down to 16 oz. and replacing with feta, and replacing half the cheddar with other cheeses such as smoked Gouda.

To make this as Bacon Mac & Cheese, use 3 eggs, and reduce cheddar to ~1 cup, and add 1 block of shredded sharp white cheddar, 1 block of shredded Boar’s Head 3-pepper co-jack, and ~1 pound chopped cooked bacon.



Other suggestions:

Mushroom Fontina Mac: Sauté 8 ounces cremini mushrooms with 2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme and change cheddar to 3 c. fontina and 1 c. gruyere; stir all ingredients together.

Jalapeño Mac: Sauté 2 seeded diced jalapeño with 4 sliced green onions and reduce cheddar to 1 c. and add 3 c. Monterey Jack (optional, stir in 2 c. fresh or frozen corn kernels); stir all ingredients together.

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