Comfort Food: Mac & Cheese

 Sometimes the best things in life are the simplest things… like the perfect bowl of mac and cheese.  Who knew that pasta and cheese could be the most satisfying dish ever at times.  

alright, i am a sucker for anything carb related covered in cheese.

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Although, I will admit – mac and cheese can be the most unsatisfying dish if made wrong. {and yes, I have certainly had a few kitchen woes myself with experimenting with mac and cheese.}  Yes, there are plenty of variations, and plenty of tasty recipes out there, but when you stumble upon mac and cheese that is dried out and not gooey… “Please Return to Sender”.  What a disappointment.  

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I have been on the hunt for the perfect mac and cheese recipe.  One that is creamy, but not too liquid-y.  One that is cheesy, but not too bite-y.  One with the perfect ratio of pasta vs. cheese.  Maybe a little crunch on top?  And how about the faintest hint of garlic?  This one comes awfully close… 

Give it a try – and I promise you will be saying “mmmmmmmm.”

i love comfort food on the weekend – the only time I allow myself to indulge in dishes like this. i.e. Sundays.  

you have to over-indulge every once and a while, and with this “lightened-up” version, i used skim milk instead of heavy cream… which worked out well with keeping the cheese sauce nice and gooey!

xoxo, Jenn

MAC & CHEESE

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looking for a few Christmas entertaining side dishes?  this would be the perfect addition to your holiday meal!  and talk about a crowd pleaser…!

Looking for something featured in this post?  Here are a few of my favorite kitchen products:

 

Entertaining this holiday?  Here are a few of my holiday favorites: 

 
Mac & Cheese
Serves 6
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 7 Tbl unsalted butter, divided
  2. 1 Clove Garlic, minced
  3. 1 Cup Panko Cumbs
  4. 1/2 Cup Plain Bread Crumbs
  5. Kosher salt and pepper
  6. 1 lb. Pasta (I chose elbows. Pick something that can hold cheese - i.e. not penne or spaghetti. Something with a curl)
  7. 1/4 Cup all-purpose flour
  8. 3 Cups Skim Milk
  9. 2 Cups Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  10. 1 1/2 Cups Grated Mozzarella
  11. 1 Big Scoop Softened Low-fat Cream Cheese
  12. 1/2 tsp Dry Mustard
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350*F. With butter or cooking spray, grease baking dish. Set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, melt 3 Tbl. butter over medium-low heat. Add garlic and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is tender. Add panko and bread crumbs and stir until coated with butter. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Bring a large stock pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package but only until almost al dente. (Please remember that this dish will go in the oven and continue to cook - so don't over cook the pasta in the stock pot.) Drain well and set aside.
  4. In the large stock pot, melt remaining 4 Tbl. butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour until combined. Gradually whisk in skim milk, raising the heat to medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, whisking frequently. Remove from heat, stir in all three cheeses, and dry mustard. Season with salt and pepper. (If sauce seems too thick, add another splash of skim milk.)
  5. Fold in pasta. Pour into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with buttered crumbs.
  6. Baking until crumbs are brown and sauce is bubbling - roughly 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool 5 minutes before serving. Serve hot.
Notes
  1. Looking for some added flavor? How about adding in chopped broccoli? Bacon? Ham? Peas? Maybe be daring and toss in some crumbled blue cheese! Anything goes!
a toast to the good life http://atoasttothegoodlife.com/

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