RECIPE: Grown-up mac ‘n’ cheese
This past Saturday Ryan had the brilliant idea for us to jump in the car and drive up to Flagstaff for the day. We had a craving for our very favorite sandwich (we’ll go to great lengths for good food), and what better way to enjoy it than in a park, in beautiful weather, in a town full of interesting people to watch. Ryan brought his homework and I took my Kindle. We sat with the doggies in the park until the clouds started to look ominous.
It turns out, this weekend was move-in weekend on campus! Oh man, that made me not a tiny bit nostalgic. I LOVED college. Every bit of it. Well, minus the part where I had a psychopath roommate. PSYCHO! No seriously, she was insane. She purposely locked me out of our room more than once when I went to a shower (forcing me to visit the RA in my robe to get a key), she would STARE at me during commercials on TV (a TV, by the way, I was not allowed to watch) and when I was outside in the quad playing sand volleyball she would stand at our window for hours just watching us. Thank goodness my good friend AfricanKelli marched down to the RA’s room and demanded I be moved to a different room. Where I met my life-long friend Jill, best roommate a girl could have. Wanna see what my side of the dorm room looked like?
Cool, huh? My dad built that tall bed so I could have a ‘kitchen’ under it. Man, the things kids in college eat. I had a lot of dried ‘meals’ in that crate there. Stuff I could add water to and then microwave. Yuck.
When Jill and I moved into an apartment the next year, our culinary skills improved. We had a stove! So that meant we could really cook! Ok, who am I kidding? Our ‘cooking’ involved a lot of alcohol poured into tiny glasses, if you know what I mean. Shameful. Btw, wanna see a picture of me and Elizabeth in college?
Seriously! Who let me go OUT like that?! Yes, I know it was Halloween and I was a ‘genie’ but holy crap. And going through pictures for this post, it appears I didn’t just use Halloween as an excuse to dress like an idiot. (and yes, that is Africankelli dressed as Monica Lewinsky) OK, here’s a more appropriate one of our group of girls:
Anywho… this is a food blog not an Amanda-reminiscing-about-college blog. Being in Flagstaff last week, watching all the dads lug all their little girls’ Target-bought dorm accessories into their new homes made me think about just how much I’ve changed since then. One of the biggest changes has been my cooking skills. Where in college my fanciest meal was a taco salad bar we’d put together to entice boys to come over, now I use strange and interesting foods with weird names like “quinoa” and “prosciutto” on a regular basis.
Of course, in college a favorite meal was mac n cheese, right? And if you wanted to fancy it up you added chicken from a can to it. Well, these days we do it a bit fancier in our house (although I’d be lying if I said I didn’t EVER just crave plain ole Craft mac n cheese). This recipe below gets made a lot in my house and it’s delicious. It’s from a book called Barron’s The Joy of Healthy Pasta and it’s delicious.
Now excuse me… I’ve fallen into the black hole of looking at pictures from college, so I’m gonna get back to that. And seriously, who let me out of the house like that? Geesh.
|Grown-up Mac ‘n’ Cheese|
- 2 C. skim milk
- ½ tsp hot sauce
- 3 Tb. all-purpose flour
- 2 C. (8 oz) grated low-fat cheddar cheese, separated
- ¼ C. grated Parmesan
- ½ C. nonfat sour cream
- 1 C. sliced mushrooms
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ C. finely chopped chives
- ¼ tsp ground fresh nutmeg
- 2 C. dried pasta such as elbow macaroni, cooked
- ½ C. fresh bread crumbs
- Put the milk, hot sauce, and flour in a medium saucepan and, over medium heat, whisk constantly to combine the ingredients. Whisk and cook until the sauce is thick enough to coat a spoon, about 5 minutes.
- Add 1 ½ cups of the cheddar cheese, Parmesan, sour cream, mushrooms, garlic, chives and nutmeg to the sauce. Stir with a rubber spatula until the cheeses melt.
- Add the cooked and drained pasta, fold with a rubber spatula and transfer to a lightly sprayed 9×13” baking dish
- Combine the bread crumbs with the remaining cheddar cheese and set aside.
- Bake uncovered in a preheated 375 degree oven for 25 minutes. Add the bread crumb and cheese mixture to the top and cook 15 minutes longer to brown the top.
- Remove dish from the oven and let stand for several minutes before serving.