Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Macaroni and Cheese

This is my second try at macaroni and chesse. I made a slow cooker recipe from Paula Deen in early January and it did not come out how I anticipated. The macaroni was overcooked and the sauce, not really "cheese," was too creamy and saucy for my liking. If you're the "creamy" mac 'n' cheese lover, my advice would be to try this recipe out, but make sure that you undercook the macaroni so that it can continue to cook while it's in the crockpot.

Ever since my crockpot mac 'n' cheese creation, I have been on the path to finding the "perfect" macaroni and cheese recipe. My waistline will not forgive me. I apologize in advanced.

So, today I made another Paula Deen mac 'n' cheese recipe (maybe that's it?!), and I must say that progress has been made. This time it was not too saucy and there was definitely some cheese action going on. The recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of onion, and because I was a bit lazy (and had baby wrapped around my legs), I substituted a few shakes of dry minced onion - oops! Maybe you like onion in your macaroni and cheese? I have found that I do not. This recipe had too much grease in the end (one could see grease oozing above the deliciousness) and therefore, I would use less butter next time around. Thinking about it now, I realize that the onion was to probably absorb some of that butter that my recipe (with dried minced onion) could have used without. We all know Paula loves her some butter, so let's move on. Lastly, I didn't have any tomatoes, so I just did without. A 9x13 pan is way too large, and next time I'll use a small serving dish.

Let me know your thoughts if you decide to have a hankerin' for mac n cheese. Or perhaps you have a stellar recipe I can try?

Tomato Macaroni and Cheese
Paula Deen

4 tablespoons butter, plus more for bakingdish
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
2 tablespoons minced onion
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
3/4 tablespoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2 cups milk
3 cups shredded Cheddar, divided
2 ripe tomatoes, blanched, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch thickslices
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly butter a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish.

Bring 6 cups of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the macaroni and cook until al dente. Drain and set aside.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan, over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring constantly, until tender. Add the flour, salt, dry mustard, and paprika; mix well. Stir in the milk and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add 2 cups of the shredded cheese and stir until melted. Toss in the macaroni and pour into the prepared dish. Cover the macaroni with tomato slices and season salt and pepper, to taste. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes. The last few minutes, top with the remaining cheese and return to the oven until the cheese melts. Serve hot.

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