Mac and Cheese, Tweaked

January 27, 2011

I love mac and cheese, but sometimes I like it with a bit of a twist. Here’s my latest version, which I must confess is extra good if you serve it with some meatballs, but excellent by itself. And you will feel virtuous because it has lots of veggies.

2 slices wheat bread

1 cup Parmesan cheese

1 cup fontina cheese

1/2 cup Gorgonzola cheese

1/4 cup cheddar cheese

1/2 lb whole wheat penne

1 1/2 cup frozen peas

2 oz fresh baby spinach

2 cups cooked cauliflower florets

2 tsp butter

2 tsp flour

1 1/2 cups heavy cream


Make the bread into breadcrumbs in the food processor. Add 1/4 cup Parmesan, and 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper. Mix and set aside.

Preheat oven to 400.

Begin cooking pasta, you want it done about the time the sauce below is, so make them simultaneously if you can. Just when it reaches doneness, add the vegetables to the pot and cook until they’re hot and the spinach is wilted (about a minute or two).

Mix cheeses in a bowl. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat and whisk in flour, cooking for about 30 seconds. Whisk in the cream and turn up to high, bringing to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occassionally, for about 1 minute. Add in 1/4 tsp salt and pepper.

Drain pasta and vegetables and place them on top of the cheeses in the bowl. Pour the cream sauce on top. Cover and let it sit for 3 minutes.

Pour into a greased 13×9 baking dish and cover with breadcrumb mix, pressing it down into the pasta. Bake at 400 for 7 minutes until the breadcrumbs are slightly browned.

I loved this. I am generally not a Gorgonzola fan, but the little bit in this recipe gives it a really interesting tang. This was creamy and cheesy but it had enough veggies in it to make it feel like a meal to me. Oh and if you just happen to have a bag of turkey meatballs already made in your freezer, adding one to your plate makes this supreme.



Stovetop Mac and Cheese

September 17, 2009

mac cheeseMy October issue of Everyday Food arrived yesterday and I dove right in. I had to try the Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese. Mac and cheese is always a big hit in this house.

It starts with cooking some onions, creating a roux and then adding milk. This recipe created a very milky sauce – 4 cups of milk to 3/4 lb cheese. I wasn’t happy with this at all. I ended up dumping in some Velveeta I had lying around (necessary for my grandmother’s cheese potatoes recipe which I made a few weeks and Velveeta never dies – seriously I think it would survive a nuclear attack). This helped it a lot. The recipe also calls for some Dijon mustard and Worchestershire.

I made the sauce and went to add it to the pasta and there was WAY too much. I only used half of the cheese sauce (I stuck the rest in the fridge and will use some on cauliflower tonight I think). I did add Velveeta, but I didn’t add that much, so I don’t know why this was so out of whack. I would suggest making it with a lot less milk – possibly just 2 cups.

As for taste — Eh. It was just eh. Personally I think the mac and cheese recipe Martha has in her Cooking School book is the best one there is, so I would stick with that in the future. This was easy to make and it was good, but not the best I’ve ever had.

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Some Tidbits

November 21, 2008

Lots of little things to report in this post.

I Hate Cable

My local stations don’t carry Martha’s show (why? I cry). For a while, I was watching it on Fine Living, but those episodes sometimes didn’t correspond to the schedule on the site. Sometimes they would play old reruns, other times they would play the current show. Too confusing. Then I found the little doo-hickey on Martha’s site that lets you type in your zip code and it will tell you where to find the show. I discovered it is carried by a Canadian station we get (I’m in Buffalo – no snow jokes please- which is on the border) at 1 p.m. Terrific! So I started DVRing it there. Wednesday of this week I was all excited because it was cooking school day. I went to play it at about 1:30 and no Martha! I checked the schedule and it had been pre-empted by something called “The Crown Speech” which was a news special in Canada (I could totally make some crack about this but I am totally not going to since I love my Canadian neighbors). Well, you can’t keep me away from Martha, so I quickly checked the Fine Living listings, but she wasn’t there either! Eek! Disaster!

Back to the online doo-hickey. Turns out Fine Living no longer carries it, but suddenly there is a local channel carrying it at 11 a.m. Which means I missed it for that day! This was a total and complete tragedy! I needed to see this cooking school since it was about Thanksgiving. She had an audience of people who have never cooked Thanksgiving dinner before! I needed to see this!!!  Now I’ll have to just use the recipes in the magazine and check the book for extra tidbits. Martha, you need to have your shows available to download online. There’s no reason not to. If my teen can watch Gossip Girl online, I should be able to watch you.

So now I’ve got the DVR set to tape both the Canadian broadcast and the local one in case this kind of pre-empting happens again (this is known as the belt and suspenders method of viewing).

Mac and Cheese

I was sitting at my son’s hockey practice earlier this week and my daughter asked what was for dinner. I told her (beef potpie) and she asked if we could have homemade mac and cheese with it.  My first reaction was no way – I didn’t have enough cheese or enough time! But when I got home, instead of dumping out a box of it, I first looked at Martha’s recipe in Cooking School. It looked almost as easy as making it from a box so I went for it. I’ve made my own in the past, but have never been happy with it. I especially detest the homemade kind that has egg in it (sorry, Paula Deen!). Martha’s recipe was really easy. You start with some butter and onions and add flour then milk. This really cooked up to a nice thickness and then I added cheese. It was ready within minutes. I skipped the step of putting it in a casserole dish and putting breadcrumbs on top. It tasted great and was simple. A good thing.


On Nov 10, Martha had on Chef Brian Sikora, who made herb crepes. I was going to attempt this recipe, but as I’ve reported in some other posts, I was sick as a dog. I cheated and bought some crepes. It was about $4 for a package of 10. I have attempted crepes in the past and wasn’t happy with how they turned out, so this was a good compromise. I spread some Dijon mustard on them and filled them with ham, asparagus and cheese. I made a cheese sauce to go on top and baked them till the sauce bubbled. They were yummy.

Roasted Cauliflower

I also made the roasted cauliflower from the special holiday issue of Living. No photos here either guys – you cannot believe how sick I’ve been. I can barely make food and type a blog. That’s about all I’ve got energy for. Anyway, Martha said to roast your cauli in the oven with oil, vinegar, capers and seasonings. I skipped the capers and used balsamic vinegar. Usually I like my cauli with butter and cheese, so I was a little leery. This was good though! The cauli turned slightly brown and got a a little crunchy at the ends. The oil and vinegar was tasty. I would definitely make this again.


Yesterday Martha showed us her new Turbo Chef oven which cooked a 12 lb turkey in 42 minutes. OMG. Um, Santa? What a cool thing this is. Although I have to say I do love how the Thanksgiving turkey cooks all day and you smell it and it just builds the anticipation! Anyone know how much these babies cost?

Elsewhere on the Web

Martha Moments has a great blog about Martha’s circular logo, which I’m emulating on this site. He also has a really cool post about making bows from Martha’s magazines.

Mad About Martha is my go-to place to find out how Every Day Food recipes work out. So glad that I don’t have to make the banana oat smoothie myself to know it was not so great.

Living Oprah is finding herself dreaming about Oprah. So far I have not dreamt about Martha, although I do find myself thinking about her through much of the day. How would Martha do this? What would Martha cook for dinner?

Good Things also tried fresh pasta from Martha – not the pici that was such a disaster for me, but from the cooking school book. That’s where I will have to turn next if I want to try this fresh pasta thing again.


And finally – thank you to everyone who is reading and following my journey. I had over 600 hits yesterday. I love hearing from you and knowing you’re checking in on me!

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