1.28.2011

a kitchen failure

I never ate macaroni and cheese when I was growing up. My father didn't like it so my mother never made it. So, I don't have any history with cooking it. Like some of those things you learned to make when you were young and you don't need a recipe anymore. I could make pizza dough or my sponge cake (for strawberry shortcake) in my sleep :)

I found a recipe for Horn and Hardart's famous macaroni and cheese in a cookbook - the one they served for years and years and it has chunks of tomato in it. That's how my husband ate it when he was a kid. So, I bought all the ingredients and set out to make it one night last week. I was suspicious almost right away because the base sauce just wasn't thickening up. But, I went ahead anyway, because I'm the type of cook who has to follow the recipe the first time. I'll fool around with it later if I think it needs help but I like to try it the way it was originally intended to be. So, I put it in the oven and started on the salad. Checked on it periodically and it still wasn't thickening up. I think I cooked it an extra half hour and that finally did the trick. But the cheese had "broken" by that point and it was inedible—and not too attractive-looking either.

Maybe the cookbook authors never tested the recipe, or Horn and Hardart's purposely left something out when they supplied it, or I did something wrong. I'm sure there wasn't enough flour and butter for the amount of milk. Not that I'm going to try making it again any time soon—at least not this version.

So, do any of you make macaroni and cheese and want to share your recipe and tips? And yes, for you smart alecks, I could just open a box of Krafts. But that screaming yellow color - yikes! What's in there anyway?

12 comments:

a.teare said...

I make mac and cheese in the crock pot and it is perfect every time! And with none of that artificial cheese or coloring like Krafts.

2 cups dried elbow Macaroni
1 cup milk or cream or half and half
about 2 cups shredded cheese (We use a mixture of cheddar and jack)
salt and pepper to taste.

You put it all in the crock pot and stir it every now and then. Cooks on high in about 2 hours.

I watch it as it is cooking and add more milk or cheese as needed. Some times I throw in some cut ham or tomatoes.

I hope you enjoy this recipe!

Shoshonee said...

I've always liked the Betty Crocker recipe for Mac n cheese. Just make a roux with flower and butter add some milk and cheddar cheese to cooked macaroni and bake. One of my secrets is to use some muenster cheese as well. So yummy!

DianeM said...

The recipe from "The Joy of Cooking" is a nice traditional mac-n-cheese...no roux. And my friend swears by Cracker Barrel Sharp Cheddar for her recipe. Enjoy :)
Smiles, dianeM

Puanani said...

We are a homemade Mac & Cheese family. This is what I do:

After you drain the pasta, use the same pot

Add half a stick of butter(or so)
Saute with herbs and spices, we use garlic powder, kosher salt, pepper and sage, if I have it. Some cayenne too
I add a tablespoon of flour and toast that with the spices
Add a bit of milk(1.5 cups or so) this is usually enough for a bag of pasta, but add more if too thick
Then I add as many cheeses as I have in the fridge, any kind. Really. Sometimes I grate, sometimes I cut, depending on how lazy I am.
I add a touch of Worcheshire(sp) sauce. Adds depth.
And bubble the sauce until thick-ish.
At this point I either mix right in the pot with the pasta or in a casserole dish.
Pot=less dishes
Casserole=more crispy cheese topping
Once in the dish of choice, I top with more cheese, panko or bread crumbs and bake until bubbly, 45 minutes or so

Call me if you need help. Xoxo

I add broccoli at the end of the pasta boil, but the young ones like roasted corn in it as well. Lately, I let the Mac & Cheese alone and make them eat the veggies on the side. After all...it is Mac & Cheese.

janet said...

Well, I guess I'll be trying to make it again. And, thanks to all your recipes and ideas, I'm expecting a better outcome this time around :)

Melody said...

Hi Janet....have ya tried the Stouffer's frozen Mac and Cheese?
LOL....it's a shortcut, but not bad....plus I don't ever seem to have enough time to make home made.

janet said...

Melody, I have not. But Stouffer's things are usually pretty good for processed/frozen foods. I like their french bread pizzas for a quick lunch.

kath said...

My mother-in-law raised 8 kids and always made quick & easy food. Her recipe for mac & cheese was very simple:
1 lb. elbow macaroni
1 lb. Velveeta, cut into pieces
2 cups milk
onion powder to taste
1/2 stick of butter
bread crumbs
Cook macaroni & drain. In a saucepan, mix Velveeta into milk and cook over low flame until melted & mixed, stirring frequently. Add onion powder to taste, a little at a time.
Pour cheese mix over macaroni, top with breadcrumbs. Put dabs of butter on top of breadcrumbs. Bake 30 minutes in a 350° oven.
I usually cover with foil for the first 20 minutes and then leave uncovered for the last 10 so the breadcrumbs can toast a little.

Summer said...

I really do think that the best known cheese to the macaroni and cheese recipe is cooper sharp ....yes it is my favorite as well ....lots of fresh pressed garlic too ....remember this dish is about comfort and creamy not anything else ....it also pays to use cream or whole milk or even evaporated milk ....and don't forget the butter....i just may make this dish tommorrow night !

AnnaPK said...

I just refound your site, and love your stitch directions. Thank you!

I made this kind of mac an cheese this week. Sounds like your rue (flour and butter) didn't work right. Maybe you didnt cook those together long enough? Anyway, I use the recipe from Cook's Country and it is fantastic! Just google Cook's Country and you should be able to find it.

Thanks for the stitch help!

Yogi said...

very interesting.
1) real Mac'n Cheese has no tomatoes or any other ingredients other, than the cheese sauce and the macaroni...

If you're adding other things, it ain't Mac'n cheese anymore.

janet said...

Well, my mother-in-law always made it with tomatoes but she was Italian so that might explain it ;)