Monday, December 3, 2007

but...I don't like macaroni & cheese!

I swear I don't...or didn't until tonight. I have a few so-called "weird" food dislikes (and likes, for that matter :). I don't like most chocolate, I'm sure that my dislike for most condiments has also been mentioned before, but not until today have I mentioned that I really don't like melted cheese. I think its a consistency thing. Before you judge me, let me say also that I am also not a fan of coffee.

Had enough confessions for one day? I'll attempt to get on with it - the point of the story is that I was never one of those people who ran and went crazy over macaroni & cheese. I just thought of it as food from a box and I never understood what people loved about it (especially in college - people went crazy for the stuff!).

This leads us to a few weeks ago. Tim & I were having dinner at a local restaurant with our friends, one of whom suggested we try out a "fancy" macaroni & cheese on the menu. I figured that I would let them eat it, but for some reason, I gave it a quick try. This was no shells & cheese! Maybe I had to give real macaroni & cheese another chance? I mean, what could be so bad, right?

Tonight, I did. What.was.I.waiting.for.

I reviewed several different recipes to figure out the best cheeses to use and the correct proportion of milk to cheese. I ended up tweaking the ratios from a Rachael Ray recipe and using most of the ingredients from this recipe by Ina Garten.
If you want to give it a try, check out those two recipes and then, my notes on the changes that I made:

  • I used an 8x8 pan and used the milk/butter/flour measures provided in the RR recipe.
  • I used a combination of Gruyere (~2 cups), white cheddar (~2 cups) and Parmesan cheeses (handful). I have to say that while it was cheesy, it was not dripping in cheese, so if you prefer a super-cheesy mac & cheese, you might consider adding more.
  • We try to keep it on the lighter side in our house - since this recipe uses so much cheese, I did not use real butter but Smart Balance; (which worked out great); I also used skim milk instead of whole milk and we really did not miss it.
  • The tomatoes and topping in the Ina Garten recipe makes the whole dish - make sure to use real breadcrumbs!
  • I added chopped grilled chicken to the mixture before baking - it was perfect and made the dish even more satisfying.
It was the perfect meal for our first snowy day. Definitely psyched for leftovers (although usually I don't like those either....)


Anonymous said...

Yay! I don't like chocolate or cheese either. But I do have a soft spot for mac & cheese, but only certain types. :)

Elly said...

This looks great! How can anything with gruyere be bad? I like the use of the tomatoes, too. I'll have to give this a try.

Sylvia said...

I must try this recipe, with tomatoes sounds delicious to me.

Deborah said...

I love love love macaroni and cheese, but the one version I had with gruyere turned me off. I think it was because that was the ONLY kind of cheese in the recipe, though.

Anonymous said...

This is funny. I love macaroni and cheese, but like you I dislike most condiments and chocolates. I think ketchup (unless mixed into a meatloaf) is disgusting. I do not like relish but I like pickles - go figure. This macaroni looks interesting - I will have to try.