Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Macaroni and cheese-the surprise side recipe for Thanksgiving

Bailey Woodean
I have been a freelance writer for more than 4 years, a mom for more than 2 years, and a wife for just under a year. I am currently a student in a cooking and catering program with the intention of expanding my knowledge of the culinary business. I then plan to take this knowledge to properly write about and critique restaurants and food. Writing to you from Niagara Falls, NY, thanks for joining me on the ride!
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Growing up in New York we never had macaroni and cheese as a side dish at our Thanksgiving dinner table. It wasn’t until I got older that I even realized that this was an option! As it turns out, many families (especially in the southern states) make a delicious (often baked) macaroni and cheese dish as an optional side for Thanksgiving dinner. After learning this, I knew I had to share it with the world (or at least everyone that was as oblivious as I was).

Creamy Homemade Baked Mac and Cheese

Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese

  • 1 lb. dried elbow pasta
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 1/2 cups half and half
  • 4 cups grated medium sharp cheddar cheese – divided (measured after grating)
  • 2 cups grated Gruyere cheese – divided (measured after grating)
  • 1/2 Tbsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and grease a 3 qt baking dish (9×13″).  Set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  When boiling, add dried pasta and cook 1 minute less than the package directs for al dente.  Drain and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil to keep from sticking.
  3. While water is coming up to a boil, grate cheeses and toss together to mix, then divide into three piles.  Approximately 3 cups for the sauce, 1 1/2 cups for the inner layer, and 1 1/2 cups for the topping.
  4. Melt butter in a large saucepan over MEDIUM heat.  Sprinkle in flour and whisk to combine.  The mixture will look like very wet sand.  Cook for approximately 1 minute, whisking often.  Slowly pour in about 2 cups or so of the milk/half and half, while whisking constantly, until smooth.  Slowly pour in the remaining milk/half and half, while whisking constantly, until combined and smooth.
  5. Continue to heat over MEDIUM heat, whisking very often, until thickened to a very thick consistency.  It should almost be the consistency of a semi thinned out condensed soup.
  6. Remove from the heat and stir in spices and 1 1/2 cups of the cheeses, stirring to melt and combine.  Stir in another 1 1/2 cups of cheese, and stir until completely melted and smooth.
  7. In a large mixing bowl, combine drained pasta with cheese sauce, stirring to combine fully.  Pour half of the pasta mixture into the prepared baking dish.  Top with 1 1/2 cups of grated cheeses, then top that with the remaining pasta mixture.
  8. Sprinkle the top with the last 1 1/2 cups of cheese and bake for 15 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and lightly golden brown.
Macaroni and cheese-the surprise side recipe for Thanksgiving

Truffle Mac n Cheese (individual ramekin style)

  • Cooking spray
  • 8 oz elbow macaroni
  • 3 teaspoons truffle oil, divided
  • 8 oz sliced baby portobello
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 (15-oz) jar mushroom Alfredo sauce
  • 2 cups shredded Italian-blend cheese, divided
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
Macaroni and cheese-the surprise side recipe for Thanksgiving
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Bring water to boil for pasta. Coat inside of 8 (8-oz) ramekins with spray; place ramekins on baking sheet for ease in handling. Cook pasta following package instructions. Drain pasta; transfer to a large bowl and toss with 1 teaspoon truffle oil.
  1. Preheat a large, nonstick sauté pan on medium 1–2 minutes. Place 1 teaspoon truffle oil, mushrooms, and thyme in a pan; cook 4–5 minutes or until mushrooms are golden.
  2. Stir in Alfredo sauce; simmer 3–4 minutes to blend flavors. Combine cheeses. Remove pan from heat. Stir in 3 cups of cheese until melted and smooth.
  3. Stir mushroom mixture into pasta until blended. Spoon mixture into ramekins (about 1 cup each). Top with remaining 1 cup cheese; bake 12–14 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly. Drizzle remaining 1 teaspoon oil over top; serve.

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