Posts Tagged ‘mac and cheese’

Mac ‘n Pimento Cheese

The secret ingredient!

The secret ingredient!

Spoilers: this recipe contains a secret ingredient. Of course, trained chef’s are reluctant to tell their secrets, but I’m not a chef. I’m just a decent cook. Says so on my business card. But this dish has received too many great comments from taste-testers to keep the recipe under wraps. It’s easy to assemble, cooks in the slow-cooker so you don’t have to watch it much, and is a great twist on what might be the world’s most popular comfort food.

Did I sell you on it?

I hope so.

Next time you need something new for a potluck, try this version of Mac ‘n Pimento Cheese!

Equipment

  • A 4.5 quart crock pot, or the equivalent-sized oven-safe casserole dish or pot.

Ingredients

  • 16 oz. cooked macaroni (I use spirals, but the traditional elbow style will be fine)
    • Helpful hint: cook the macaroni the day before and keep refrigerated until needed. Saves time the next day when you are worried about the guests coming early. And they always come early.
  • 10 oz. Colby Jack cheese, shredded
  • 12 oz. Pimento Cheese
    • Spoiler: I use Palmetto Cheese with Jalapeno as my secret ingredient. This South Carolina low country specialty food is thankfully available in most higher quality grocery stores, or online here.
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (any version that works for you. Except chocolate milk. That would be a bad choice.)
  • 12 oz. Evaporated Milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced

Directions

I use a “layer” approach to building this mac ‘n cheese.

  • Place enough cooked macaroni in the bottom of the crock pot to cover the bottom.
  • Sprinkle a handful of shredded Colby Jack cheese on top of the cooked macaroni.
  • Using a small spoon, or a melon baller, place 4 – 5 small scoops of pimento cheese evenly on top of the Colby Jack cheese. I do four corners and a center.
    • Helpful hint: use the spoon to spread the pimento cheese into a thin layer across the entire pot.
  • Repeat the layering of macaroni, Colby Jack cheese, and pimento cheese. Make the top layer one of the cheeses.
  • In a separate bowl, mix the remaining ingredients.
  • Pour the liquid mixture on top of the macaroni and cheese. Try to drizzle it around the entire top surface so liquid will seep down throughout the crock pot.
  • Cover and cook on low heat for 3 hours. If using the oven, bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
  • Now check the inside of the crock pot wall. Using a plastic spatula, scrape the macaroni away to keep the cheese from forming a burnt crust.
  • If your mac ‘n cheese has thickened to the point a large spoonful will maintain its shape, you are done!
    • If still soggy, then cover and continue to cook for 30 additional minutes.
    • Check again. The dish should be done.
      • The longest I have let this cook is 4 hours, but I ended up with a thick inedible crust which wasted probably three servings.

This dish has won rave reviews from both office-mates and church ladies. I don’t which group has the more discriminating palate, but on both occasions I returned home with zero leftovers.

Enjoy!

 

 

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Corkscrew Mac & Cheese

Corkscrew Mac & Cheese

Corkscrew Mac & Cheese

A twist (pun intended) on a classic recipe, this version of Mac & Cheese uses corkscrew macaroni instead of the regular elbow variety.  The ridges and extra tubing of the macaroni are just perfect for catching all the gooey cheese, making each spoonful warm, creamy and full of savory flavor. It doesn’t take long to prep, and using the quantities below, will make almost three quarts.

This recipe also has a vegan counterpart, which in our family is a consideration. And it can be made while this version is in the oven!

And while we’re talking about corkscrews, don’t forget the wine. A nice table red would pair nicely with either and/or both of the dishes!

Ingredients

16 oz corkscrew macaroni

8 oz cheddar cheese

8 oz colbyjack cheese

2 tablespoons oregano

1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

10 oz (1 small can) evaporated milk

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (gas mark 4 for those across the pond.)

Cook the corkscrew macaroni according to the directions on the box. A few helpful hints: add a few dashes of salt to the water, and drip a few drops of olive oil into the water. The salt will add a bit of flavor and help soften the noodles; the olive oil will break the surface tension of the water which in turn will help keep the foaming down.

As the macaroni is cooking, shred the cheddar and colbyjack cheese. Spread the cheese out on a paper towel or cutting board and then season with the oregano, black pepper, and garlic powder.

Once the macaroni is fully cooked, drain using a colander.

Using a 3 quart casserole dish, layer the ingredients thusly: noodles, cheese, noodles, cheese, noodles, and lastly – cheese. Now pour the evaporated milk over the top of the mac n cheese. No need to mix it in, the liquid will seep into the nooks and crannies all on its own.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.

While you wait, stir-fry some broccoli, steam some collards, or send out for pizza.

Just kidding on that last one.

Happy eating!