Sunday, September 19, 2010

Pioneer Woman's Macaroni and Cheese

There seems to be only 2 sides to thoughts of the Pioneer Woman and her recipes and it's a love/hate kind of thing. I have not made any of her recipes yet, but I have been drooling over this Macaroni and Cheese from my google reader from My Baking Heart, originally taken straight from the pages of The Pioneer Woman Cooks. It turned out perfect, just the way I like my mac'n cheese; creamy but a but chunky.

I made very minor changes to this, and I also put about half away in the freezer, so that we can pull it out later and just bake it up. The skim milk that I used still lead to a great dish, so something to consider if you're trying to cut down calories/fat.

Macaroni and Cheese (from My Baking Heart, originally from The Pioneer Woman Cooks)
4 c dry macaroni
1 egg, beaten
1/4 c butter (1/2 stick or 4 tbsp)
1/4 c all-purpose flour
2-1/2 c whole milk (I used 2 1/4 cups skim milk and 1/4 cup heavy cream)
2 heaping tsp dry mustard (or more to taste)
1 lb cheddar or other desired cheese, grated (I added about 1/4 cup Parmesan for topping at the end)
1/2 tsp salt (or more to taste)
1/2 tsp seasoned salt (or more to taste) (I just used another 1/2 tsp kosher salt and 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper)
1 tsp ground black pepper

Cook the macaroni until very firm. The macaroni should be too firm to eat right out of the pot. (If you’re in a hurry and don’t want to bake the macaroni and cheese, cook it now until it’s done.) Drain.
In a small bowl, beat the egg. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and butter a large oval or rectangular baking dish. In a large pot, melt the butter and sprinkle in the flour. Whisk it together over medium-low heat. Cook for 5 minutes, whisking constantly. Don’t let it burn. Pour in the milk. Add the mustard and whisk until smooth. Cook for 5 minutes or until very thick, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat to low.

To temper the egg, slowly pour 1/4 cup of the sauce into the beaten egg, whisking constantly to avoid cooking the egg. Whisk until smooth. Pour the egg mixture into the sauce, whisking until smooth. Add in all but 1/2 cup of the cheese and stir until melted.

Add the seasonings. Taste the sauce and add more salt and seasoned salt as needed. Do not undersalt or you’ll regret it for the rest of your life! Pour in the cooked, drained macaroni and stir to combine. Serve immediately or pour into the baking dish and top with remaining cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until bubbly and golden on top. Serve to hungry humans.

To freeze, simply follow directions up to baking. Instead of baking, put into individual size containers and wrap for freezing. When you're ready to eat, just thaw and bake!

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