Tag Archives: baked mac and cheese

Mac and Cheez-It

30 Oct

Yesterday, Zak and I had a friend over so they could brew some beer.  Late in the afternoon, everyone was getting hungry and I was running through a list of things I could make.  Everyone – including myself – was excited and intrigued by the prospect of some macaroni and cheese topped with crumbled Cheez-Its.

Cheez-Its have long been a favorite snack in my family.  My little brother has always loved them, and I’ve become increasingly obsessed as I get older.  They’re one of my go-to vending machine items when I forget to pack some as a snack at school.  I figured the deliciousness of a macaroni and cheese could only be increased by crumbling some cheesy little morsels of goodness on top of it.

I used a mixture of all the cheeses I happened to have on hand in this creamy and delicious version of macaroni and cheese.  The ricotta mellowed out the slight spice from the pepper jack.  The Parmesan added a hint of sharpness that contrasted really well with the colby-jack.  Topped with the sharp, pungent flavor of the cheddar Cheez-Its, this was a really lovely macaroni and cheese that we all enjoyed.

Mac and Cheez-It

1 box rigatoni, cooked according to package instructions and drained

1/2 cup pepper jack cheese, shredded

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

3/4 cup colby jack cheese, shredded

1/4 cup ricotta cheese

3 tbs. butter

2 tbs. whole wheat flour

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup Cheez-Its, crushed

Freshly cracked black pepper

Nonstick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350º.

Melt butter over medium-low heat in a large sauté pan.  Slowly whisk in the flour until a paste forms, adding over the course of 3-5 minutes.  Season liberally with black pepper.  Continuously whisking, add the milk.  Once smooth and creamy, add the cheese in small batches while whisking.

Add the noodles and toss to coat with the cheese sauce.

Transfer to a casserole dish.  Top evenly with the crushed Cheez-Its.  Spray with  nonstick spray and transfer to the oven.  Bake 20-25 minutes until Cheez-Its are golden brown.

Chipotle and Tomato Macaroni and Cheese

11 May

Something about studying for exams makes my mind wander.  I had some perfectly good leftover mujaddara with spiced yogurt leftover from last night that I intended to eat for lunch, but while trying to teach myself everything there is to know about collateral estoppel in a day, I couldn’t stop thinking about how very, very much I wanted something spicy.  And smoke-y.  And cheese-y.  But not too time consuming, because it turns out that I also need to teach myself about personal jurisdiction and the Erie Doctrine.

This dish fit the bill for all of that and more.  The freshness of the tomatoes and cilantro and creaminess of the cheese cheese balanced well against the heat of the chipotle.  This dish was a lovely, bright shade of orange and had an intoxicating, spicy aroma I could not get enough of.

Chipotle and Tomato Macaroni and Cheese

1 cup whole wheat elbow noodles, cooked al dente according to package instructions

1 1/2 tbs. unsalted butter

1/4 cup tomato, diced

1 chipotle in adobo, seeds removed, minced

1 tbs. tomato paste

1 1/2 tbs. all-natural, whole wheat flour

3 tbs. plain Greek yogurt

1/2 cup very hot water

1/2 cup queso fresco, crumbled

1/4 cup Mexican blend shredded cheese

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

Freshly cracked black pepper

1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs (I used French bread)

Non-stick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add tomatoes, chipotles, and tomato paste and sauté until tomatoes are slightly tender and most moisture has evaporated, 1-2 minutes.  Add flour and whisk to combine with butter and coat tomatoes.

Combine plain Greek yogurt and very hot water.

While whisking, combine yogurt/water mixture with flour-coated vegetables, stirring until thickened.  Add queso fresco and shredded cheese in small batches and whisk until mostly smooth.  Don’t worry if there are some clumps of queso fresco.  Whisk in most of cilantro, reserving a few tbs. for garnish.

Add noodles and toss to coat with sauce.  Transfer to an oven safe bowl and top with bread crumbs.  Spray with non-stick spray and bake 20 minutes until golden brown and bubbling.

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