Mac and Cheese with Shallot Breadcrumb Topping

Mac-n-cheese, these three words make my two children so happy, especially when it comes from a box with powdered cheese.  I have to admit, that powdered cheese is not half bad, but it never compares to homemade mac-n-cheese for me…which I hope my children will say someday as well.

When I was young, I lived for Kraft Macaroni and Cheese – there was nothing better.  When I would visit my grandmother at the beach, she would let us have it for lunch every day – it was like a dream come true.  Since I rarely shop anywhere besides Trader Joes and Whole Foods, my kids have grown up with Annie’s Macaroni and Cheese.  A few years ago when we were up at Whistler, they asked for Mac-n-cheese for dinner – so I went to the store, and they only had Kraft.  I actually didn’t think they would like it – boy was I wrong, they were in love – they loved it so much they asked if I could buy some and bring it home with us.  I told them that I didn’t think the border police would allow it – and that it was just something that would have to enjoy when in Canada.  Oh the things we tell our children…

I am always trying to get them to see the light though – and will try any Mac-n-Cheese recipe I see, just to get them to branch out a bit – and eat some real cheese.  I found this recipe in Bon Appetit – and it was a huge hit – even the shallot topping which I was sure my younger daughter would protest.  She said that was her favorite part.  I adapted it heavily below to fit my kids style, but it was still made from real cheese.  This is definitely a keeper.

Ingredients

Breadcrumb topping:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs

Mac and cheese:

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 3 cups (packed) coarsely grated extrasharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 3 cups (packed) coarsely grated Fontina cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese, divided
  • 8 cups cooked pasta
  • Chopped fresh Italian parsley (optional)

Preparation

For breadcrumb topping:
Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots; sauté 5 minutes. Mix in breadcrumbs. Cool.

For mac and cheese:
Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add flour; stir 1 minute (do not brown). Gradually whisk in milk and bring to simmer. Cook until sauce thickens, 4 to 5 minutes. Whisk 2 cups cheddar, 2 cups Fontina, and 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano into sauce. Season generously with salt and pepper. Stir in pasta; remove from heat. Mix 1 cup cheddar, 1 cup Fontina, and 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano in small bowl. Layer half of pasta mixture, then cheese mixture in baking dish; repeat. Sprinkle with breadcrumb topping. Cover with foil. Bake 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until topping is golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Top with chopped parsley(optional).

For a printer-frieldn version of this recipe, please click here:  Mac and Cheese with Shallot Breadcrumb Topping

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Advertisements

Bacon, Ranch, and Chicken Mac and Cheese

 

I hope that this is the first of many Mac-n-Cheese recipes on this blog.  I have certainly made my share over the years.  I am always looking for new unique Mac-n-Cheese recipes though – ones that are not just noodles and cheddar cheese.  I remember about a year ago I made a recipe for 4 kids that had 4 different types of cheese and bacon – and one of the kids (not one of mine) told me that it was the best Mac-n-Cheese he had ever had.  Now, I guess I can’t take that as a complete compliment, since my competition was probably just Annie’s – but still, it felt good. 

I saw this recipe in Cooking Light – and because I am not a fan of ranch dressing, it didn’t hit me as something I really longed to make.  My older daughter though likes to read over my shoulder – and there was another recipe right next to it that I was enthralled in…so she asked me when I was going to make the Mac-n-Cheese.  I had her look at the ingredients – and even though she is also not a huge ranch dressing fan, she wanted to try it.  I really think the bacon was clouding her judgement.  I can’t say this was my favorite recipe – but if you are looking for a different kind of Mac-n-Cheese – and you DO love ranch dressing – this is the ideal recipe for you.

Ingredients

  • 8  ounces  uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 1  slice applewood-smoked bacon
  • 8  ounces  skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1  tablespoon  butter
  • 1  tablespoon  all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2  cups  fat-free milk
  • 1/3  cup  condensed 45% reduced-sodium 98% fat-free cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
  • 3/4  cup  (3 ounces) shredded six-cheese Italian blend (such as Sargento)
  • 1/2  teaspoon  onion powder
  • 1/2  teaspoon  garlic powder
  • 1/2  teaspoon  chopped fresh dill
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2  cup  (2 ounces) shredded colby-Jack cheese

Preparation

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.

Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving drippings in pan. Finely chop bacon; set aside. Increase heat to medium-high. Add chicken to drippings in pan; sauté 6 minutes or until done.

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat; sprinkle flour evenly into pan. Cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk. Combine milk and soup, stirring with a whisk; gradually add milk mixture to saucepan, stirring with a whisk. Bring to a boil; cook 2 minutes or until thick. Remove from heat; let stand 4 minutes or until sauce cools to 155°. Add Italian cheese blend, onion powder, garlic powder, dill, and salt, stirring until cheese melts. Stir in pasta and chicken.

Preheat broiler.

Spoon mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle evenly with reserved bacon and colby-Jack cheese. Broil 3 minutes or until cheese melts.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, click here:  Bacon, Ranch, and Chicken Mac and Cheese

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine