Not quite 50 shades of Mac and Cheese but close

Ohhh, it’s really getting chilly – who am I kidding. Baby, it’s cold outside. Nothing warms your heart and soul faster than comfort food. This week it’s about everyone’s favorite Mac and Cheese (or cheese and Macaroni). This is truly one of the fastest and easiest things to make. The key…really good quality cheese. For some of these recipes, it’s something that is just a little unexpected and yet, that’s what will give it the yummy factor.

Ok, so I’m going back to the fridge and scoop out some from last night. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

What to pair this with:

Serve a Cabernet or Zinfandel with the dish AND (this is key), add a good amount of Parmesan Reggiano either into the cheese or shave it on top of the dish. Also add a few twists of fresh cracked pepper.

Cabernet & Zinfandel love cheddar but they hit their zenith with Parmesan Reggiano. And the pepper notes will tie it all together.

Mac and Cheese Muffins Mac-and-Cheese-Muffins_white-HipFoodieMom.com_

Kids and adults will love these hand-held Mac and Cheese Muffins made with Wisconsin cheddar and crispy bacon.

Ingredients

  • 50 Ritz crackers, pulsed finely in food processor
  • 2 1/2 cups (10 ounces) Wisconsin cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 8 ounces elbow pasta
  • 3 ounces Rondelé Garlic & Herbs spreadable cheese
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 strips baconcooked to crispy and pulsed in food processor
  • 1/3 cup chives, finely diced

Directions

First, prepare cracker crust. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter muffin tin and set aside.

In large bowl, combine crushed Ritz crackers, 1 cup shredded cheddar and melted butter, mixing well until mixture sticks together and resembles wet sand. Fill muffin cups with mixture, and using your fingers, press crust firmly into bottoms and halfway up sides of each muffin cup.

Cook pasta in large pot of salted, boiling water. Cook pasta for about 6 minutes (or until al dente), rinse and pour into large bowl. Immediately add Rondelé cheese, remaining 1 cup shredded cheddar and butter. Mix well until thoroughly coated.

In separate medium-sized bowl, combine eggs, milk, sour cream and salt, and mix well. Pour egg mixture into macaroni, mixing until everything is thoroughly combined. Add in bacon bits and chives and mix well.

Using cookie scoop or small spoon, fill each muffin cup with 2-3 tablespoons of macaroni mixture. Top each muffin cup with additional cheddar and chives. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly golden on top. Let cool for at least 10-15 minutes before removing from muffin pan. Use fork or butter knife to gently loosen outer edges of each mac and cheese muffin and gently remove from muffin pan.

Bacon Mac & Cheese Egg RollsBacon-Mac-Cheese1aIngredients

  • 2 cups macaroni and cheese chilled
  • 4 slices cooked bacon crumbled
  • 8 egg roll wrappers vegetable oil for frying
  • Barbecue sauce for dipping

Instructions

Heat oil in a deep fryer or Dutch Oven to 350 degrees F. 2. Mix macaroni and cheese and bacon together. Spoon about 1⁄4 cup onto each egg roll wrapper. Dampen edges

of egg roll wrapper with water. Roll up according to package directions. 3. Cover with a damp paper towel until ready to fry. 4. Repeat with remaining ingredients. 5. Fry egg rolls, a few at a time until well browned, about 4 minutes. Drain on paper towel-lined plate. 6. Cut egg rolls in half and serve with barbecue sauce.

 Creamy Kale Mac and Cheese Recipe

kalemaccheese

Ingredients:

  • 16 ounces pasta (penne, elbow macaroni or shells)
  • 1 large bunch of kale, stems removed and leaves chopped
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 8 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • about 1/2 cup of extra cheese for topping (optional)
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • kosher or sea salt, to taste
  • fresh cracked black pepper, to taste

Directions:

In large pot, boil water and cook pasta to package instructions. Rinse pasta with cold water and allow to cool.

Heat the same large pot on medium heat, melt butter and add onion. Cook onions until soft, then add flour. Stir the flour quickly to combine the flour and onion roux mixture. Add milk and chicken broth.

Allow mixture to come to a gentle boil and sauce will thicken. Return heat to low and add cheddar cheese and Parmesan cheese. Continue stirring gently until all the cheese is melted.

Add the kale and pasta to cheese mixture. Gently stir together until the pasta is heated through and kale is tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add extra cheese and bread crumbs on top.

Serve warm.

Stove-top macaroni and cheese made with fresh broccoli and a creamy pesto cheese sauce

stovetop_pesto

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. elbow macaroni
  • 1 large broccoli crown, broken into florets
  • 2 c. reduced fat milk, warmed
  • 1/4 c. unsalted butter
  • 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 c. shredded fontina cheese
  • 1/2 c. shredded parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/4 c. pesto
  • salt + pepper to taste

Toasted Panko Topping (Optional)

  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 c. panko, toasted

Instructions

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook macaroni according to package directions until al dente. Two minutes before cook time ends, add broccoli. When macaroni is done, drain immediately and set aside.

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add in flour and whisk into butter; continue to heat until mixture is golden brown, 3-5 minutes.

Slowly add milk to flour mixture, whisking constantly. Once sauce is smooth, cook until slightly thickened (about 3 minutes) continuing to whisk constantly.

Remove sauce from heat. Whisk in fontina and parmesan cheese, pesto, and salt and pepper. Fold in elbow macaroni and broccoli. Divide into bowls and top with toasted panko, if desired.

Toasted Panko Topping

Heat olive oil in small skillet over medium heat. Add panko and cook until golden brown, 3-5 minutes.

Notes

To make this Pesto Mac into a casserole, after pasta and broccoli have been incorporated into the cheese sauce, transfer Pesto Mac to small (about 9 x 9) casserole dish. Top with panko and additional shredded cheese; bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. If top is not browned, broil for about 5 more minutes.

 

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