Finally, It’s fall. Fall makes me want to cuddle up with a cozy blanket and a good book, cook comforting foods that warms up the body, light candles that smell like pumpkin, and take pictures of the colored leaves.
One of my favorite fall dishes is macaroni and cheese. I know it’s a year-round food, but to me, it’s a dish to enjoy while watching football or hanging up the Halloween decorations. It’s warm, creamy, and comforting. It’s like a big food blanket! My mom used to make us macaroni and cheese during the school year and for tailgates. That is why I relate it with Fall.
To me, Fall is about treating yourself every now and then. If you work hard 80% of the time, then why not give yourself a little reward 20% of the time? That’s how I see it. Now, of course moderation should be used when diving into a meal such as macaroni and cheese. Will power plays a huge role as well. But treating yourself to your favorite foods is important. You can’t live a life of deprivation. It’s just not a healthy lifestyle. And fall is one of my favorite times of year to treat myself. So I chose macaroni and cheese to do so!
On my way to Vegas, I picked up the October issue of the Food Network Magazine. Now, if you haven’t been struck by Fall fever yet, then you might want to open up this issue. It literally hits you on the head with a big fat pumpkin and pours Fall all over you. I call it my “Fairy Fall Mother!”
I was reading the 20 year anniversary article and saw the “Most popular Food Network recipe”. Macaroni and Cheese. I am always looking for a good Mac N Cheese recipe. Sorry mom, but yours is…I better stop there.
The picture was mouth watering. I was already hungry and the Plane’s peanuts weren’t doing any justice. I dog-eared the page and promised my stomach I’d make it when I got back.
Oh boy…did I!
I followed the recipe to perfection, but also added a couple ingredients to fit my taste buds. I’m sure if you are interested, you can make this healthier, but I wasn’t too interested. If you’re going to eat mac and cheese, you better do it right!
Recipe originated from Food Network Magazine
Ingredients: For the Pasta *1/2 Pound Elbow Macaroni, *3 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, *3 Tablespoons All-Purposed Flour, *1 Tablespoon Powdered Mustard, *3 Cups Milk, *1/2 Cup Onion, Finely Diced, *1 Dried Bay Leaf, *1/2 Teaspoon Paprika, *1 Large Egg, *15 Ounces Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Shredded *Freshly Ground Pepper, *Sea Salt, *1 Tablespoon Garlic & Onion Spice Blend,
Ingredients: For the Topping *4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, *1 Cup Panko Breadcrumbs, *1/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar
Cook the pasta in a pot of boiling water.
While the pasta is cooking, melt three tablespoons of butter in a hot skillet.
While the butter is melting, mix together flour and mustard.
Mix together the milk, onion, bay leaf, and paprika.
Once the butter is melted, whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about two minutes. It should be nice and smooth without any lumps.
Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf and paprika. Simmer for about ten minutes and remove the bay leaf.
In a separate bowl, temper the egg. Beat the egg in a small bowl with a fork; beat in a tablespoon or two of the warm sauce, then slowly whisk the egg mixture back into the sauce.
Stir in three-quarters of the cheese.
Add sea salt, pepper, and garlic and onion spice blend to taste.
The recipe doesn’t require the garlic and onion blend, but I like a bold tasting macaroni and cheese and it certainly gave it an extra pop!
After the cheese is fully melted and the seasonings are combined and up to taste, pour in the cooked and drained macaroni noodles.
Give it a nice stir on low heat for about two minutes.
This is the perfect time to preheat the oven to 350 degrees!
In a saucepan, melt four tablespoons of unsalted butter.
Stir in bread crumbs and brown sugar.
The recipe doesn’t call for brown sugar, but I have always incorporated brown sugar in my macaroni and cheese. It definitely gives it a giant kick, sending your taste buds in and out of sweet and savory town. Even a couple tablespoons will do!
Pour the macaroni and cheese into a 2-quart casserole dish.
Top the macaroni with the leftover cheese.
Add the breadcrumbs on top of the casserole dish.
Bake for 30 minutes. The edges of the topping should be slightly brown.
Let the dish cool for about 5-10 minutes before serving.
Little smokies and peas are a staple with macaroni and cheese. (yes I made a rhyme) They were always served like that in my school cafeteria as a kid and at home.
I had mine with peas and shrimp.
My friend is quick to tell me when something is off, or if a meal is just “okay”. This one shot up on the ladder as one of his favorites. He even said “it’s the best macaroni and cheese he’s eaten since his Grandma’s”
The best part of this dish is that it can be eaten all week long, packed away for lunch, eaten cold, and frozen for another week. It’s a great dish for parties and a guaranteed favorite!
So thank you, Food Network and Alton for the inspiration!