1.24.2015

Cheese Cubed

It's been party, party, party this holiday season.

Ive had my fill of crudités.

One more cookie will put me over the edge.

And if I ever see one more cheese cube...

Sigh... Sadly, I did see more cheese cubes, and apparently I wasn't the only one who didn't want them.

So, against my better judgment, I took some leftovers home after the last holiday gathering.

I considered building an igloo with them. But for what purpose, except to say that I did?

They wouldn't make a great pizza.

I am "over" gloppy potato-beer-cheese soup. (That is for young people with functioning metabolisms...)

But I thought all these cheese cubes might make an amazing Mac and Cheese.

And they did.

This recipe is one of the simplest around, and can be adorned and added to easily.

Need a bacon fix? Go ahead and add some! Leftover turkey works well, too.

Or add some red bell peppers and green peas if you still need a holiday feel!

The other good thing about this recipe is that it can be served right after adding the cheese sauce - no need to bake it.

Sometimes, I like a baked crust, though, because it makes me think it has fiber in it. (A New Years resolution to up the fiber in my diet)

This recipe made enough for 6 people, so I froze four portions for future lunches to support the Markipedia Foundation. (They didn't last long...)

~ David

Creamy Mac and Cheese - stovetop or baked

1 pound elbow macaroni, or short pasta shape of your choice
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon dried mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup sour cream
12 ounces mixed cheese cubes, grated 
       (I used smoked Gouda, cheddar and pepper jack)
8 tablespoons breadcrumbs or cracker crumbs, for topping (optional)
4 tablespoons butter, plus extra, for topping (optional)

In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook macaroni until al dente.

While macaroni is cooking, melt butter in a large saucepan. Whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute; add mustard and salt, and whisk together. Add milk all at once whisk well to blend. Continue whisking over medium heat until roux has thickened. Add grated cheese and whisk over medium heat until fully melted.

Stovetop
Drain pasta and place in a large bowl. Add the cheese sauce, mix well, and serve. 

Baked with Topping
Drain pasta and place in a large bowl. Add the cheese sauce, mix well, and place in a large baking dish (or 6 individual baking dishes) and cover. Bake for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, melt butter in a small skillet and add breadcrumbs. Stir to coat. Uncover baking dish(es) and sprinkle with breadcrumbs; dot with a little extra butter. Bake an additional 15 minutes.

Serves 6

39 comments:

  1. SImply damn delicious comforting pasta!!!

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  2. My Peter loves mac and cheese! Must share this recipe with him! Happy cooking!

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    1. The funny thing - Mark loves it, too, but I can usually take it or leave it! I guess it all depends what kind of cheese is used. The more fun the cheese, the more interesting the Mac!

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  3. Mmm mac & cheese. Rarely eat it, but when I do I love it. I had to Google potato-beer-cheese soup. That's really something people eat?

    I'll take your mac & cheese any day, David.

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    1. Yes, it really is something people eat. Personally. It triggers a gag reflex when I think of that "soup." Yep, you are much better off with the Mac & Cheese, John!

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  4. Hi David, love mac & cheese, this is one meal that appeals to all ages.

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    1. That is true, Cheri - I hadn't thought if it that way. You can gussy it up to please any audience!

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  5. Ooohhh...thanks for this recipe. I have my youngest, my baby daughter, age 29, at home recuperating from ankle surgery. I know she would love this. She is enjoying mom and pop's home cooked dinners (and brunch, since she sleeps in till noon) very much.

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    1. Caterina - she is so lucky you are taking such good care of her! Mac & Cheese is definitely good medicine for the heart! (Well, the emotional heart, not the actual heart...) I hope she is up on her feet soon!

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  6. I hadn't heard of potato beer cheese soup either - interesting combination :) I would have stuck with the mac and cheese too!

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    1. To me, Karen, beer-cheese soup is disgusting. And wouldn't you know that they often serve it in a hollowed out bread loaf? Mac & Cheese for us, too!

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  7. Shazaam! Mac and Cheese. The magic words. But beer and cheese soup? That's new to me. I hope it's not hot beer with cheese cubes. Or wait, maybe I do hope that's what it is. Beer is good at any temp. GREG

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    1. You are right, Greg - Mark drinks his beer cold in the summer and room temperature in the winter. But not with cheese cubes, unless they are on the side with crackers.

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  8. Hi David, I absolutely love cheese and your mac n cheese looks fabulous, great idea to freeze individual portions.

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    1. whoops I already commented yesterday, sorry!

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    2. More is always better, Cheri! :) Yes, the freezing component made this great for work lunches!

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  9. You could have made a glorious tyropita! It doesn't have to be with feta. :) Next time keep it in mind. xoxo

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    1. While I think feta would be MUCH better, Magda, I will keep it in mind for some tyropitas. I started looking yesterday for the thicker phyllo. SO far, no luck...

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  10. Oh how I love Mac and Cheese! This one looks simple and delicious, and such a great use for that leftover cheese! What a great idea to freeze some!

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    1. Thanks, Kathy! Not only was the cheese leftover, that 1/4 cup of sour cream needed to be used, too!

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  11. Hi David! Now, that's a great idea for leftover cheese cubes! I do have a weakness for Mac and cheese, and I think all my kids got that from me as well. They are all Mac and cheese junkies. So, we make grilled Mac and cheese sandwiches...two slices of bread, with Mac and cheese in the middle and then grilled. That's also for young people :)

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    1. Okay, I have to try the grilled Mac & Cheese - sheer genius, my friend! I can see why it is for young people... my arteries just screamed at me for even thinking about it!

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  12. My kids love Mac & Cheese ... the boxed ones :( I've tried every recipe I've found but they always give me that look to quit .. I'll try to recipe and I hope they will love it. Thanks

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    1. Good luck, Amira! I hope they like it, too! Maybe if you let each of your kids pick a cheese, they'll be more invested and they'll like it!

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  13. we may once in a blue moon get a bit tired of cheese but never can we get a little less excited for mac n cheese....this recipe is a winner with our family hands down....thanks :-)

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    1. You are always so kind, Rakesh and Swikruti. I am glad you like the recipe!

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  14. These kinds of recipes are the best: the kind that makes leftovers that can be frozen for future enjoyment! Yum

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    1. Thanks, Fiona - I imagine most Italians laugh at dishes like Mac & Cheese!

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  15. A cheese cube igloo,love this surrealistic idea and it would stay fresh for a long time:)
    But seriously, a very inspiring post to make a delicious dish out of left overs.
    I tried it out already because my son is a huge cheese and macaroni fan and we all enjoyed it a lot. Simply delicious!

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    1. Daniela - I am so glad you and your son liked this!

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  16. I have been craving Mac & Cheese for weeks. It is time to give in. I may add some tomatoes so I feel less guilty for indulging in such a gorgeous dish. Thanks, D. Hope you have a great w/end in the works! xoxo

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    1. Tomatoes is a great idea, Colette! If you have our same weather, I can see why you are craving Mac & Cheese!

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  17. David, believe it or not, I have never made a Mac & Cheese in my life, ever - I guess it just does not cross my mind. But I made baked spinach-ricoatta filled tortellini with a cheese sauce last week - maybe that counts?! Be that as it may, this certainly looks like comfort-style food to me!
    Euch beiden einen schönen Sonntag und viele liebe Grüsse,
    Andrea

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    1. I think that definitely counts and it sounds wonderful! I used not to be a fan of Mac & Cheese but Mark loves it so, that I have learned to be creative so that I will like it, too!

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  18. Great idea! So often, this is exactly what is left over! I love the idea of freezing individual packets, too! Can't wait to have a party again!

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    1. Thanks, Susan! I know you will have some really good cheese bits to use in this!

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  19. LOVE this! I make a Trader Joe's copycat recipe which uses 4 cheeses including Havarti and Gouda and it's to die for. I would love to try your version with your choice of cheeses, and especially like the addition of the Pepper Jack for an added kick! Thanks for another fab recipe, David!

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    1. Thanks, Christina! I think I would add even more Pepper Jack the next time - we loved the zing from that cheese!

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