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Sunday, January 4, 2009

Experience the Cheesy Goodness that is Mac and Cheese.

Is there anyone out there that doesn't like Macaroni and Cheese? Anyone? Bueller? I didn't think so. It's right up there at the top of my list of good old comfort food.

I used to love the Blue Box when I was a kid, and occasionally my kids have it, too--and ok, I'll confess to having a bite or two. Childhood memories and all that, you know? But they do love the homemade stuff, as well! In fact, my five year old asks me to make it. The first time I made the good homemade stuff, he told me he'd eat it every day if I made it for him. How's that for a compliment? Or maybe he said he'd plead with me every day not to make it for him...nah--I'm sure I heard him right. Right?

I use a tried and true recipe, given to me by one of my best friends, Jen. It makes a cheesy, totally creamy mac and cheese. You know how some homemade ones can be grainy and well, kind of curdled and dry? This one is nothing but creamy. The secret? Food snobs, you may want to avert your eyes now...

Velveeta. Yes. I'm serious. I tried a few other recipes for mac and cheese. They tasted fine, but were dry, and I just couldn't get the famous "creamy" type that I was looking for. But with Jen's recipe, it's super creamy and just so damn good.

This one's being entered in a Mac and Cheese Off that was put together by Danny from the Gourmet Gastronomer. So have a look at his site, and check out all of the cheesy goodness.

Voting will open to the general public on Tuesday, January 6th at 5:00pm and close on Friday January 9th at 5:00pm. So if any of you guys feel inclined to head on over there and vote, that would be awesome. Also, if you want to join in, you can contact Danny anytime before voting opens.

I made some changes this time around. Yesterday, we packed the kids up in the truck, and headed to Vermont. We went to the Vermont Country Store. We love going there--they have so much in the store--cool retro stuff, great foods, and amazing Vermont Cheddar. LOVE their cheddar. It's creamy and melts in your mouth. So we grabbed a big old hunk of that, along with a bunch of other things, went out to dinner, and called it a day. You should have a look around their site--I guarantee you'll see stuff you haven't seen since you were a kid, or stuff you remember your parents and grandparents using. We make a trip up there at least three times a year and come home with bags of stuff.

Vermont Country Store, at twilight.

So anyway, I used half Vermont Cheddar and yes, half Velveeta. I can't get away from it's creamy goodness in this dish. The result? The Velveeta gave it the ultimate creaminess, and the cheddar gave it that extra kick of flavor. It's delicious! And a nice sprinkling of panko bread crumbs over the top give it some nice crusty crunchy goodness.

I'm eating some right now, hot from the oven, and wishing I could share it with all of you! But I can give you the next best thing--the recipe:

Vermont Mac and Cheese

To print this recipe, click here!

16 ounces elbow macaroni (cooked)
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup flour
3 1/4 cups milk
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 lb cheese, Velveeta cut into cubes
1/2 lb Vermont Cheddar
panko breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a pan, melt the butter along with the salt, pepper and flour and stir until smooth.
Remove from heat add milk and wine, then return to heat and bring to a boil.
Boil 1 minute while whisking.
Remove from the heat and add both cheeses, and stir until melted.
Pour over elbows, mix well, and pour into very lightly greased baking dish.
Sprinkle with panko and bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

So...maybe it's not gourmet with the Velveeta and all, but it's good. Really good. And in the big picture, isn't that what counts? And I could have added a bunch of additional things, but then my kids may not have eaten it. And my husband and I don't really need to eat a whole pan of this by ourselves, hehe.

Don't forget to check out Danny's site and vote for your favorite mac and cheese!

I've been tagged by Karen at Mignardise for Six Random Things about me.

Six Random Things About Elle

1) I think I love football more than my husband does, and he's the one that got me into it. I yell at the coaches
when a play goes wrong, or at the refs when they make a bad call. AND at the players when they celebrate in
the end zone--I'm looking at YOU, Wes Welker. A snow angel? Seriously? Did you not think you'd get a penalty?
A fine, even! Stupidest rule ever, but still!

2) I love to dip french fries into a chocolate shake--just did last night at dinner, in fact!
It's like food for the gods. Seriously.

3) I don't like goat cheese. There, I said it! Am I the only one that hates the taste, the aftertaste,
and how you can still taste it 8 hours later? Yuck! Sorry to be uncool, but it's just gross.

4) I love to sketch and paint with watercolors. I used to be really good at it, but am terribly out of practice.

5) I'm addicted to Twitter. Follow me there:

6) I'm also addicted to my new Blackberry, aka Crackberry. I can even Twitter from it,
so it feeds addiction #5, as well! hahaha!!

I'm not going to tag six people, but I am going to leave this open so anyone can do it and keep it going. Once you do, tag six more people if you like, and be sure to let them know they've been tagged!

Macaroni and Cheese on Foodista

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LizNoVeggieGirl said...

Love the meme!! I USED to be like you with #2 :-D

Happy New Year, Elle!!

Vicki said...

Velveeta, that poor much-maligned "cheese food". It has it's uses :)

Judy@nofearentertaining said...

Love your meme Elle and this Mac and Cheese looks great despite it having Velveeta in it!!! LOL!

RecipeGirl said...

Don't like goat cheese???? And I thought you were my friend lol! You'll be shocked to know that when you ask my 7 year old what his #1 favorite cheese is, he says 'goat cheese.' Isn't that odd? He loves the stuff.

This looks scrumptioso (like that new word?), and yes... Velveeta is gourmet. I personally love the stuff, as gross as it is.

kat said...

My mom's wonderful homemade Mac & Cheese was always made with Velveeta, I'll never turn my nose up to that!

Amy said...

Yum! I love mac n cheese

Ingrid_3Bs said...

That is some awesome mac-n-cheese! I have every intention of making this just need some velveeta.

I noticed that there is white wine called for in the recipe. I do believe that counteracts the velveeta. And you used Panko breadcrumbs (luv 'em)! Good luck!

Bunny said...

Your right who wouldn't love mac and cheese. Nothin wrong with Velveeta Elle, actually it's doing a big comeback, that's what the guy on the news said!

Bob said...

I wish you could share it with me too! :) I love homemade mac and cheese.

Heh, funny story. When I was a kid my mom made us homemade mac and cheese. None of us would touch it. So she brought it back to the kitchen, mixed in a bunch of yellow food coloring, came back and said she made us some of the Blue Box stuff. We wolfed it down. Kids don't know crap. :)

Rhyleysgranny said...

I love mac cheese too. Yours looks seriously cheesy. Mmmmmm. I am off to google Velveeta as I have not a clue what it is

pigpigscorner said...

This looks amazing! I haven't had this for awhile since my fiance doesn't like it =(

Karen @ Mignardise said...

Thanks for playing Elle. I'm a football fan too - I was so sad the Pats weren't playing this weekend. (Will Tom and Giselle tie the knot?) My son plays HS varsity football and it's so much fun to watch.

Anonymous said...

Oh Elle!! YUM! That looks and sounds delish!!
There's just nothing like good mac and cheese, right!!

Anonymous said...

I totally believe you and would use Velveeta if I could, but I just don't have access to it! However, my favorite Mac and Cheese as a kid was made with Kraft singles.

I know this might be even worse... but have you ever tried making mac and cheese with a high-fat melting cheese like raclette? I make my mac and cheese with that and cheddar, gouda, etc. (a high-flavor cheese) and it never turns out grainy. Just a thought...

(Although I'm secretly just jealous of your Velveeta!)

Anonymous said...

This is such a great recipe. Tastes so good and creamy. The spike from the Vermont Cabot Cheddar and the Panko is the best. Thanks Elle

Anonymous said...

Girl, you're KILLING me with Jen's mac & cheese. I am so craving non-WW comfort foods right now... :sigh:

LyB said...

I love Velveeta! But, I also love goat cheese. ;) That mac and cheese sounds incredible, it looks so creamy!

giz said...

I'm ducking when I say I never was a fan of mac and cheese. Maybe because the kids used to just love the awful stuff in the box and I found it waaay too salty. Maybe a scratch version would change my mind.

Peter M said...

More Elle in the Mac n. Cheese, less Velveeta, k?

The pics look yum-world.

grace said...

where do i begin? i've eaten way more than my fair share of kraft mac & cheese, but your rendition clearly blows it away. awesome.
one of my favorite treats is french fries dipped into a wendy's frosty, so i'm right with ya there.
and finally, goat cheese makes me queasy.
we're practically the same person. :)

Anonymous said...

I don't care what anyone says - I think Velveeta is awesome. Your mac and cheese looks creamy and delicious.

BTW, I love your new banner!

Sharon said...

People who don't like mac 'n cheese frighten me :) I'm also a big fan of Velveeta...even if it is processed cheese. Nothing gets it quite as creamy!

Lore said...

My hubby would swim the entire Antlantic for a good cheddar, he's like addicted to the stuff. I love cheese too and this looks like a great creamy, melting dish to feed our addiction.
Heading over to Danny's site to vote for you :D

Carol said...

Ohhhh...mac and cheese.....comfort food and a half here! I'd get into so much trouble making this-and would enjoy EVERY bite I'm sure!
HA HA...I'm SO with you on the football thing...I blame it on my husband too (it IS after all his fault that he made me his "equipment manager" when he volunteered to video tape all the high school games when my daughter was attending, then made me watch them OVER AND he never thought I'd actually understand it all!) I'M the one saying "we can't watch that show...FOOTBALL'S ON!" He always wanted me to take an interest in the I'm wondering if he's thinking..."be careful what you wish for."? :)

Anonymous said...

Velveeta...I knew *that* was coming! Love the idea of white wine in there. Yum. Looks fabulous! When you have something this wonderful, there isn't a cause to add to it. Looks divine.


Anonymous said...

I'll bet it tastes wonderful. I've found that there are some classic American recipes that do NOT work well all fancied up. Velveeta and Campbell's soups have their place in the culinary hall of fame!

Anonymous said...

Just made it! HUDGE hit! WOW! My new favorite kind of mac and cheese! Loved the way the white wine worked with the sauce! Delish!


Anonymous said...

Okay, I'm drooling over this one. But Velveeta? You're killing me. You know how you hate goat cheese? Well. I get shivers over Velveeta. But I marked it, and I'm seriously going to try it. Your random facts are hilarious, by the way!

Sara said...

This looks great! I'm not a goat cheese fan either.

The Peanut Butter Boy said...

I'm a huge mac n cheese fan too, but I often find that I make too much of it at once. By the time I finish the batch I'm incredibly sick of it but it's always good at first!

Arlene Delloro said...

I just made the Barefoot Contessa's mac n' cheese with Gruyere and cheddar. Most mac n' cheese does dry out after being refrigerated. Your dirty little secret is Velveeta. Mine is that I heat leftovers with cheddar cheese soup. Hey, waste not, want not.

Garrett said...

Yummm, baked macaroni and cheese! Definitely one of the all-time best comfort foods.

Kate said...

Okay, I am so glad that there is someone else in the world who will admit that Velveeta is great for mac and cheese! Sing it, sister!

vanillasugarblog said...

::whew::: I hate goat cheese too! What's up with that aftertaste is right!
The Vermont Country Store? You know I hate you, right?
But I will forgive you since you used Cabot cheese, ok?
And the snow angel should not get a penalty! Puuuuulease! Sit down.

Jen said...

I am so honored and touched Elle!
I hope you win, I have sent the link to a bunch of friends and family. I know they will be voting for you.

Ben said...

I've only made mac and cheese once in my life, but I loved it. It is one of those things that I always want to make when I don't want to think too much about what to do for dinner. I will try your recipe (and vote for it, of course) next time I get around making it :D

Ingrid_3Bs said...

Hi, Elle! One of the Twins & I made this yesterday & baked it for today's dinner.....YUM! ALL (incredibly)three of my children LOVED it. I actually only made half the recipe which was plenty everyone ate and the twins had two servings.

Anonymous said...

Elle, this looks so warming - just perfect for our current cold (freezing!) snap here in Europe!! Happy New Year! Fiona

Deborah said...

I made mac and cheese a few nights ago, and it wasn't very good. I should have tried this recipe!!

Annie said...

Velveeta huh? I don't know if I have ever had it before. I'm not too much of a snob to try it, especially if it looks as good and tastes as good as you say! Thanks for sharing ;)

Alicia Foodycat said...

I love mac & cheese, but I don't know what velveeta is... it sounds scary!

Sophie said...

Who could resist mac and cheese that looks like this? And it sure sounds like I'll have to pay a visit to that store soon, sound like my kinda place to shop! :)

Anonymous said...

Hi there,
found this recipe on tastespotting, and MAN it is AWESOME! I even left out the wine and it was great. I halved the recipe and we ate the whole pan! :)


PS: I used the 2% milk velveeta and couldn't tell any difference!

Cybernista said...

If you want to kick Mac and Cheese up a notch, use Pepper Jack cheese and twisty noodles. Gives it a real kick.

Oh, and french fries in milk shakes? I thought I was bad with potato chips in maple cream! You go girl!

Anonymous said...

Hi Elle

Did you use dry white wine in the recipes. Do you taste the white wine in this mac n cheese after it is baked. Also did you use sharp or extra sharp cheese.

Anonymous said...

I am definitely making this tonight and will try adding some diced black forest ham to the mix.. Cant wait!

Taylor said...

Just made this tonight, and it's delicious! I'd never made homemade mac 'n' cheese before, but it made me look like a mac 'n' cheese expert :)

Elle said...

That's great, Taylor--thanks so much!

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