Macaroni And Cheese, Two Ways

I’ve made a lot of macaroni and cheese in my life. Lots of it. Like this one (not a fan of the onion), recently this one (too many breadcrumbs), and the most reliable standby:

american-kraft-macaroni-cheese-family-size-dinner-306-pDon’t hate, you know it’s amazing. As fun as it is to try new recipes, or box made recipes, my favorite, and the best I’ve ever tasted, is brought to us by this woman (and this cookbook, which I’ve had since college):

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Diabetic or not, this woman can cook. You can find the recipe here (of course Oprah would have the recipe). The only thing I do differently when I made it is that I just buy an 8 oz bag of cheese blend. And actually, I usually buy 2 because I almost always use more cheese.  The other thing, is that since I serve macaroni and cheese as a side dish, I just make half a recipe because unless you’re feeding an army, you don’t need that much. Usually I’m only feeding 2 people (and I still have plenty leftover). If I’m making it in general, it’s more for family/friend gatherings, but I didn’t have any upcoming gatherings and still wanted to make it, so in order to rationalize it, I told myself I’d try it a few different ways! That’s always a good excuse to make too much food: experimentation!

I decided to still only make the half recipe and instead of using elbow macaroni, I had to use shells because it was all I had. Oh, and I also only had some cheddar, parmesan and mozzarella, so I just used that. I can’t say it tasted all that different.

So here’s what I did: Pulled Pork mac-n-cheese, and seafood (mostly crab) mac-n-cheese. Here’s how I did it:

I basically made the half recipe to the point right before baking it, and then started the process, so basicallly I used half of the recipe I made for each macaroni and cheese style below.

For those bad at math, the amounts look a little something like this (baking instructions are the same)

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 pound elbow macaroni (or bowtie, or shells, or penne, you can use what you have)
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) plus 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) shredded Muenster cheese
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) shredded mild Cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack
  • 1 cups half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) Velveeta , cut into small cubes
  • 1 large eggs , lightly beaten
  • Dash of seasoned salt and ground black pepper

Remember, prepare according to these directions (and later, bake according to these directions also)

Also, I cooked these in the same 9×11 pan, and separated them with some aluminum foil. It worked totally fine.

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Pulled Pork Macaroni and Cheese 

Take half your macaroni mixture (prior to the baking steps)
Mix in 2 cups of pulled pork (we used a rack of leftover ribs) – we also added about 1/4 cup of Mermaid BBQ, because why not? Also, I’m mentioning this now because I regret not doing it, but this would’ve been made that muh more awesome if we’d topped it with some French’s Fried Onions! Man that would’ve been delicious! They make so many things better. This would’ve been one of them. At least we know for next time.
Mix all the ingredients together, then top with about 1/3 cup of cheese and bake according to the website (35 minutes at 350 degrees).

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Seafood Macaroni and Cheese

I used 1 cup (1/2 of a 1lb container) of lump crab meat** And 1 cup of cooked shrimp meat (no shells). I like to buy seasoned peal and eat shrimp, and then peal it. If you aren’t using seasoned shrimp, that’s ok, just use the plain cooked and pealed shrimp and add more Old Bay. How much Old Bay? Well if you’re using steamed shrimp, I’d just add a heaping tablespoon to the crab meat. If you’re not, you probably want 3 heaping tablespoons of Old Bay combined to the crab and shrimp mixture.
Mix all the ingredients together, then top with about 1/3 cup of cheese, and 3 handfuls of crushed Old Bay Crab Chips (if you’re not from around here, you can still buy them here). Then bake according to the website (35 minutes at 350 degrees).

** Use the lump. Do NOT buy the special. I will be personally offended if you use the special. Special is only even remotely acceptable in dips and broth. Also, special note, make sure you feel around all the piece of crab meat to make sure there are no shells. Usually the lump is clean but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Your intestines will thank you later.

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