that's forking good

adventures in a culinary neophyte's kitchen

return of the mac

Posted by culinaryneophyte on September 9, 2010

Another part of my poor showing as an Italian is that I loathe pasta. It’s one of those things I always wished I liked because it’s easy to make, comes in several varieties and costs 35¢ a box. Sadly, my brain has refuted every attempt at a logical food prelation; but what’s even more illogical is that there is one — and only one — type of pasta I will eat: elbow macaroni.

In an attempt to use some leftover cream cheese I had in the fridge, I did some digging on Recipe Puppy, a great search engine that gives you a mess of recipes based on whatever ingredient you enter.

The winner? Cream cheese macaroni and cheese. (For more photos, click here!)

I used a recipe from food.com, but if you’re not looking to feed an army (i.e. about four people), see below. I halved the recipe (and used a smaller dish) and had mac ‘n cheese aplenty:

♦1/2 lb. elbow macaroni
♦1.5 tbs. butter
♦1 tbs. flour
♦1.5 c. milk
♦4 oz. low-fat cream cheese
♦8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
♦salt, pepper to taste
♦breadcrumbs

Cook pasta in a large pot according to package. Drain, rinse, return to pot.

In a separate skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and cook until bubbly (about 1 min.). Add milk slowly — stirring — and heat ’til slightly thickened. Add cream cheese and stir until completely melted. Season with salt and pepper.

Pour cream cheese mixture over cooked pasta; stir. Add shredded cheese; stir ’til completely combined.

Pour mixture into an 8×8″ casserole dish (greased with cooking spray). Add breadcrumbs to top if desired. Bake for 18-20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Before it went in...

And after!

This was so easy to make and the end result was banging, if I do say so myself. The cream cheese gave the dish a creamy consistency, but using the shredded cheddar helped keep that delicious baked macaroni and cheese feel. I would also recommend the breadcrumbs on top as a nice variant in consistency.

Total time? 30-ish minutes.
Cost? Cheap: 75¢ for macaroni, $1 cream cheese, $2.50 cheddar.
Overall success relative to expectations? 10 out of 10.

More photos!

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2 Responses to “return of the mac”

  1. Tricia said

    Love it! Your pictures are amazing! Right out of a magazine! Are you going to cook for us in Disney? Mickey pancakes perhaps?

  2. Thanks, Tricia! I will start planning a menu now 🙂 Can’t wait!

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