Wednesday, March 28, 2012

my favorite mac and cheese

one of my all time favorite foods has to be mac and cheese!!! growing up on kraft as a kid, there's just something about mac and cheese that makes it so irresistible and one of my favorite comfort foods.  i remember in high school my friend nicole and i would have debates over which mac and cheese was the best - krafts or valveeta....we never had a definitive winner...but i knew which one everyone liked more bahahah!  so now that i'm older, i've tried to eat more mac and cheese that would be a slight upgrade from kraft (as much as i still love it), oh i might also add that annie's white cheddar shells are awesome as well, but back to a more grown up version of mac and cheese, i've found the most amazing recipe - chiptole mac and cheese!  i have made this on several occasions and every time it's been a winner!  i've done several variations on it and it's worked out every time - adding sun dried tomatoes or bacon - even more amazing!  so monday was my friend spencer's birthday and he asked for this mac and cheese as part of his present.  i made it last night and it looked amazing...i had to hold back from eating it myself.

chipotle mac and cheese
  • 1 box of medium sized pasta shells
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 2 tbs all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 3/4 tsp chipotle seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 package (8 0z) shredded monterey jack cheese
  • 1 package (8 oz) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 lb bacon (optional)
  • 1 cup sun dried tomatoes (optional)
1. preheat oven to 350°
2. coat 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking sheet with cooking spray
3. cook pasta shells in lightly salted boiling water for 10-12 minutes, following directions on the package. drain

4. cut bacon into 1/2" strips and cook

5. in a large heavy bottomed saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
6. stir in flour until well blended.  cook for 1 minute making a rue
7. whisk in 1 cup of half-and-half, whisking continuously until very smooth.  whisk in remianing 1 cup of half-and-half and continue to cook, whisking until thickened and smooth - about 6 minutes
8. remove from heat and stir in chipotle seasoning, salt, pepper, garlic powder, 1 cup of jack cheese and 1 cup of cheddar cheese until smooth
9. stir in bacon or sun dried tomatoes and cheese sauce into pasta.  spoon into prepared dish and top with remaining cheeses
10. bake for 30 minutes until bubbly and lightly golden on top.  remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before serving

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