Friday, October 1, 2010

Beefed-up Mac and Cheese

I've been trying all sorts of new recipes in my attempt to use all my chanterelles before they go bad. So far both of the "recipes" have been delicious, as was the ravioli I tossed in butter, 'shrooms, garlic and sage. Nom nom nom.  Last night I decided that I needed to find a new recipe to use up the heavy cream I had in the fridge from my Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice cream. I knew if I didn't have a recipe, I wouldn't use it and it would just go bad in the fridge. So Mac and Cheese it was. 

Oddly enough, I've never made macaroni and cheese from scratch. I know it's supposed to be easy, but I've pretty much always had a box on hand when the craving has struck me. Even last night, when I did go to the effort of making it myself, I could have used the box of Annie's shells and cheese I have in the pantry.  So I looked up some generic mac and cheese recipes, decided it really wasn't that bad, and went home to wing it.

I used all the stuff I had on hand, which happened to be heavy cream, fat free milk, and an open bag of shredded cheddar cheese. An open bag of campanelle pasta got used just because it was the open bag. And...I decided to supplement the cheddar with goat cheese, just because I could.

But, being me, I just couldn't see eating only carbs and dairy, as good as they are, so I beefed it up with a bunch of veggies. I may or may not have thrown in some chicken, just because I had some precooked frozen strips in the freezer...

The result may have been the best real recipe I've ever come up with. Normally I don't keep track of what I throw in just because I know I can make it again and it's not something other people would really need a recipe for. This... this is like gold on the tongue. I had to share.

Robyn's "Beefed-Up" Mac and Cheese
1 Tbsp butter
1Tbsp flour
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup fat free milk
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 Tbsp goat cheese
2 cups favorite pasta
Panko, or other bread crumbs

1 cup fresh mushrooms (chanterelles)
2/3 cup onion, diced
1 pepper, chopped
1 cup broccoli, chopped

Preheat oven to 350.  Put large pot of water on high heat for pasta.  While water is heating/pasta is cooking, start veggies or sauce. Drain pasta when done and set aside. Do not rinse.

Veggies (optional): sweat mushrooms in un-greased large saute pan over medium heat.  Once all water has "sweat" out and evaporated, remove mushrooms from pan. Oil pan with cooking spray or olive oil. Once hot, cook onions for 3-5 minutes or until softened. Add peppers and continue cooking until peppers are warm and browning, but not limp.  Add broccoli and mushrooms and cook until broccoli turns bright green. Remove from pan .

Sauce: Melt butter in pan.  Once melted, add flour and mix well until no clumps remain. Will be pasty.  Cook for 5 minutes, or until color starts to turn golden brown.  Remove pan from heat and add milk product.  Slowly bring mixture to a boil on medium to medium-high heat. Once boiling, remove from heat and add cheese.  Stir until cheese has melted.  Stir in pasta and veggies.

In an 8x8 inch baking dish, place a thin layer of bread crumbs on bottom.  Spoon in mac and cheese mixture.  Cover top with bread crumbs (as little or as much as desired. I like a thin layer just to give it some crunch).  Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes, or until bread crumbs start to brown.

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