Monday, June 4, 2012

Mac Attack

Slice of Mac heaven
Have you ever closed the door on one heckuva week, only to begin thinking of every comfort available to you? It, off with the work clothes, on with the shorts, tee shirt and flip-flops; then a sashay through the kitchen for a cool libation and onto the deck for a comfortable chair...ahhh! Relief at last. Well, that was last Friday evening for my handsome Horn Player and me. The week had been pretty rough and my go-to happy place, while trudging through each day, was thoughts of the upcoming weekend.

The Horn Player and I did indeed lounge on the deck, shrugging off any excess stress that followed us home. And when the inevitable question of dinner arose, we completely agreed on simplicity in a comforting, gooey, homemade dish.  I knew just what would fit the bill.

Baked Mac and Cheese

1 cup uncooked macaroni
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup half and half creme
1 heaping cup grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
Black pepper
Muenster cheese 

Cook the pasta in a large pot filled with lightly salted water. When the pasta becomes somewhat tender, drain completely in a colander shaking off any excess water.  Meanwhile, prepare the custard by cracking the eggs in a mixing bowl and whisking to combine. Pour in the 2 cups of milk/half and half and mix well into the eggs. Add a pinch of salt to your taste, a good grind of black pepper and a generous grind of nutmeg. Love it...nutmeg. Sprinkle in the grated cheddar and stir in well. Add the pasta to the egg/milk mixture gradually if it's still hot to prevent damaging the eggs. Otherwise, just add the whole of it and stir.

Pour half the mixture into a buttered casserole dish, then add a single layer of muenster cheese slices and pour over the remaining mac and cheese mixture. Place on a larger baking sheet lined with aluminum foil to allow for bubbling over and a subsequent oven clean up. Bake at 350 for about 30 to 40 minutes. This varies by individual oven settings and the depth of the casserole dish. If you choose a deeper dish you would need to bake a bit longer to be sure the center is cooked adequately. 

Note: I use a rectangular, rather shallow, Pyrex dish that I've had for eon's. Probably a 2 quart size or so.

Remove from the oven when the center is done and the top, browned slightly. Place on a trivet to cool a bit before serving.

Cheese makes us happy
I love this as a light supper or a side-dish for practically anything. It's a got-to-have Sunday dinner go-along. Puffy, almost souffle like, comforting and simple. It's perfect! 

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