Mac and Cheese Monday: Four Cheeses

As someone who loves to cook, but doesn’t love turkey, every Thanksgiving becomes a theme meal. This year was Comfort Food Thanksgiving. In addition to your usual meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and pie, we absolutely HAD to have a rich, delicious, obscenely cheesy mac and cheese with dinner. I would definitely classify this is a “special occasion” dish, not only because it’s just that good (who doesn’t love to impress with their cooking skills?!) but it also packs some serious fat and calories into one side dish. That being said, this recipe is a cinch and is easy to make while you’re shuffling other dishes in the kitchen. So what’s the magic recipe? I found this gem on allrecipes.com, a fantastic site that has a recipe for just about anything you can think of. Originally posted by user DAIZYX69, I’ll add my tips and modifications with pictures, however, this is a great recipe to modify as you wish and to really have fun experimenting!

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 (16 ounce) package elbow macaroni
  • 9 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup shredded Muenster cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 8 ounces cubed processed cheese food
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions
1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the oil and the pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain well and return to cooking pot.

Modification: I like to use Gemelli (or any other swirly-type pasta). I think it works better to “pick up” the cheese. Also, I always omit fat and salt when cooking pasta – it’s just a personal preference. This recipe has SOOO much butter I really think the oil is unnecessary.

2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 8 tablespoons butter; stir into the macaroni.

Is there anything that makes more of a guarantee that whatever you’re cooking will be ridiculously delicious than a stick of butter? Julia Child would be proud.

3. In a large bowl, combine the Muenster cheese, mild and sharp Cheddar cheeses, and Monterey Jack cheese; mix well.

I always prefer to grate my own cheese; I love the texture and the flavor as opposed to bagged, shredded cheese. My box grater has three grating sizes – I like to use the largest. This allows you to have nice, coarse cheese shavings that still have a little substance to them. I think this makes them more flavorful and much more pleasant to bite in to than finely shredded cheese.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

5. Add the half and half, 1 1/2 cups of cheese mixture, cubed processed cheese food, and eggs to macaroni; mix together and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a lightly greased deep 2 1/2 quart casserole dish. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese mixture and 1 tablespoon of butter.

Tip: In case you were wondering, 1 1/2 cups of half and half is roughly a pint. Lots of AllRecipes.com users preferred to leave the eggs out of this recipe, which should make the cheese sauce a bit creamier, but I have always used them. Since I was making this recipe for a Super Bowl party, I baked it in one of these fantastic disposable pans (which I might add are completely reusable). They are just a nice, cheap option when going to an event where you aren’t sure you’ll get/want your pan back!

6. Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes or until hot and bubbling around the edges; serve.

Sit back, relax, FEAST!

chrissy

Chrissy started out in Normal, IL (yes, that's the name of the town) before heading to New York City. She project manages by day and can be found baking, crafting, or volunteering by night. You can find her online at facebook.com/chrissyisawesome and @chrissyisawesome.

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