Saturday, January 7, 2012

Stovetop Creamy Mac 'n Cheese

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Stovetop creamy mac 'n cheese
My kids are no different than others - they love that orange colored macaroni product from a box.  I admit I do too, as camping food with a can of chili mixed in to cover it up, mostly.  But on a rainy Saturday afternoon while working on homework and household chores I have no desire to eat that stuff.  I make several kinds of mac 'n cheese but the one my kids like best is the 'creamy kind'.  This really doesn't take much longer than boxed stuff, tastes far better, and is a great way to use up leftover straggling vegetables you may have on hand.  This is definitely one recipe that is NOT meant to be followed as published.  Instead put in what things you love to find your own rainy day lunch or dinner favorite.


Stovetop Creamy Mac 'n Cheese

Michelle K.
One of the cheeses you use in this recipe needs to have a good bite to it, like a feta or gorgonzola. Try this with a smoked gouda and diced apple, really amazing. You can substitute in cheddar cheese for the ricotta if you would like the more traditional 'orange' mac 'n cheese. You can skip the ham entirely and add additional vegetables of your choice. Adding vegetables to the onion sauté step is usually a good time, just be sure they are diced about 1/4" size so that they will cook through quickly.

Ingredients


  • 2 cups pasta of your choice, cooked
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1/3 cup onion finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 cup ham, smoked (1/4" cubes)
  • 2 tbs flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 tbs Dijon-style mustard
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese
  • 2 cup broccoli florets, cut into small pieces
  • Salt and pepper to taste (less/no salt depending on the saltiness of the cheese and ham you use)

Instructions


  1. Bring your pasta water to a boil. Before adding in your pasta, drop in your broccoli bites and cook for a couple of minutes. Remove the broccoli from the pasta water into a small bow and set aside. Add in your pasta and cook according to the package directions.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, in a high sided skillet, melt your butter over medium flame. Add the onions and sauté until translucent. Add in the garlic and give a good stir, just warming it to bring out the flavor. Add in your diced ham.
  3. Once the ham is completely heated sprinkle the 2 tablespoons of flour over everything and stir. Continue to stir often over the next 2 minutes, letting the flour absorb the fat in the pan and cook away the flour taste.
  4. Slowly add in your milk, stirring constantly until it is all in the pan. Let it come back up to a simmer with occasional stirs. Don't be tempted to turn the heat up, just let it come back to a gently simmer on its own, about 10 minutes. While that is going on make sure to drain your pasta, it should be done now.
  5. When the mixture is hot, add in the nutmeg, mustard, and cheeses stirring until the cheese is melted in. Give it a taste and add salt and pepper to your liking. Most often this dish does not need any salt at all, but a generous amount of pepper is great.
  6. Add your pasta and broccoli for one final blending of flavors. Turn off the heat and let it sit for 2 minutes. Serve and eat!
Yield: 6 servings

Prep Time: 00:10
Cook time: 00:15

Nutrition


Calories: 332
Total carbs: 35