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Sunday, March 08, 2009

Cooking for the Soul: Edition 2- Mac & Cheese Casserole

Today's post does double-duty. It's Show and Tell and it's the second edition of my 'cooking from scratch' series. To know what I'm talking about, check out Edition 1.

Today's dinner is a classic comfort food growing up. My Mom made this casserole from scratch and let me tell you, KD's got nothing on this! It's the mixture of a super creamy sauce that while isn't rich in cheese taste, it actually does taste like real cheese and not some chemically, powdery cheese mix. (Although, I confess that with these cravings, some days KD sounds really good!) I created this recipe with a basic recall of what she used to put in it.

To start you'll need to make a Bechamel Sauce. Huh? What? Bechamel is a classic white sauce used in many, many dishes. I modified mine to make sure I got the consistency I needed. Just a note, that a traditional bechamel uses onion or garlic but I've omitted it. If you look up recipes, you'll see what they do with it if you want to add it.

1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup of flour
3 cups of milk
3 cups grated cheese (sharp Cheddar, Monterrey jack, Gouda- use one or a mix- play, have fun!)
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
1 tbsp ground pepper
1/2 tbsp paprika
2 cups dried macaroni (or other shaped pasta), cooked and drained
2 cups diced ham (I use a ham steak and heat it briefly in a pan to cut the final cooking time down)
1- 1 1/2 cups frozen peas
2 cups cubed whole wheat/ grain bread
3 tbsp butter or margarine

Preheat oven to 375 F.

1. Melt butter in a saucepan on medium-low heat. Add flour and whisk constantly. Cook the roux for a few minutes. Add milk and whisk until incorporated. Heat until hot, stirring occasionally. Take off heat.
2. Add cheese and whisk until well mixed. Stir in salt, pepper and paprika.
3. In a large casserole dish put in pasta, peas and ham. Stir in cheese sauce.
4. In a frying pan, melt the last amount of butter. Add cubed bread and stir until well coated.
5. Cover casserole with bread.
6. Bake in oven until bubbly and bread is toasted brown (about 15-20 mins).

Another simple home cooked meal from my home to yours. Enjoy!

Check out what cooking at other's bloggers' homes here.


bubbledragon said...

Oh my goodness, this looks fabulous. I have never managed to get home made mac and cheese right, ever, so this is just perfect. Thank you for sharing it. *drool*

Photogrl said...


That looks amazing...and I love that it has ham and a veggie in it, so it's an entire meal!

Carrie said...

1. YUM!
2. I just read your awesome news- congrats on the BEAN!!!! :)
3. I love our area of the world, too.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I hope your pregnancy is full of joy and health.

Carrie :)

Dave said...

What do you charge for catering? :)

Coffeegrl said...

Oh my stomach is totally rumbling now!

WiseGuy said...

Looks mouthwatering...totally yum.

You inspire me to.............eat.

WiseGuy said...

Dave stole my question!

Pundelina said...

Yum, I'll be making that for the Little Guy asap :o)

Congrats on the Bean, hope everything goes smoothly for you.

I have FM too and found that when I was pregnant all my symptoms disappeared. They didn't come back for about 2 years after the Little Guy was born and I really hope you get a nice long pain-free time to.

*T* said...

Yum! I like that it has ham in it- will have to write down the recipe for dinner sometime. Thanks for sharing!

Melissa said...

i saw this pic last night and your blog wouldn't show up i was so ticked! The picture just made me want to read and make it immediately...i'm seriously drooling...

Thanks for the recipe!!

infertilityrocks said...

My mouth is watering...yum!!!! Thanks for giving us the recipe...can you come to my house and cook it, too?


battynurse said...

Looks yummy!!

Mrs. Olson said...

That literally made my mouth water! Looks fantastic!!

Beautiful Mess said...

That looks DELICIOUS! I've been trying out a bunch of new recipes and expanding my cooking. I'm going to have to put this into my rotation and see how it's received. Thank you for sharing the pictures and the recipe. Congratulations on Bean! I peeked at your ultrasound pictures, YAY for a strong heartbeat!

Kristin said...

That looks delicious. I saved the recipe.

Mrs. Gamgee said...

You may yet convince me that mac and cheese is an edible food source :). It looks really good... and I know my beloved would be thrilled if I made it. Thanks for sharing!

Wishing 4 One said...

Um, yum.

I also do bechamel sauce alot here and in Egypt.

There is a traditonal dish here thats uses macaroni and ground beef and is baked topped with bechamel so its crispy on top and oossing bechamel in middle. If you want recipe let me know. My mom calls it "Egyptian Casserole", LOL!

JamieD said...

Mmmm . . . oh that looks delicious. I could be comforted by that for DAYS!