Day 37: Cooking

Mmmm. I love mac n' cheese. However, whenever I make anything that takes over 24 hours to prepare and cook -- I feel like a woman.

And when I make something that calls for Gruyere cheese -- that makes me feel like a chef. But I can't take all the credit as this was a labor of love that my fiance and I made. Or, I'll pretend that I participated while I just took pictures... Haha, but seriously -- I love cooking!

After blending milk, garlic, sharp cheddar + gruyere, cream cheese, egg, paprika, salt, pepper, and onion (scallions for me! I hate onions), you fold it into cooked penne pasta and refrigerate it for 24 hours like so:

Then you bring it to room temperature when you're ready to cook it, OR, you end up forgetting about that pesky step and decide to have the oven help you bring it to room temperature. I promise I won't tell. And no, it didn't ruin it.

Then melt butter, sprinkle crumbled crackers over the casserole, and add the butter on top like woah -- er, so:

Is that chicken broth?! Oh no, Paula, that's BUTTER

umm.. that piece looks a little green but it's actually the bowl's shadow -- weird! :)

Bake 20-25 minutes at 350

And once it starts looking thick & creamy and golden like so:

Start serving

And enjoying!

Here is the actual recipe via NPR!

Serves 4 and doubles easily.

  • 1/2 pound (2 cups ) raw penne pasta, cooked and drained
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 3/4 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 generous cup (5 ounces) shredded good quality, extra-sharp cheddar cheese
  • 5 ounces cream cheese, crumbled
  • 2/3 cup (3 ounces) shredded Gruyere cheese
  • Generous 1/8 teaspoon each hot red pepper flakes, salt, and freshly ground black pepper
  • Generous 1/4 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 12 saltines, coarsely crumbled

1. Preheat oven to 350. Butter a shallow 1 1/2 quart baking dish, and add cooked macaroni.

2. In a blender or food processor combine egg, milk, and garlic, and process 3 seconds. Add onion, cheeses, peppers, salt, and paprika, and blend 10 seconds. Turn into dish, folding into macaroni. Casserole could be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated up to 24 hours at this point.

3. To bake, bring casserole close to room temperature. Melt butter in a small saucepan. Coat crackers with butter and spread over top of casserole. Bake about 20 to 25 minutes, or until thick yet creamy. If top is not golden, slip under broiler for a minute. Remove from oven, let stand about 5 minutes, and serve.

-- Go light on the cream cheese. This dish is definitely thick! I had some pounds to regain after Thursday and I would say this helped.

"Age to women is like Kryptonite to Superman." -Kathy Lette, age-conscious author
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