I don’t know about you, but I have always loved macaroni and cheese. My mom never made “box” mac and cheese, so when I grew up and had a family of my own, I always made homemade too. I always think of this dish as the classic comfort food. I am going to be honest here. I used to cut up hot dogs, stir them in and bake it in the oven. Offer up a little side salad, and that was dinner. It was always very busy in our household. When my kids were young, I was working as a preschool teacher and teaching aerobics at a local gym 3-5 days a week. We had after school sports (practice, games etc.). I’m sure this sounds all too familiar to so many!!
Flash forward, and I still love this delicious comfort food. I love adding tomatoes or cooked broccoli (whatever veggie you like). This mac and cheese is a twist on my classic recipe. I added scallions, olive oil, water, and lemon juice. Also, I use shredded cheddar instead of gruyere. Let’s get started:)!
2 cups of your favorite pasta
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (28 grams)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (18 grams)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (27 grams)
1 tablespoon thinly sliced scallions, white part only
1/4 cup water (59 grams)
1 1/4 cups milk
1 cup shredded cheddar gruyere cheese (110 grams)
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper to taste
Cook pasta and set aside while you make the (roux) bechamel sauce.
Melt the butter over a medium/high heat in a small saucepan. Add the flour and whisk to make a paste. Continue to cook for about a minute, stirring constantly, until the raw flour aroma is gone. Take the roux off the heat and set aside.
Add the olive oil and scallions to a large skillet and cook over a low heat for 2-3 minutes until the scallions have softened. Increase the temperature and add the water and milk to the olive oil/scallion mixture. Bring to a simmer and whisk in the roux. Continue to cook until the bechamel becomes thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Take mixture off the heat and add the cheese, lemon juice and season (to taste).
Add the cheese mixture to the cooked pasta and stir to coat.
I added sliced cherry tomatoes and sprinkled seasoned panko bread crumbs on top. This is optional, but I highly recommend it! Enjoy!!
I hope you make this delicious “grown up” mac and cheese. If you do, please tag me on Instagram @goodeatsbymimi. I’d love to hear from you and see your photos!
I associate going to the beach with snacks. Oh, who am I kidding, I associate everything with snacks:)! I purchased some adorable miniature nautical cutters on Amazon a few weeks ago. I had grand visions of using them to make cute little cupcake toppers (they are twirling around in my head with all my other grand visions). My fellow foodies know what I’m talking about, right?
I have been wanting to make homemade cheese crackers, so I thought “Why not use those little cutters you ordered?”. I had some cheese powder I wanted to use and I’m glad I did. It really enhances the cheezie flavor!
So if you have a rainy day and you want to check making homemade cheese crackers off your list, give these a try. You don’t have to use shaped cutters. You can use a sharp knife or pizza cutter to make little squares to look like those cheese crackers you buy in a box (only your homemade crackers will taste so much better…just saying!).
Whisk the flour, cheese powder, salt, paprika, and garlic powder in a medium bowl. Add the cubed butter and place in the freezer until ready to use.
Grate the cheese (I use a box grater). Transfer the cheese to the flour mixture in a food processer.
Pulse to a coarse crumb, about 10 (1-second) pulses.
Add the water and process until the dough forms a ball, (this takes about 20 seconds).
Remove the dough from the food processor and form into a rectangle. Place between 2 sheets of parchment paper and roll out to a 12×16-inch rectangle that is 1/8-inch thick so that it just fits onto a standard baking sheet.
Slide the dough, still sandwiched between parchment, onto a baking sheet. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350°F.
Remove the top sheet of parchment paper and use it to line a second baking sheet. If you want to square crackers, use a ruler and a pizza cutter to cut 1-inch squares in the dough. Use a toothpick to make a hole in the center of each cracker. This will keep the crackers from puffing up in the center. Alternatively, cut shapes out with mini cookie cutters like I did.
Use a bench scraper or mini offset spatula to transfer about half of the crackers to the other parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving 1/4- to 1/2-inch between each cracker.
Refrigerate the remaining cracker dough. Sprinkle the crackers very lightly with salt if desired. Bake until the corners and the bottoms of the crackers are lightly browned and the tops appear dry, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the crackers to a cooling rack. (If you used cookie cutters, gather the dough scraps, re-roll, and cut out more crackers.) Repeat with baking the remaining dough.
To make sure your crackers stay crisp after baking, consolidate them onto 1 baking sheet. Return them to the cooling oven and allow them to “dry” for 6-8 hours. Store crackers in an airtight container.
I hope you make these crackers, and if you do, please tag me on Instagram @goodeatsbymimi. I would love to hear from you and see your photos:).