“Grown Up” Mac and Cheese

 

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:)!

Ingredients:

  • 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

Instructions:

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!

 

Homemade Cheese Crackers

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The cool beach tote in this picture was designed by my son David. Check out his Instagram page @davidmacomber_dotcom

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!).

        Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (120 grams)
  • 1/4 cup cheddar cheese powder (24 grams)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed (63 grams)
  • Extra-sharp cheddar cheese, (173 grams) preferably orange
  • 3 tablespoons ice water
  • Kosher salt, for sprinkling (optional)

    Instructions:

    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.

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    Add the water and process until the dough forms a ball, (this takes about 20 seconds).

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    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.

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    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.

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    Look at all that yumminess!

    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:).

 

Savory Galette

How can something so rustic taste so amazing?!!
A galette is a French pastry that’s similar to a pie or a tart.  Basically, it’s pastry dough that’s wrapped over a filling (either fruit or vegetables and cheese).  Like pastry, this free- form pie doesn’t require any fancy pie plates or special pans, just a flat surface for baking (like a cookie sheet).

Crust Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (190 grams)
  • 1/4 cup (28g) cheese powder, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped, optional
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped (I use Greek thyme), optional
  • 8 tablespoons (113g) unsalted butter, frozen and grated
  • 5 to 6 tablespoons (70g to 85g) water,  ice cold

Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 large zucchini, sliced into 1/4″ discs
  • 2 teaspoons herb seasoning*
  • 1/2 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3/4 cup (170g) ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest, optional
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 egg yolk beaten (with 2 teaspoons of water)

Make the crust:

Grate the frozen butter and place in the freezer until ready for use.

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Whisk together the dry ingredients.  Add the freshly chopped herbs to the dry ingredients (if you are using them, this is optional).

Work the butter into the flour mixture until crumbly. 

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Drizzle in 5 tablespoons of water, stirring gently until everything is evenly moistened; add the final tablespoon of water if necessary to make a cohesive dough.  Don’t overwork your dough or it will lose it’s flakiness.

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Pat the dough into a disk, wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

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Make the filling:

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease two baking sheets (or line with parchment paper).

Slice the zucchini into 1/4 inch discs, and cut tomatoes in half.

Place the zucchini slices on one pan and sprinkle with seasoning mix.

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Place the tomato halves on the second pan and sprinkle with seasoning mix.

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Roast the zucchini and tomatoes until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes for the zucchini and 10 to 15 minutes for the tomatoes.

Remove the zucchini and tomatoes from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.

Combine the ricotta, salt, pepper, lemon zest, and egg in a bowl.  Refrigerate until ready.

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On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough into a 12″ circle.

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Transfer the dough to a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Spread the ricotta mixture over the dough, leaving a 2″-wide bare strip along the perimeter.

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Sprinkle the goat cheese on top of the ricotta, grate on 1/2 the parmesan cheese, then shingle the zucchini slices over the cheese and place the tomato halves on top.

Fold the bare edges of the dough into the center.

Brush the edges of the crust with egg wash, and sprinkle the remaining Parmesan over the whole galette.

Bake the galette for 25 to 30 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.

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Remove the galette from the oven and allow it to cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!!!

*Herb seasoning

1 teaspoon each:

  • dried oregano
  • dried basil
  • dried onion flakes
  • garlic powder
  • thyme
  • fennel seeds
  • paprika
  • black pepper
  • Himalayan sea salt

Stir together in a small bowl.  Save leftover seasoning in an airtight container for later use.

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Seasoning Mix

I hope you make this delicious galette.  If you do, please tag me on Instagram @goodeatsbymimi.  I would love to hear from you and see your pictures:)!