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Macaroni and cheese your way

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Another long, cold winter day. As the temperature plummets, what could be more soothing than your favourite comfort food for dinner? For many of us that’s something creamy, delicious and somewhat decadent, such as a bowl full of gooey mac ‘n’ cheese.

Macaroni and cheese

There are many premade, frozen or boxed brands on the market, but for something truly special, try a home-made mac & cheese right out of your own kitchen. It’s easy to whip up and by simply adding in a few of your favourite ingredients you can create something as unique and wonderful as you are. Don’t be shy! Just follow this basic recipe, then let your imagination —and taste buds — soar.

Simple and easy mac & cheese

4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups macaroni
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon of hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 cups grated aged or sharp cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. Follow package instructions and cook macaroni al dente, then drain.
  2. While the macaroni is cooking, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook for one minute.
  3. Gradually whisk in milk and mustard. Continue to cook, whisking often, until thickened. Add cheese and hot sauce, stirring until smooth. Pour in drained macaroni and mix.
  4. Choose your add-ins from the selections below, or design your own personal creation. It’s your mac & cheese, after all!

Some flavour boosters are:

  • Quattro Fromagio and beyond — Venture into the unknown by substituting part or all of the cheddar with whatever cheese you have on hand, or your personal favourites. Parmiagiano Reggiano, extra old white cheddar, asiago and gruyere are wonderfully strong flavours, while Monterey jack, fontina or provolone are great milder ones. Goat’s cheese, feta, and aged gouda can a add nice flavour punch. A word of caution: Stronger cheeses can easily become the predominant flavour in your dish, so be careful when substituting blue-veined or smoked varieties, adding only add to taste.
  • Macaroni primavera — A basic mac ‘n’ cheese is crying out for the addition of veggies to make the meal complete. Cook or grill them ahead of time, then mix them right in. Great choices to try are broccoli, asparagus, spinach, peas, corn, cauliflower, caramelized onions, sauteed garlic, peppers or mushrooms. Add in your favourites, grate some parmesan on top and hear your taste buds sing.
  • Make mine a meat lovers‘ — Salami, spicy Italian and smokies are all sausages we know and love; bacon, hamburger and ham are all meats we know and love — so add them in and make yourself happy. Of course, fully cook them, first.

Even more add-ins to try are:

  • drained tuna, finely chopped green onion and peas
  • black beans, corn, chopped cilantro; serve with salsa
  • beef or bean chili, chopped green chilies or jalapenos; top with a Mexican cheese blend and crushed tortilla chips
  • wilted spinach and cooked shrimp
  • caramelized onions and mini meatballs
  • cream cheese, smoked salmon, capers, minced red onion
  • pepper jack cheese, shredded rotisserie chicken; top with hot sauce and blue cheese crumbles
  • marinated tofu
  • sliced hot dogs and barbecue sauce

More mac ‘n’ cheese recipes

Baked pumpkin mac n cheese
Southern comfort recipes: Macaroni and cheese
Tonight’s dinner: Bacon and chicken mac & cheese

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