Dinners

An Outrageous Macaroni and Cheese from a Boring Friday Night

For the last few weeks, my weekends have been full of plans. This party Friday night, that show on Saturday night, another get-together next Friday night, you get the idea. I’ve been loving it, but this past Friday, a friend and I found ourselves in my parents’ kitchen, without any plans, pondering what to make for dinner on a chilly Fall night. All of our parents were shocked!


One thing that I very much appreciate about living at home again is the always stocked pantry and fridge. It’s like going grocery shopping every time I open the refrigerator and it’s free. I am finally that college kid who has a real appreciation for their parents’ amount of food. So, Lydia and I went ‘shopping’. When I opened the refrigerator, the cheese tray began calling to me. We decided upon Macaroni and Cheese.
We decided to top it with breadcrumbs and bake it in the oven!
My parents had a nice array of cheese for our dinner endeavor. Lydia and I wanted a gooey, sharp and tangy macaroni and cheese so we chose to use American, Sharp Cheddar and Colby Jack.
We had to shred the Colby Jack cheese ourselves because my parents had bought it in a block so that they could eat it with crackers for their fancy pre-dinner drink hour when company comes over. My parents also still had their Halloween dishware out and I could not resist using it one last time before they were packed away again. 
 
Lydia and I cooked some shell noodles to al dente…

..and then strained them and added a few tablespoons of butter to the pot they were cooking in.

We stirred the noodles around in the butter to get them coated… 

…and then we poured in some milk. 

Then came the cheese! We started melting the American cheese so that everything would get good and gooey.

Next we added the Sharp Cheddar cheese to make the cheese flavor deeper and fuller.

Then came the Colby Jack for the super sharp and tangy tones. I wanted this Macaroni and Cheese to have an in-your-face-cheesy kick! Colby Jack always gets that job done. Lydia and I had kept the burner on at a low to medium heat through this whole process, stirring the macaroni around constantly so that none of it burned.

Can you see the slight difference in color with each addition of cheese?

I decided that Lydia and I should go all-out on this macaroni and cheese for this boring Friday night. We had already added enough cheese to call it outrageous, but why just stop with the cheese inside? If we didn’t have anywhere to go and nothing to look pretty for, then we could spend the night watching 90s teen sitcoms, reveling in our food comas. I decided to step it up a little. I lined a baking dish with butter and spread the macaroni around. I topped the macaroni with a little more cheese and a nice sprinkling of breadcrumbs.

We broiled it for 5-7 minutes, but I think that next time I make this, I will brown it a little longer. I was afraid that the macaroni would start to burn on the top, but there wasn’t much of that lovely brown on the outer sides of the dish, which there would have been if I had left it in the oven longer.

Lydia and I served ourselves some of this gorgeous and outrageous macaroni and cheese into more Halloween bowls. I got to use the Boo bowl!

This Macaroni and Cheese was exactly what that Friday night needed. As I began eating it, my night became more and more interesting. The cheese was perfectly gooey, and the flavors of the cheese swirled around my taste buds and grew in intensity as I chewed. This was a boldly cheesy Macaroni and Cheese. I could taste the creaminess of the American cheese, the robust flavor of the Cheddar and the tang of the Colby Jack. The toasted breadcrumb topping added a wonderful texture against the melty pasta and cheese. This macaroni made my boring Friday night memorable. Hopefully it will make a boring night more interesting for you as well!

Recipe for Boring Night Mac N’ Cheese
 
1/2 box small pasta (elbows, shells, rigatoni etc.)
3/4 cup milk, divided into 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup
1 cup Sharp Cheddar cheese
4-5 slices American cheese
3/4 cup Colby Jack cheese
3 tablespoons of butter, plus more for lining the pan with
A large handful of breadcrumbs
 
Cook pasta to al dente and strain. Leave the pasta out of the pot and add the butter to the pot. Add the pasta and coat it in the butter, then add the 1/2 cup milk. Keep the burner on a low heat to warm the milk and combine it with the butter. Tear the American cheese into small to medium strips or bits and stir them around into the macaroni and milk. When the American cheese has all melted, add the Cheddar cheese. Continue to stir and keep on low to medium heat. If the macaroni and cheese seems like it needs more milk, add the other 1/4 cup now. Add the Colby Jack cheese and stir until it has all melted.
 
Line a baking dish with butter and spread the macaroni around evenly. Top with extra cheese and breadcrumbs. Broil in the oven for 5-10 minutes.
 
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