Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Make Ahead M-M-M-Mac 'n' Cheese



I'm one of many bloggers (73 last count) across the country who are all posting a mac 'n' cheese recipe at the same time today!

More info at the bottom of this page...



I was tickled when I saw the recipe for this creamy...dreamy..MAKE AHEAD TOO! macaroni & cheese at Jane Doiron's Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms recently....a guest post by Comfy Cuisine.

My daughter's 5 mo. old son, Sam, had colon surgery in mid-August, and I planned to spend a week with them as he was recovering. They live nearly 3 hours away.

I love to fix make ahead meals for Deb and family, so she can just pull things out of the freezer and have a nutritious meal for dinner on busy busy days.

SO...I took this recipe along with me and it sure was delicious! We enjoyed one dishfull for dinner the day I made it, and the other one went into the freezer. 

I would never have guessed you could freeze mac 'n' cheese!

I shredded the cheese myself.  Sometimes the pre-shredded won't melt smoothly, and I like smoooooth!!!

I made a white sauce and cooked it over the stove per directions. I was tickled when a long distance friend called just then cause I had time to stand and visit while I stirred.  *_*

Then I stirred that yummy cheese into the sauce until it melted together.  MMMMM!

All of us really REALLY liked the crunchy topping!
It was perfect for the soft and smooth mac 'n' cheese.

M-M-M-Marvelous Mac 'n Cheese!

I lined one of her baking dishes with foil and poured the rest of the mac 'n' cheese in it..when it was cooled to room temp, I placed it in the freezer until frozen, then removed the dish and wrapped the mac 'n cheese tightly in the foil.  (Directions below)

Make-Ahead Macaroni and Cheese from Comfy Cuisine

2 microwave-safe 8-inch square baking dishes for this recipe
4 slices white sandwich bread, torn into pieces
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove, minced
8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
Salt and Pepper
1 lb. elbow macaroni (I used mini penne)
6 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
4-1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
4 cups shredded colby cheese
2 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese

Process topping: Pulse bread, Parmesan, garlic and 2 Tbsp. butter in food processor until coarsely ground. Divide crumb mixture between 2 zip-lock freezer bags and freeze.

Cook pasta: Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot over high heat. Add 1 Tbsp. salt and macaroni and cook until barely softened, about 3 minutes (important to avoid mushy blown-out macaroni). Drain pasta, then spread out on rimmed baking sheet and let cool.
Make sauce: Heat remaining butter, flour, mustard and cayenne (if using) in empty pot over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until golden and fragrant; about 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in broth and cream and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Off heat, whisk in colby, cheddar, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper until smooth.

Freeze: Stir cooled pasta into sauce, breaking up any clumps until well combined. Divide pasta mixture between two 8-inch square baking dishes. Cool to room temperature. Wrap dishes tightly with plastic, cover with foil, and freeze for up to 2 months.

Bake: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Remove foil from casserole and reserve. Microwave casserole until mixture is thawed and beginning to bubble around edges, 7 to 12 minutes, stirring and replacing plastic halfway through cooking. Discard plastic and cover pan with reserved foil. Bake 20 minutes, then remove foil and sprinkle with 1 bag frozen bread crumbs. Continue to bake until crumbs are golden brown and crisp, about 20 minutes longer. Let cool 10 minutes.

OOPS - there's a picture of Sam!  HOW DID THAT GET HERE?  ;-}

Isn't he just a dollbug?  He's a redhead - it runs in our family.

He did GREAT after surgery...recovered very nicely. This pix was taken a week post-surgery. He's a very happy little guy.

The look on his face kinda makes one think he's saying..'I'm in charge here!" *_*

Won't be long and he'll be enjoying mac 'n' cheese with the family too!  He just cut his first tooth this week!

Linked to Tina's Crazy Cooking Challenge


Linked to Sunday Funday