Mac n’ Cheese Mini-Series Part IV: Variations on the Classic

26May09

mac n cheese pizzaMore American than Apple Pie, classic Macaroni and Cheese is a family tradition that spans the regions of our country. In the south, we’ll find variations included fried macaroni and cheese balls (locally you can find them on the kids menu at the Blazing Onion in Mill Creek) or casseroles studded with various pork bits. Pictured here, those southerners also whipped up a macaroni and cheese pizza, served up at Cici’s. California is just the place you’d fine a mac made spicy Mexican inspired or layered in with tomato and avocado slices. I bet those Neely’s wouldn’t hesitate to make a mac BBQ style, adding in spice rub, homemade BBQ sauce and shreds of pork.

macaroni and cheese meatloafIf you’re looking to create a unique version for your own family, you can take the subtle approach and add savory flavours to your bechamel, like Worcestershire sauce, garlic (raw/roasted) or spicy mustard. But if you’re a true foodie, and want a fun ways to present your mac, I found that somebody made a meatloaf where macaroni and cheese is layered in the middle. If you’re looking to recapture the palette of your youth, try adding bits of hot dog chunks and American cheese. Be sure to also serve it up with bottle of Heinz. If that piques your interest, you could venture out to try other mystery meats, like pepperoni, bologna or Spam – though I’d recommend frying your meat nuggets before you toss them in the dish. Fancy pants should go the route of prosciutto or pancetta.

ranch dip mixFor those seeking a more exotic mac and cheese adventure, I suggest trying to theme it up a bit. Try a ranch version, using white cheeses and adding a packet of dry ranch dip to your sauce and your topping. You can go green with herbs (or pesto) – consider basil, sage (fried – yum!), mary jane (why not) or lame old parsley. Food Network had a contest where a guy made a French Onion Mac n Cheese version, featuring caramelized onions, Gruyère and beef stock (note the comments say the recipe is a bit time consuming, but I’m sure you can make it better). Chili Mac is another popular version, whether you choose a can of Nally’s or just sprinkle in onions, chili powder and ground meat.

Of course I would ignore any versions which suggest you can healthy up your mac by adding in veggies, whether hidden (like cauliflower or squash puree) or dropped into your dish in big pieces (mushrooms, broccoli or peas). It sounds about as appetizing (yet equally as nauseating) as a Dairy Queen zucchini Blizzard. And I’d rather eat dirt than a vegan mac n cheese version conjured up in a witch’s cauldron, where the creepy under-nourished hag stirs in tofu, spider webs and soy milk, resulting in a casserole smoldering with foul stench of an old school bus.

For those looking for more ideas, there’s a few mac and cheese web sites, like those looking to sell dumb books , watch some dumb ass whip up Chocolate Mac or a recipe site boasting 60 versions, but none of them looked worthy of a revisit, so click at your risk.

Lastly, we need to mention macaroni and cheese on day 2, for those who fail to be awarded with the Clean Plate Club patch. Should you actually have any leftovers, it’s imperative that you add more butter for a second trip in the heat (microwave works, but toaster oven saves your crunchy top). Pasta dries out and needs a good buttery boost the second time around. Even better, try one of your themes to create an all-new sensation for your taste buds. Even boxed mac can be sexed up tomorrow with a scoop of pesto, a couple dollops of herbed cream cheese and a few nuggets of butter. Or how about some roasted garlic, bits of sun-dried tomatoes and a new layer of Romano shreds. Whatever you do, make it your own, and invite a fatty.

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One Response to “Mac n’ Cheese Mini-Series Part IV: Variations on the Classic”

  1. 1 Travellady

    What happened to mac n cheese with tomato bits and bacon????


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