Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Southern Plate -- Creamy Macaroni and Cheese



I asked Dennis to pick out the cookbook for this week, and he chose this one, Southern Plate.  This one came from the library book sale for the library where I used to work  The weird thing about the book is that it's not really. . .organized in any particular manner.  There are chicken recipes beside pie recipes beside recipes for iced tea.  

I don't really get it, but probably, that's the way a Southern cookbook should be:  Kind of lackadaisical, a little out of order, carbtastic, and delicious.

Velveeta isn't something I use a lot of, but when I made this recipe, I forgot why.  I don't think any other kind of cheese (or "cheese") could have been used in this to make it as good as it turned out.  It lasted for a little while, and I had the last little bit of it covered in tomato soup for lunch one day.  Really, really tasty. 

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese
Serves 2 for several meals or 6 for one meal


Ingredients


2 cups dry macaroni
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
2 cups cubed Velveeta
1 tsp. Cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste

The ingredients in this were really easy to remember (2 of everything), but then I went and cayenne'd it up.  You could add 2 tsp. if you really wanted, but I found it was good with just the one.  I also found a couple lonely tomatoes in the fridge after I'd taken the ingredient picture and decided to slice them on top.  It made a nice addition.

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package, about a minute less than you would for it to be completely done, the drain well.

In a bowl (microwave-safe, please), melt the butter (in the microwave.)  Stir in the flour, then stir in the milk. Season with as much salt and pepper as you'd like.  Put in the Velveeta, and microwave the mixture at short intervals until the cheese ("cheese") is melted, stirring after each bout in the microwave.

The cookbook suggested microwaving this mixture in 30-second intervals, but I found I don't have that kind of patience, and I tended to do it for a minute or so each time.  Note:  It is going to seem like you're doing this FOREVER, that it's never going to end, and that the dang Velveeta is never going to liquefy to a good place.  Trust me.  It's all worth it in the end.

Once everything's melted, stir in the macaroni.  

Put the mixture in a casserole dish (I used an 8x8) and bake.  Check at 20 minutes to see if it's become bubbly and if it's begun to brown around the edges.  I ended up baking mine for 35 minutes, so your baking time may vary.

When I took it out of the oven, it didn't look like it was going to solidify in the way macaroni and cheese needs to, but after it sat for a while, it was awesome.