Quick what just came to mind? Tonight for me it was macaroni and cheese. It’s been FOREVER since I had macaroni and cheese. Warm, melted gooey goodness dripping off a fork.
Today was Monday and ugh what a Monday. Nothing in particular really MADE it an Ugh Monday; it just was. Therefore I wasn’t in the mood to cook. I mean really get down and deep in my kitchen kinda cooking you know what I mean?
I needed something quick and for me that means anything that can be prepped and cooked in an hour or so. When you cook everything from scratch, rarely do I find anything that takes me less than 30 mins. I tried, really I did but well, I haven’t been successful with that yet. I simply can not bring myself to buy pre-prepared food in a bag or a box or a little plastic container that says “Just pour”. I did that and I remember all too well where THAT landed me; Unhappy with food and downright miserable in my kitchen.
And I just don’t have the energy to talk about the ingredients in most of that stuff. Can you say “Mad Science!?” That’s a whole other story and you’re welcome to dive into the whole ugly business in my “Why Butter” page. For tonight I just wanted quick but comforting and sitting at my computer “macaroni and cheese” came to me like a warm blanket wrapping itself around me on a cold night.
Rummaged through the freezer and fridge and there on the shelf were the blocks of cheeses I bought on a whim a few weeks ago. Cheeses from Italy and France, Ireland and Switzerland, Holland and yes even Milwaukee Wisconsin.
I had my muse.
I’ve always wanted to travel around the world and although I have yet to begin, I think tonight’s dinner comes close…kinda.
Okay, here’s the dealio. If you don’t have a smorgasbord of cheeses on hand or perhaps a little tight in the purse strings, no problem it’s just a very worldly version of your every day Mac & Cheese. Good old Cheddar works just find by itself. You really can’t go wrong (except maybe with some Longaberger, I don’t recommend it).
Mix up any of the cheeses you have and see what you create. Stop by and let me know if you find a perfectly ambrosia combination.
- 3 C. Rotini, Penne or other bite size pasta; uncooked
- ½ C. Butter
- ¼ C. All-purpose flour
- ½ tsp. Salt
- ¼ tsp Pepper
- ¼ tsp Dry mustard
- ¼ tsp Paprika
- ¼ tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 C. Milk
- 1 C. Heavy cream
- 1 C. Sharp cheddar cheese, grated.
- ½ C. Swiss cheese
- ½ C. Gruyere cheese
- ½ C. Dubliner cheese
- ¼ C. Romano cheese
- ½ C. Panko bread crumbs
- 2 C. Broccoli florets quartered
- 1½ C Fresh ham diced to about ½ inch
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Grate all cheeses and set aside.
- In small bowl, combine Romano and bread crumbs. Set aside.
- In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente.
- Lightly butter a two quart casserole dish and spread the ham in a layer at the bottom of the dish.
- In a second layer add the broccoli florets adding more if needed or desired.
- In separate large sauce pan melt butter over low heat.
- Whisk in flour, salt, pepper, mustard, cayenne and Worcestershire sauce. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly; remove from heat.
- Stir in milk and heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute or until thickened. remove from heat.
- Stir in cheese until melted. The milk may be hot enough to melt the cheese on it\'s own. If not add pot back to a low heat stove stirring constantly to avoid clumping or over cooking.
- Drain macaroni and gently add into cheese sauce. Stir to combine completely.
- Pour into casserole dish. Bake uncovered until bubbly, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.