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Before we dive into this week’s Homestyle Mac and Cheese… Did you get a chance to check out last week’s Butternut Mac and Cheese? If you’re allergic to nuts or want to sneak some extra veggies into your kids’ diets, swap in the Butternut Mac for the Basic Mac I’m using in today’s recipe! The sauce tip I mention goes for both versions of mac! Alright, here we go!
“I’m a mac and cheese freak. Homemade or from the blue box, I’m not picky!” -Candy Crowley
If you’re like me (and apparently Ms. Crowley), you had two kinds of mac and cheese when you were growing up. The blue box kind and the “Company’s Coming” homestyle mac and cheese. The powdered (is that real) cheese with almost elbow shaped pasta from the box vs. real grated cheese topped with breadcrumbs or crackers, that only made an appearance at the table when someone was coming over for dinner.
I have to admit, I do the same thing… sort of. I will make my basic mac and cheese until I’m blue in the face for my own dinner or for my family. But when I am entertaining a crowd or hosting Friendsgiving, I’ll bust out this baked version and watch the casserole dish’s contents disappear quicker than it took me to fill up!
I hosted about fourteen people for a Friendsgiving two years ago and it was a blast! Everything I made was vegan (my kitchen, my rules) and I invited a bunch of coworkers from the restaurants in which I was working. Along with this homestyle mac and cheese, I had just about every classic Thanksgiving dish you can imagine.
The trick to keeping this version creamy like it is straight from the stove is by thinning out the sauce. Then just quickly broiling the casserole until golden brown. The more the sauce cooks the thicker it gets and then it’s not as silky and creamy as you’ll want it to be. Hence, the addition of water or non-dairy milk and a little more oil
For the topping, I like to use either bread crumbs or crumbled buttery crackers mixed with melted butter, garlic powder, and lots of black pepper. If I’m feeling extra fancy, I’ll add some dairy free shredded cheddar cheese and Parmesan.
I’m excited to share next week’s recipe with you because it’s about to get funky! We are branching away from tried and true standard Mac and Cheese. Safe to say this one’s going to have a bit of a “Spin”… It’s Spinach and Artichoke Mac and Cheese! See you next Monday!
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