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Friday, June 24, 2022

Mac & Cheese Easy Baked

Searching Mac & Cheese easy baked?  Oh, how easy is this baked Mac & Cheese?  So easy!  




If you asked me 20 years ago if I liked Mac & Cheese, hands down, I would have eagerly bobbed my head yes and asked who doesn't like it?  These days?  It's not my favorite.  I find I am more partial to rice dishes than pasta for some reason.


Did my palate mature?  The world may never know... I am thinking it has more to do with my allergies than anything else.    
 

Do you love Mac & Cheese?   I know so many folks who do, and I am always like oh hum... but this week I made a Mac & Cheese and it got my attention.  I was like hmm... this is not your ordinary old Mac & Cheese, and I liked it.


Maybe it is because I no longer buy milk, and our recipes are all made with almond milk these days... I am not sure, but the old tried and true Mac & Cheese just lands flat for me for some reason.  I can tell you that when some recipes call for milk, almond milk does not always perform in the same capacity as your ole' run of the mill milk does.  It may be just me, but there seems to be something that is just a little off sometimes.  Let me clarify, it only happens with some recipes, not all of them.  Maybe you can tell me your thoughts if you use almond milk?  


You see, I had buttermilk in the fridge.  I just purchased it last week, and it was going to expire on Tuesday so I thought I need to get that out of the fridge stat!  I hate being wasteful so I decided let's try Mac & Cheese with buttermilk instead of milk or almond milk as I would have made it.




Do you know how much Mr. VS loves Mac & Cheese and how over the moon he was when I got my daily text of what's for dinner and he received a reply, Mac & Cheese?  I thought he may hop in the car and blow off work for dinner ASAP.  He was that excited.


Maybe I should try buttering him up with Mac & Cheese when I would like to work on a project or need help with something...  just thinking out loud here.  I have always heard the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, there just may be some truth to that afterall.   


More recipes available below:
  

This is a baked Mac & Cheese recipe you say?  Yep!  Thought you said it was easy?  Oh, it is super easy!  Just dump your ingredients in a bowl, mix in cooked pasta, put in a baking dish, and throw in the oven.  Oh, you may want to set the timer so you can walk away for 45 minutes and just forget about it while you take a nap do laundry.  We all know how much you deserve that nap, but in the end the laundry will most likely win.  I can keep a secret if you can, just tell the family you slaved over this dish all night, plus were able to fit in the laundry.  You will be seen as the Super Hero you are afterall!    

What you will need:
  1. 1 box of gluten free penne noodles (or whatever noodles you prefer, if you are not GF, you can use regular noodles too)
  2.  3 1/2 cups of shredded Monterey jack and cheddar cheese, mixed evenly together, you can purchase it already shredded together to make life easier for yourself
  3. 2 1/2 cups of buttermilk
  4. 6 eggs
  5. 1 stick of butter (melted)
  6. Salt and pepper to taste




What you will need to do:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Fill pan with water, and bring to a rolling boil
  3. Add penne noodles to boiling water
  4. Stir thoroughly to keep from sticking to the pot
  5. Cook for 5 minutes
  6. Remove from stovetop
  7. Drain water
  8. Set aside
  9. In large bowl, whisk eggs
  10. Mix remaining ingredients together, stir well  
  11. Add in noodles, stir well
  12. Place in 13x9 baking dish
  13. Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees 
  14. Remove from oven
  15. ENJOY!


 

The eggs really add a little something to this dish.  Since my eggs were whisked before I added the remainder of the ingredients, there were so many little air bubbles all through causing it to be light and airy.  I was sort of surprised, yet intrigued.  The Mac & Cheese I have made in the past was very different from this one, in a GOOD way.  


How did I get the idea to put eggs in my Mac & Cheese?  I was channel surfing and caught the tail end of a cooking show one day.  The host used eggs in the Mac & Cheese and I thought hmm... that is different.  It stuck in the back of my mind, and I thought today will be the day I give that a try.  Then when I used buttermilk, it just grew from there.    


Did I mention easy?  


All of that cheesy goodness went through the noodles and so they were filled on the inside too.  I will say this dish is rich... I think I may try it with different cheeses to see how the results vary.


Did I not tell you this was an easy one?  I mean, would I even waste my time making it myself if it wasn't?  Chances are, probably not.  Now that I have more time on my hands, I could make recipes more difficult, but who wants to do that when I could be painting, or walking Bentley, or cleaning, or organizing.  We all know organization and I have a thing going on now.  PLUS, I share with you, and I know you want easy as much as I do!  


I recall when I was growing up, my mom always used Velveeta cheese.  It made it creamy and not stringy like how Mr. VS likes it.  This recipe did not result in strings of cheese, but it was not the creamy version I recall from childhood either.  Personally, I like mine creamy, that is why I think I will do some experimenting.  


Would you believe that I got so into the baking of this dish, I forgot to take in progress pics like I normally do.  Okay, okay, so that is not exactly the truth... my sis was kind of a distraction, and I did not account for the baking time of dinner while I was chatting the late afternoon away with her.  It was good stuff we were talking about!  Sometimes you just lose track of time, and that I did.  


I looked up and saw it was 5:25 and I was like oh crap!  Since this was so easy, it was in the oven by 5:38 and that was with me dragging everything out, waiting for the water to boil, and assembling.  Did I mention I may have set the cooktop to high?  Not my normal mode of doing things, but I was pressed for time!  I like to cook at lower temps on the stovetop typically.  It really helped I only cooked the noodles for 5 minutes too.       


What?  How dare I lose focus when it comes to dinner!  I know... I could not believe it either.  I laughed at myself and thought that is so not like me to forget such a big part of dinner.  Good thing I had half a mind to actually turn the oven on, or dinner would have been even more delayed.  I was just sucked in to our conversation.


You know how it is, right?


Mac & Cheese always reminds me of my sister and her friend growing up.  Can you believe two small teenage girls would make 2 boxes of Mac & Cheese and gobble it all up?  YES!  Just the two of them, and they would do this on a daily basis.  I would just like to know where they put all of those carbs!  I cannot even seem to look at them.  It was truly amazing how much much food those two gals could consume in one sitting.


Oh to be young again...  and have a wonderfully high metabolism!  


Well, in case you were wondering how well dinner was received with Mr. VS, does this explain anything?




He said I am starving as he walked in the door, and then I heard oh, that smells so good.  I am happy he liked it and I was not too late on my delivery.  I had another trick up my sleeve, I made a little something else for him to tide him over while I was waiting on the baking part.  Sometimes you just have to think quick on your feet and have a back-up plan at a moments notice.   
  

My grandmother showered our family with love through cooking, which I never understood as a youngster.  I am slowly realizing how good it makes you feel when someone loves the food you make.  Even sharing recipes feels like sharing a piece of yourself with others.  It is a breath of fresh air, and makes me smile when I hear when will you be making that recipe again?


Since the recipe is posted on the blog, now he knows where to go to find it and can make it any ole' time he wants.  **wink, wink**  


Do you have a house full of folks who will cook for themselves, or do they wait for you to make the meals?  I'm the one who plans and makes all of the meals, and  always have been.  I made more crockpot meals when I was working than I do now.  It really is handy and makes life a lot easier that way.


You can just walk in the door and poof, dinner is ready.  I am thinking we could make this recipe as a crock pot version... life may have just gotten a whole lot easier, huh?      

  





You will have to let us know if you like this one.  We are loving seeing your food pics you are sharing!  It gives us a little more pep in our step knowing you are enjoying the recipes as much as we are sharing them. 
 

Added thoughts: I think this recipe would be good with chicken or beef added to it.  I bet adding seasoned beef with taco seasoning would really flip the switch on this recipe.  

I love my pepper, and you can see it is all through this dish, you can omit it if you are not a fan of pepper.  

I even considered adding gluten free bread crumbs to the top, but since I was short on time, I passed.  It is another idea to consider... many possibilities can stem from one good dish.    

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