Baked Mac and Cheese (Or: The Trials and Tribulations of Allrecipes.com)

Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Cell phone photos of pasty recipes.

When I first began dabbling in cooking, I went almost exclusively to allrecipes.com with the notion that, since it was comprised almost entirely of crowd sourced recipes, I’d probably find some great homemade gems.

Y’know what? I was right. Kind of.

Allrecipes is a minefield, at best. The most popular recipes have over 2000 reviews and still require legwork: sifting through them might yield some advice that magically transforms the recipe from “good” to “great” (this has happened: see recipe below). The worst recipes are the ones that are no-brainer arrangements of ready-made food. Fun fact: putting pre-made, jarred pesto on cooked pasta is not a recipe. It’s college. So what the hell is it doing on Allrecipes.com?

One majorly redeeming factor, though, is that you can look in your fridge, assess your ingredients, and go there to find a recipe that uses what you have (there’s also an option to exclude certain ingredients, if you’re catering to a picky eater). More experienced cooks can do this on their own. People like me need the reassuring hand-holding of the Internet to tell them what to do.

Imagine my glee when I realized we had four bags of shredded taco cheese (a mix of monterey jack, cheddar, and asadero cheeses) in our fridge and not a whole lot of ideas on what to do with that much?! It was Allrecipes to the rescue. I cooked up a rich and creamy adaption of this baked macaroni and cheese with the noted modifications, feeling like an untouchable master chef because I used some substitutions and it didn’t ruin the whole recipe. Good job, Allrecipes! Now get the ready-made recipes off of your site. Seriously- hire a moderator or something.

Baked Mac and Cheese

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Print

  • 8 oz. uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups shredded taco cheese (found at Wegman’s)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup half & half
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 1/2 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 pinch paprika
  1. Cook macaroni according to instructions and drain. Put in a large casserole dish.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. In a sturdy saucepan, melt 1/4 cup butter or margarine over medium heat. Stir in enough flour to make a roux. See here for more info on what a roux is and what it’s supposed to look like, but basically once it’s thick like a gravy (but not thick to the point of being like paste), it’s a roux. DO NOT STOP STIRRING IT. Keep it moving so it doesn’t burn.
  4. Add milk, half & half, and sour cream into the roux slowly, stirring constantly.
  5. Stir in cheeses and cook over low heat until the cheese is melted and the sauce is a little bit thickened. Don’t get frustrated if it doesn’t become super thick- it was a bit runny when I made it, and baked beautifully into a creamy sauce. At one point I just kind of gave up and was like “WELL, HOPE THIS WORKS OUT” and it did. Don’t despair!
  6. Pour the sauce over the macaroni in the casserole dish and stir well.
  7. Melt the remaining 2 tbsp butter in a skillet over medium heat.
  8. Add the breadcrumbs and brown them. Spread them over the macaroni and cheese to cover.
  9. Sprinkle the dish with paprika.
  10. Bake for 30 minutes.
  11. Eat enough to hate yourself, because it’s awesome.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s