Thursday, November 22, 2007

Hi and welcome to Eating In. I was inspired to start this blog by my friend and colleague, Wendy. We were talking food (I’m often caught doing that) and how to mix working fool full time, being a mom and wife, and eating good healthy food.

Her concern was that she was cooking a lot of boring stuff or worse processed foods for her family. She asked, “How do you cook something that has lots of flavor and is quick?!? I think I need a class or something.” To make matters worse, her hubby is a dedicated carnivore. Very few green things will pass his lips.

I talked about flavor combinations to mix things up and weekend prep to ease the weekday craziness. I talked about online sources and home cooking. I talked about what I feed my family. And then the bomb dropped … Wendy just wanted some good recipes and an idea of riffing off of the basics.

So here you are, dear … Good luck and good Eating In.

Mac and Cheese

Like Wendy’s husband, my child is a carnivore with a twist. Being a kid he also loves all things bread – French bread, pancakes, pasta. You name it, if it’s a grain he’ll probably eat it. So looking to make a quick dinner he’ll eat and the rest of the family will love usually centers around a bread product. In that vein, what’s better than Mac and Cheese? Not Kraft™ but good ol’ homemade mac and cheese …

Macaroni and Cheese with Prosciutto Bon Appétit | March 2001

Makes 6 servings.


8 ounces small elbow macaroni (2 cups)
1 1/2 cups (packed) grated Gruyère cheese (about 6 ounces)
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup whole milk
3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg


Position rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 400°F. Butter 11x7-inch glass baking dish. Cook macaroni in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite. Drain well.

Whisk 1/2 cup Gruyère, cream, milk, prosciutto, Parmesan and nutmeg in large bowl to blend. Add macaroni and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to prepared baking dish. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup Gruyère over. Bake until cheese melts and macaroni and cheese sets, about 20 minutes. Serve warm

Inspired by the above recipe I started the process on a weekend to make weekday meal prep a lot quicker. I wanted to use ingredients I had on hand as well so I subbed bacon (mmmm bacon!) for prosciutto. The bacon was panfried up and stored for use later. I had some other cheeses on hand 'cuz we are a cheesy family! A little Tillamook Chedder, some young Gouda, and, of course, the Gruyere were added to the mix by shredding and storing as well.

I thought the recipe need a little more flavor than just dairy and nutmeg. On the night of prep I chopped a small onion very finely. I wanted a little zip and crunch to go with the bacon and cheese. A couple of pinches from the Herbes de Provence pot, some salt and pepper and we were good to go.

So dinner was served - a bunch of peas and a crispy mixed salad on the side to go with our Mac and Cheese tastiness. All in all, a pretty decent meal (although it will earn you a trip to the gym).

The next time I do this recipe I might add a couple of tablespoons of pub mustard, some fennel seeds and Italian sausage rather than the bacon. I’d also like to put a crunchy crumbled bread and cheese topping on. You can always do new and interesting things to a basic recipe. That's the joy of cooking and eating in!


Anonymous Eater said...

That looks sooo good! I love that you used Gruyere! It's one of my favorite cheeses.

Kim Stone said...

This was even better the next day after the reheat!