Posted by: Kara @ The Foodie Dietitian | March 31, 2011

Comfort Food: Macaroni N’ Cheese

Comfort foods. We each have our own list. They might vary from person to person. But one thing rings true across all boards, comfort foods have the power to ignite certain emotions. These are the foods that you sit down to eat and let out a big sigh because they evoke just that, a release. Comfort. I think comfort foods can evoke certain memories as well. More often that not, these are the foods we remember from our childhood, and sitting down to these meals can take us on trip through time.

As I think about my own list I can name a few of my comfort foods right off the bat – eggplant parmesean, tuna noodle casserole, Gram’s raisin bread, and grilled cheese and tomato soup (the combo evokes the comfort, separately they don’t do it for me). Another classic comfort food that I love is macaroni and cheese. Now in college I resorted to boxed Annie’s mac n cheese but the box isn’t the same as good old cheesy homemade mac n cheese, breadcrumbs and all.

Steve and I have been designating Sunday nights as our big meal night. We make a big portion of a meal that we can then use throughout the week as leftovers. This winter I was all about making big batches of soup and freezing portions for later use. As we now enter Spring, I think my soup days are retired until next year. I knew Steve was going to jump on the mac n cheese bandwagon when I suggested it for our Sunday night dinner, and sure enough I’ve never seen him so excited about a dinner suggestion before in my life. Steve is all about comfort foods. In fact, he could eat peanut butter and jelly everyday for the rest of his life and be content. Nothing against peanut butter and jelly, I ate it everyday for all of elementary school. We go way back.

When searching for a mac n cheese recipe, I actually went to my cookbook stash. Now my stash is lacking, I’m more prone to searching online for recipes (typically at EatingWell.com or WholeFoods.com). But I felt compelled to turn a few pages of a cookbook and see what it had to offer me. The recipe I ended up making was from The New Best Recipe by the authors of Cook’s Illustrated. This cookbook has all your classic recipes and for each recipe they test all different variations to ultimately find “the best recipe” which they include in the book. For each recipe there is an accompanying story of the steps they took to find the best recipe. This recipe is not the healthiest, I’ll be the first to admit. But I wasn’t about to mess with a classic comfort food. There are some battles that are better not faught. Mac n cheese is one of them. Plus, homemade is better than the box, right?!

In case you are wondering, the red snowflake has since been retired to storage. Don’t judge 🙂

Steve and I loved the recipe. It called for a combination of sharp cheddar (for flavor) and monterrey jack (for texture). TJ’s didn’t have grated monterrey jack so we ended up getting a jack blend (pepper, monterrey, and habenero). So the mac n cheese ended up having a little kick to it but it wasn’t spicy or overbearing.

I served it with a side of broccoli and a soy Italian sausage. To keep from getting too bored with leftovers, I usually change up my side dish. I ended up making green beans that week too so I had some variety with my meals. Comfort was found with either vegetable side.

Peace, love, and food,

Kara

What are some of your comfort foods? Do you have a favorite macaroni n cheese recipe?

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Responses

  1. Love Mac and cheese! My favorite recipe is from magnolia bakery’s cookbook, “at home with magnolia”. A great jumping off point, and easy to play with different cheeses and flavors.


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