Monday, April 2, 2012

More Mac 'N Cheese, Please!

Somebody That I Used to Know by Gotye or by Walk Off the Earth
A friend on Facebook shared this video of Walk Off the Earth's version of this song on my wall.  It is amazing!  Five people sharing one guitar, all with amazing and captivating voices.  It's addicting!  Learning that it was a cover, I knew I had to track down the original artist, Gotye, and watch his video as well.  An equally compelling video of him singing the song as he is painted into a wall painting.  His voice is haunting and strong at the same time, some likening him to Sting on the chorus.  All I know is I love this song no matter who performs it.  But it's a sad song and all this singing of heartache got me to thinking that somebody needs to get these people some lovin' - some comfort - some mac 'n cheese!  Stat! 

My son married a wonderful girl.  I've talked about her before - she's the one of the roasted half-chicken fame.  A truly remarkable young woman that we feel completely blessed to have as part of our family.

About a year ago my son proclaimed that his wife made the best macaroni and cheese he'd ever had!  Did I get my feelings hurt - wishing that MY mac 'n cheese was his favorite?  No way!  Other than a few half-hearted attempts at homemade, all I'd ever fixed while he was growing up was out of a box!  Although the folks at Kraft do a great job, I would never try to hold my box attempts up to the makings of a good cook!

I was intrigued, though, because I HAD tried to make it from scratch only to meet disappointments.  If my daughter-in-law did indeed have a secret, I was anxious to discover it!  So, the next time I visited, I requested the famed dish.  I was not disappointed!  It was creamy and flavorful and cheesy!  I loved how it wasn't dry but not watery either.  I could detect herbs and spices but wasn't sure exactly which ones were in there.  When I asked her about her recipe I found out that there wasn't one - she just sort of tossed in whatever strikes her at the moment.  Hmmm.  This was going to be difficult trying to pin down how I was going to recreate this goodness!

When I started this blog I asked her if maybe she would be a "guest" some time and make her tasty mac 'n cheese while I look on and try to come up with a recipe.  She said, "Sure!"  What a good daughter-in-law!

I've been visiting her this week and the long-awaited mac 'n cheese event came to be!  

She started going through her cupboards and refrigerator, choosing the ingredients for her masterpiece.  I got excited when I saw the lineup -
While the pasta cooked she got busy shredding the cheese by hand.  I was impressed.  I hate to shred cheese and told her I usually buy the pre-shredded.  She feels that shredding your own lends a better texture.  Could it be whatever is added to keep the cheese from clumping?  I intend to investigate.  She says she also prefers the Tillamook brand.
  She started getting out ingredients to create a roux:
Then she mixed together her herbs and spices:
I noted how gently she approached her preparations.  
I still fight the tendency to want to just throw stuff together except when I'm baking.  She treated her ingredients with respect.  Ah!  Perhaps her biggest  "secret" of all!
So delicious!  I'm so happy she agreed to share it with me - and all of you!

Erin's Mac 'N Cheese
printable recipe card
serves 6
12 oz. macaroni or other pasta - Erin likes to use Barilla multi-grain
3 T. butter
3 T. flour
1 lb. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 1/2 c. half and half
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. black pepper
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. poultry seasoning
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. dried dill or 1 t. fresh dill

Cook the pasta according to package directions and drain.

In a separate pan, melt the butter over medium low heat.  Whisk in the flour and cook for a couple minutes making a blond roux.  Slowly whisk in the half and half and cook for a few minutes until it starts to thicken.  Add the seasonings and stir.  Add the cheese while stirring, a handful at a time, reserving a handful for garnishing.  When the cheese has been added and the sauce is velvety smooth, stir the pasta in until well-coated.  Place each serving in their dish and top with some cheese and sprinkle with the dill.  Goodness!


  1. Perfect dinner for tonight! It's the first of the month and I have not gone grocery shopping yet so you just saved my family from eating pancakes for dinner! Thank you Janice and Erin!

    1. I'm so glad! Enjoy! We sure did!!

    2. It was deliciousness! I had some pulled pork left over from another meal and added that to everyone's bowl except my picky eater -who had it on the side. Hubby said it was "gourmet restaurant quality", picky child actually complimented my cooking (thanks for making me a cool mom) and little child ate my bowl and his own! :) HUGE hit!

  2. YUMMY! I have been looking for an excellent mac n cheese recipe.