As I’ve stated before, I love mac and cheese. I even have a category on this blog for it. And each one, while the same steps, is slightly different in exactly how you put it together. And while there isn’t anything wrong with each recipe being different, I was excited to stumble across this recipe/article which talked about how to make it without a recipe.
Which is a little untrue as they do provide you with a recipe but it is more of sharing the basics of what you need to do to make it rather than telling you here are the exact ingredients, follow it. You can choose to increase or decrease to suit your needs as well as add in whatever you want to it.
I chose to follow the quantities in the recipe for making the roux. I also wound up following the part about the pasta. I had thought that if they are recommending only using 3/4 of what you cooked, why not just make that amount? Why go through the trouble of cooking more than needed. Plus, if you did that, you now have some partially cooked noodles to find a use for. But then I thought what if I wished I had more noodles after only using 3/4 of a pound? Kind of hard to make more at that point. So I went with the full pound. In the end I did use all of the noodles. I probably could have held some back (maybe should of) but I just went for it. It turned out fine but it was a little dense. But that’s the way the rest of my mac n cheeses have turned out so I was used to that.
For the cheeses I used 2 cups of shredded Colby Jack and 1 cup of shredded Asiago. I had thought I had more Colby or cheddar in the fridge but I couldn’t find it (I found it two days later). And I needed a use for the rest of the Asiago. I thought it turned out great and would do it again.
For the add in, I used chicken. I took about 1 pound of chicken breasts and cut them into small pieces. I cooked them with a little oil and a tablespoon of Penzeys Jerk Chicken and Fish seasoning. After the chicken was done I made the roux in the same pan. As such I didn’t add any other seasonings to the roux except for a few shakes of pepper and salt.
I combined it all into a 2 1/2 quart casserole dish and baked it for 30 minutes. Since I didn’t have any extra cheese to sprinkle on top and I chose not to do bread crumbs, I sprinkled some more jerk seasoning on top not didn’t do anything like more cheese would have but it provided another burst of flavor.
In the end I think it turned out really well. Everyone liked it and I had to exert some willpower to not go get another bowl full. This base “recipe” is definitely saved for future use.