Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Carroty Macaroni and Cheese

I love boxed macaroni and cheese.  It was the first dish I ever learned to make completely by myself (second was tuna noodle casserole).  My husband does not share my love for boxed mac and cheese.  He loves macaroni and cheese casserole.  It's a bit of a sensitive subject for us.  Before we got married, we had half-joking discussions regarding which version of mac and cheese our future children will eat more and likely love more (jury is still out).  Since we've been married, it hasn't been as big of an issue.  We've made mac and cheese casserole, but I always keep a box on hand for those days we both get home late, I have no idea what to make for dinner, there's no meat defrosted, and if I don't get something on the table now he's going to order pizza.

When I was fully FUNemployed, it wasn't too hard to get dinner on the table every night without much planning.  Now that I haven't slightly less time on my hands, it's been a bit hit and miss.* Last weekend, Jamie and I planned out this weeks meals.  First up was something I was rather excited about and he was kind of dreading: his beloved mac and cheese mixed with some like-colored vegetables.

The carrots kind of look like cheese.
Result?  Well, he said he couldn't taste the carrots and had seconds, so I'm going to count that as a win.

I made a few alterations, but here's the recipe I used with my alterations (1/4 tsp less mustard powder, used buttermilk instead of sour cream, and I'm not sure I put in as much carrot as called for either.  And after reading over the ingredients again, I totally forgot to put butter in... wow.  Couldn't tell.)

Carroty Mac and Cheese
  • 2 cups macaroni
  • 2 1/2 cups coarsely grated carrot (about 8 small)
  • 2 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese and 1/2 cup gouda
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk (I used powdered, so I always have it on hand)
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
1. Preheat oven to 400°F and grease an 8-inch square baking pan. Arrange a rack in the top third of the oven.
2. Cook macaroni according to package instructions in a large pot of salted boiling water; add carrot 3 minutes before pasta is finished cooking; drain well.
3. While pasta is hot, stir in all but 1/2 cup of the cheddar and the butter. In a bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, milk, eggs, salt, mustard powder, and pepper. Fold mixture into the pasta.
4. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the remaining cheddar and the parmesan over the top. Bake until the casserole is firm to the touch and golden brown, about 30 minutes. 

* I would like to clarify that I don't cook our meals because I'm the wife and he expects me to.  My husband is a fine cook and often cooks on the weekends.  However, I am done with my education at this point and he is continuing his for the benefit of both of us. I consider his studying every night a bit more important than evenly dividing cooking nights.  The 1L year is hard enough without me stressing him out more. 

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