Thursday is my babysitting day for my granddaughter. After spending the day with her and the commute home in rush hour traffic, I want to prepare a dinner that is quick and easy to prepare.
Thursday is pasta night at our house and this week was no different. There was a twist, however, I made creamy weeknight macaroni and cheese. It is a recipe that appeared in an article from The New York Times last October 2018 - 5 Recipes with 5 Ingredients (or Fewer) * (assuming you have salt, pepper and maybe some olive oil.) For this recipe you’ll need elbow macaroni, milk, 8 ounces of cream cheese (I used Neufchâtel, cheddar cheese and butter. To put my spin on this recipe, I recently found at my local Wegmans ParmCheddar cheddar cheese. The cheese is aged 12 months and is “blended with nutty Parmesan notes,” to quote from the label. It sells for $9.99/lb., but it really made for a delicious dish! What also makes this a wonderful recipe is that it takes approximately 25 minutes to make and it’s all done on the stovetop, no additional baking time! For a busy family, this is a recipe to keep on hand.
While, the water was boiling for the pasta, I slowly began to prepare the cheese sauce. Milk was heated up first. I cut the cream cheese into smaller portions and whisked that in. Next, grated ParmCheddar and, lastly, 3 tablespoons of butter. I keep it warm on a low flame so the mixture wouldn’t boil. The cooked pasta was added and then the seasonings were adjusted with the addition of salt and pepper. The cheese mixture was rich, creamy and luxurious over the elbow macaroni. There was plenty of sauce on the pasta. While setting up the photo for this blog, I tasted the Mac n’ cheese right out of the pot and it was delicious. I’m so glad I tried the ParmCheddar because it gave the dish a great flavor, almost reminiscent of an Alfredo sauce.
I did jump the gun and had this dish prepared about 20 minutes before my husband arrived home. I kept it warm in low oven and uncovered. During that time, the pasta absorbed a lot of the heavenly cheese sauce and wasn’t as hot as it should be. When I prepare it again, and have to hold it, I’ll cover the casserole dish and increase the heat to 225° so the casserole stays hot.
My husband and I loved this dish. I set aside a portion for a neighbor and she enjoyed it and there’s even a bit for my granddaughter to try. Keep this recipe handy as you’ll find it handy during the busy holiday season.
A former teacher, shop-a-holic, empty-nester redefining quick, family approved dinners.