Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Comfort me with mac 'n cheese

I woke up with a sore throat in the middle of the night about a week ago. It was bad. I felt like crap the next day and ended up cancelling my lessons (I teach piano and voice in evenings) so as not to get any of my students sick.

DAY 2, still sick in bed, no fever, but throat is getting really bad and it's difficult to swallow.

DAY 3, very painful to swallow so it's off to the doc-in-a-box to get diagnosed.

Long story short, it's not until DAY 5 that I finally get the strep throat diagnosis and some penicillin, only to discover on DAY 6 that I'm allergic to penicillin!

Anyway, having eaten mostly applesauce and soda cracker for 4 days, I woke up on DAY 5 starving and decided to make myself some comfort food. Taste buds were still pretty dormant and the throat was still a little sore so I needed to make something that wouldn't have too much spice in it and would be easy to swallow.

So for my first post in many weeks, it's recipe time!

Peg's homemade mac 'n cheese and turkey meatloaf
 
This is mac 'n cheese the old-fashioned way, making a bechamel and the whole nine yards. I know, I said "bechamel" but just cuz it's french doesn't mean it's difficult. This is the easiest thing in the world so don't cheat yourself and make a wanna-be mac 'n cheese. 
 
Peg's Homemade Mac 'n Cheese
 
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
1/4 cup butter (it's gotta be the real deal, folks)
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups whole milk (you could use 2% but this dish is supposed to comfort you so why would you)
1 cup plain yogurt
2 cups shredded cheese, give or take (I probably used more like 2 1/2 cups, a combo of cheddar and monterey jack)
1/4 teaspoon salt
extra cheese for on top
 
Preheat oven to 400 F.
 
Cook the macaroni in salted water according to the directions on the box. When it's done, immediately strain it and rinse with cold water. You don't want your macaroni over-cooked on the stove because it's gonna cook some more in the oven.
 
Melt the butter in a large non-stick pan. Stir in the flour. Cook flour and butter, stirring, for 3 minutes or so on medium-low heat. Add milk slowly, stirring it pretty much constantly. When the milk gets plenty hot and is starting to thicken, add the cheese, stirring gently over medium-low heat the whole time until the cheese melts.
 
Now it should be getting a little bit thick. Add the yogurt. Stir it in til its blended well and then dump all the macaroni into the pan.
 
As soon as the macaroni is mixed in, dump the whole thing into a greased or buttered casserole dish.
 
It will look SOUPY. Don't worry. Don't add more macaroni.
 
Now, some people like a bread crumb topping on top of their mac 'n cheese. I do not. I think breadcrumbs encourage the top to get crusty and I want my entire mac 'n cheese experience to be moist and creamy and cheesy. So I put more cheese on the top.
 
Bake til it's bubbly on the sides and a little brown on top. It takes about 30-40 minutes depending on how deep your casserole dish.
 
Easy Turkey Meatloaf
 
I've been making turkey meatloaf for years. It's a little healthier than the beef version and, once chilled, slices really good for sandwiches.
 
1 pound ground turkey
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 egg
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup wheat germ or bran flakes
a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce
a good size dollop of ketchup
a squeeze or two of mustard
a pinch of thyme
salt and pepper
 
Preheat oven to 350 F.
 
Not much instruction on this one. It all goes in one big bowl and, with your clean hands, you're gonna mix it all up real good. I like to use half breadcrumbs and half wheat germ just to give it a little whole grain goodness. Sometimes I use nothing but wheat germ and bran flakes, but the bran flakes are not cereal bran flakes, they are raw uncooked bran flakes you get in the health food section.
 
No precise measurements on the condiments because I never use measurements for this recipe. I just use whatever I have in the frig to flavor it. It might be yellow mustard, it might be Dijon. It might be Worcestershire, it might be teriyaki sauce. It's just that the turkey needs a little bump of flavor that perhaps a beef meatloaf wouldn't require. Usually I make a simple sauce out of ketchup and barbecue sauce for the top and put it on before I bake it. This time, I made it plain and it turned out just as tasty.
 
I bake mine in a loaf pan to encourage the turkey to retain its moisture, particularly since it's a pretty lean meat anyway. It bakes for a good 45 to 50 minutes til the juices run clear. I'm a meat thermometer kinda gal, so poultry needs to get pretty well cooked. Consult your meat thermometer if you're unsure.
 


15 comments:

  1. This Mac and Cheese looks delicious, I will have to try! I am your newest follower!
    Christi
    http://the-not-so-perfect-momblog.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Christi. I just came back from joining your blog too. Welcome to the blogosphere!

      Delete
  2. Peggy, thank you for following Carole's Chatter. I have followed you right on back. Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Peggy! I hope you are feeling better by now! I am going to try that Turkey Meatloaf! New subscriber as well!

    Alaya
    my-diy-diary.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Alaya, for stopping by and joining my little party. I recommend saucing the meatloaf. The only reason I didn't use my quick sauce on it was because my throat was so raw at the time. Anyway, hope you enjoy it!

      Delete
  4. Visiting from the Made in a Day link party. Your newest follower via GFC.

    http://www.happykidsinc.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for joining me Meg. I joined right back!

      Delete
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