Tag Archives: butter

Skillet Baked Macaroni and Cheese

This recipe is yet another winner from America’s Test Kitchen Quick Family Cookbook. And no, I am not their covert sales agent, and I’m not getting some kind of commission off the sales of this cookbook (though if they want an Overt Sales Agent I’d be happy to consider their offer)–I just happen to be on a kick with this awesome volume of deliciousness. And given that I just returned this marvelous tome to the library bookmobile after renewing it the maximum number of times allowed, a little trip to amazon.com has ensured that my kick need not end–ever.

So! This mac and cheese. My husband pronounced it perfect and proceeded to consume 100% of the leftovers over the next 2 days. Crispy on top, firm (but not too firm) and creamy inside, great flavor, using only one skillet–YES. This is only the third recipe that he has ever pronounced perfect, so it’s no small thing that Perfect Mac and Cheese is now joining the ranks alongside Perfect Pork and Perfect Fish.

I sneaked a bite off his plate to see how it reheated the next day, and it was great, unlike a lot of stovetop macaroni recipes, which tend to reheat into a greasy mess regardless of how awesome they were on day #1.

And since I seem incapable of posting about anything these days without including pictures of my tiny bundle of baby, let’s check in with Alice and see if she endorses this recipe.

So Alice, what do you think?

Is this recipe finger-licking good or what?

Well, she doesn’t exactly know how to use her words yet, but . . .

. . . aaargh.

I’ll take that violent hand-eating as a signal that she wishes she could have some.

All in due time, Oh Tiny One. And by the way, have you been dribbling food all over yourself? Because your chin is quite dirty.


(Serves 4)

3 ½ cups water
1-12 oz can evaporated milk
12 oz (3 cups) uncooked elbow macaroni
Salt and pepper
1 tsp cornstarch
½ tsp dry mustard
¼ tsp Tabasco sauce
2 slices white sandwich bread
2 TBS unsalted butter
8 oz (2 cups) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
8 oz (2 cups) Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

1. Heat oven to 475 F with the rack in the middle.

2. In a 12’’ nonstick oven-safe skillet, bring the water, 1 cup of the evaporated milk, ½ tsp salt and the macaroni to a simmer over high heat. Cook for about 8 minutes, stirring frequently, until the noodles are tender.

3. While noodles are cooking, tear the bread into large pieces and melt the butter; pulse the bread and butter along with ¼ tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper in a food processor to make bread crumbs.

4. Whisk remaining ½ cup evaporated milk, mustard, cornstarch and Tabasco together, and (once the macaroni is tender) add the mixture to the skillet.

5. Simmer for 1 minute, until slightly thickened.

6. Take the skillet off the heat and stir in the shredded cheese. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed. If the mixture seems too thick, stir in a little extra water.

7.  Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the macaroni and bake for about 10 minutes, until the top is brown and bubbly.

Serve it with buttery peas . . .

. . . and you have perfection on a plate.

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Buttery Peas with Shallots

There’s nothing fancy or brilliant about this recipe, but when I saw it listed on the “quick sides” page of America’s Test Kitchen Quick Family Cookbook I immediately knew I wanted it. And I wanted to eat it alongside some baked mac and cheese.

It was the perfect combination. Something about the rich, crusty, cheesy bites of macaroni interspersed with those tasty sweet peas swimming in a buttery pool just hit the comfort food buttons of my being. It may not have been the most calorie-conscious meal of my life, but who’s counting?

Certainly not I.

With the Christmas chocolate and candy finally gone, I need something to take the place of all those excess fat calories that suddenly went missing from my diet . . . right?

Anyway, I feel like this is the type of side that probably everyone makes already, except for me. I may be late to the game with frozen peas, but better late than never.


(Serves 3-4)

1 lb frozen peas
2 TBS butter (unsalted)
1 large shallot, minced
2 tsp sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 baby

1.  Melt the butter in a 12’’ skillet over medium high heat.

2. Add the minced shallot to the pan along with the salt and sugar, and cook for about 3 minutes, until softened.

3. Add frozen peas to the skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes, until heated through. Taste and re-season if needed.

4. Obtain baby from the baby store.

Any baby will do.

Who . . . me?

Yes. Sorry Alice–you’re the only baby we’ve got.

5. Kiss baby on cheek.

6. Kiss that baby again.

7. Again, again I tell you!

8. In fact, continue to kiss baby until baby squawks.

9. Temporarily relent from the kissing and serve peas hot.

At this point the baby may still be processing what the heck just happened.

What was with all that kissing, people? I thought we were making peas!

Hey, don’t blame me! I was just following America’s Test Kitchen’s instructions. I don’t question the masters at work. And neither should you.

So make those peas! And kiss a baby while you’re at it

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