Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese


Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese
 

It is still cold and snowy here in Rochester, and I am still making cozy warm meals to fill us up and keep the frigid temperatures from turning us into living ice sculptures. I am also always looking for ways to sneak veggies into my kids meals because anyone who knows me and my kids knows they are THE pickiest eaters on the planet, hands down. "Oh no", you say, "My kids are the pickiest." I DARE you to challenge my picky kid stories with yours. You will be schooled -BIG TIME. And what a happy thing to lose at. I hope to lose this title some day. Please. Anyway, here is the recipe that I whipped up the other day simply because I had previously made Sweet Potato soup (the box variety will work just fine for this recipe, too) and I was desperately conspiring with other the child-loved ingredients in the fridge on how to get that soup in their bellies. Here is the result of desperation. It was a VERY tasty scandal.

Ingredients

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for dish
  • 6 slices good white bread, crusts removed, torn into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 1/2 cups sweet potato soup
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 4 1/2 cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese (about 18 ounces)
  • 2 cups grated Gruyere/ or Mild Cheddar cheese (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish; set aside. Place bread in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Pour butter into bowl with bread, and toss. Set breadcrumbs aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, heat milk. Melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter in a high-sided skillet over medium heat. When butter bubbles, add flour. Cook, whisking, 1 minute.
  3. While whisking, slowly pour in hot milk. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick. Next, stir in the soup. Stir another 4-5 minutes until it bubbles slightly again.
  4. Remove pan from heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, cheeses ; set cheese sauce aside.
  5. Fill a large saucepan with water; bring to a boil. Add macaroni; cook 2 to 3 minutes less than manufacturer's directions, until the outside of pasta is cooked and the inside is underdone. (Different brands of macaroni cook at different rates; be sure to read the instructions.) Transfer macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well. Stir macaroni into the reserved cheese sauce. If you want to, sprinkle top of macaroni with bread crumbs and finish off in a 400 degree oven until cheese bubbles. If you want to serve out of pot, sprinkle with bread crumbs just before serving. Enjoy!
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