Are you a pasta lover? Pasta is an old time favorite for everyone. Hundreds of cooking variations from all over the world, made out of different pasta, technique, a method of cooking, taste, and style. You are about to learn about the most popular pasta recipe that has been enjoyed by old and young, on special and ordinary days through the test of time.
In this Ultimate Guideline to Cooking Delicious Mac and Cheese, you wouldn’t only know how to cook them, but learn where it originated as well.
Mac and Cheese is a combination of pasta, cheese and a cream recipe that is considered as an all season favorite for all. Who gets wrong with Mac and Cheese? As long as you have these three major ingredients, you can cook the way you want it. Considered as a housewives’ best friend, it sure is a hearty meal for the family.
Needless to say that Mac and Cheese are the most popular classic food in America. Why else would they celebrate National Mac and Cheese Day every July 14th of the year? On this day you have your chance to share with everybody your own Mac and Cheese recipe together with other fellow Americans.
Here is a funny video on how some of the Americans celebrate their Mac and Cheese day!
The name Macaroni and Cheese is usually associated with the Americans. It is one of their classic comfort food that is welcomed anywhere, whenever. But did it really originate from them?
Pasta with cheese recipes have been popular since the 14th century and have been recorded in cookbooks. Since then it is a regular to households and gatherings. The first recipe ever recorded for a Mac and Cheese was from Liber the Coquina and Forme of Cury which described it as a "mixture of pastry dough, cheese, and butter". Our gratitude to these classic food lovers since Mac and Cheese have been accepted in all Europe.
Although we never really did find out who made macaroni the pasta to use in making it but there were speculations that the recipe was introduced to Thomas Jefferson. He did love it so much that he brought a pasta-making machine after his visit from Italy. So we can guess that it was that timeframe when Mac and Cheese conquered America.
As mentioned before, the basic ingredients of Mac and Cheese recipe are pasta, cheese, and butter or cream. Popular recipes for Mac and Cheese will be featured later as we go along but now, maybe you are wondering what kind of pasta can be used for Mac and Cheese recipe.
1. Shells - Having the same cooking method and time with macaroni, it is the best alternative for Mac and Cheese recipe. It has a more stylish appearance than macaroni and has these shell cups, corrugated backs and hallowed interiors that capture plenty of creamy sauce.
2. Elbows - Taken from the macaroni name itself, this type of pasta is the original and popular to use. Cooks pretty fast, its pasta design which is arced and tube-like makes it a perfect place of the creamy sauce to stick.
3. Farfalle - Known as the "bow tie" or "butterflies" pasta, it is good for classy Mac and Cheese recipes since their wide flat type surface provides a nice touch of herbs, veggies, and other cooking add-ins.
4. Penne - For a more noticeable spot for Mac and Cheese using larger size pasta is recommendable. Since it is big, it is fulfilling to the last bite. It also retains its texture after baking.
5. Pasta that would serve the same way but are not widely used:
You have kept stocks of ready mix Mac and Cheese in your cupboard somewhere for immediate cravings. However, nobody will argue that making Mac and Cheese from scratch is very far from the same in taste compared to those readily sold in a box.
Before you go through a different kind of cheese, try to understand how cheese is being made. Here is an educational video on how to manufacture it.
1. Parmesan Cheese - For a full serving of super creamy Mac and Cheese. Roughly rigid in the surface, it tastes sweet and tangy and has gained the credit as one of the top cheese in the culinary world.
2. Feta Cheese - Best cooked together with cheddar, this crumbly cheese is best for Mac and Cheese with white sauce. A brined cheese, it is made out of sheep milk or a combination of goat and sheep.
3. Pepper Jack - The true American cheese, this is spiced with sweet peppers and herbs for an extra twist. Spicy but creamy taste that lingers on your palate.
4. Cheddar Cheese - If you just can’t afford to mess things up, choose cheddar. It goes well with almost anything! Made out of cow’s milk it is the most common cheese used and is sturdy and natural on the surface.
5. Cottage Cheese - Want a creamier Mac and Cheese? So a combination of Cottage and Cheddar cheese to get the texture you desire. Take it from a soft, white, and creamy fresh cheese.
6. Cream Cheese - Soft and mild to the taste, this fresh cheese is made out of the combination of milk and cream. When making Mac and Cheese, combine this with Mozzarella and Parmesan.
Now you have been wondering how there are lots of existing types of cheese. What is the difference between them? Here is an educational video explaining the classification of cheese:
Remember that in Mac and Cheese, it is all in the sauce. It is the sauce that makes it tasty. So, what is the sauce? The cheese of course. For a perfect tasting Mac and Cheese, it is preferred to blend one sharp cheese and two melting kinds of cheese. Now, you will never get it wrong.
Way back its origin, Mac and Cheese were made by baking, it at least that was the old recipe that they found instructed in the method of cooking. If not because of mankind’s creativity in the art of cooking, it would have stayed the same. But now, you can make Mac and Cheese in so many ways as you please. Which method is yours?
Some do not have the luxury of an oven. It seems that people easily adjust in cooking Mac and Cheese with the tools that they have in their kitchen. Who can stop you from eating one? Stove-top Mac and Cheese is cooking your pasta mixture over a stove-top using your skillet. Still, the same, pasta and cheese/cream sauce will be cooked together resulting to the sumptuous Mac and Cheese meal.
Here is a video on how to cook Mac and Cheese using the stove-top method:
The original method of cooking Mac and Cheese is baking. It is also the easiest way from among the methods. All you have to do is mix the ingredients, put it inside a baking pan, place it in the oven, set the time and wait. When the time is up, it is ready to eat. No sweat!
However, every baked mac and Cheese has to undergo either the stove-top method or the deep frying method during the cooking of pasta and sauce.
Here is a video showing how to cook Mac and Cheese using the baking method:
The deep-fry method is using the deep-fryer instead with a skillet. This would require a lot of oil compared to frying pans/skillet. These are usually applicable to Mac and Cheese balls recipes.
Here is the video showing you how to cook Mac and Cheese using a deep-fryer:
Using the slow cooker when making Mac and Cheese is more simple and lot easier compared to baking method. In the slow cooker, you do not need a baking pan. You can choose whatever you want to use, either the slow cooker or the crockpot. Either of the two, the result would still be the same.
Just mix your ingredients right inside the slow cooker (you don’t need to cook the pasta ahead), when done, cover the lid, turn on the slow cooker and set the time. When time is up, it is ready to eat. Hah! You can even eat it right from the slow cooker itself!
Here is a video showing you how to cook Mac and Cheese using the slow cooker:
Making Mac and Cheese not using the oven method is what others would term "no bake" Mac and Cheese recipes. Among the four different methods used, which of it are you fond of? If you have not decided, we will help by giving the advantage and disadvantages in each method.
Oven-top - Best method in terms of less time
Slow Cooker - The best method in terms of less effort
How about you? Do you have anything to say about the above result? Needless to say, whatever the advantages and disadvantages are, the Mac and Cheese will always turn out to be heavenly delicious. Which method do you like now?
It does not matter how old this recipe is but as they say "practice takes time". As you are cooking your very first Mac and Cheese, the common mistakes that will be mentioned may not be new to you.
1. Where’s the sauce? Dry Mac and Cheese
If ever there is worst in all the mistakes, it should be this. Mac and Cheese should be creamy and ooze with the tasty sauce. Who wants it dry? So sorry for all the effort and the expensive ingredients you just poured in but a dry Mac and Cheese simply would be ignored.
2. Yummy to the eye, but tasteless Mac and Cheese
By just looking at the Mac and Cheese on the table could make your mouth water in the anticipation of tasting its creaminess. It would be extremely devastating when you discover it is flavorless to the max. Epic fail to the palates!
3. What cheese do you use? Not cheesy enough!
This could also be another reason why it is flavorless so mistake #2 is somewhat related to this. Of course, it has something to do with cheese.
4. Overcooked pasta
A creamy Mac and Cheese is so yummy to the last bite but with soggy pasta with it, you will lose your appetite. There is nothing to compare on firm pasta that can hold the sauce and still maintain its texture.
5. Watery sauce
Where did the creaminess go? You will be confused if you are eating a Mac and Cheese or sipping soup out from it. Watery Mac and Cheese would look like a spoiled meal and is not worth to taste.
6. Choosing the wrong pasta
As you have learned in the first part of the article, there are types of pasta perfect for Mac and Cheese. Stick to the list on top, and it will end up just fine. Mac and Cheese pasta should be thick, firm and must have those grooves and hollow designs to hold up the creaminess of the sauce.
7. Grainy cheese sauce
Losing the smoothness texture of the cheese sauce gives a big negative impact in the Mac and Cheese quality of taste. The sauce should be creamy and smooth at the same time tasty. If the sauce is grainy, the taste is never the same.
8. The separation of sauce when cooking
Frustration level is so high when you see that the sauce separates during cooking. It would need more effort to fix it. Try to find out how to balance it.
9. Oily Mac and Cheese
Who would like to eat a greasy Mac and Cheese? This is worst than the watery sauce. Oil is the least that you need to see in your bowl.
10. My Mac and Cheese crust does taste bad
The brown crust is mostly responsible for making the Mac and Cheese more deliciously inviting. Your mouth will water knowing that the brown crust is a combination of the sauce and bread crumbs that was perfectly cooked.
It should sum up all the common Mac and Cheese failures mostly everyone has experienced in trying to have that perfect to the biting taste. Do not worry, when you finally get it right, you can eat it whenever you want.
The Mac and Cheese recipe are one delicious food alright but let us try to dig more in the nutrition area it brings. Would the nutrition benefits be as good as it is yummy? It is both a favorite for old and young generations alike so let us see how healthy it is to our body.
The usual macaroni pasta being used in making this recipe does not really have a high source of fiber and other nutrients. Replacing it with whole wheat version do the trick though. Obviously, cheese has lots of health benefits for the human body. It is the champion in making the recipe tasty so let us dig into its nutritional facts.
Focusing on these two major ingredients, let us see what we can get:
As the research goes this Mac and Cheese nutrition controversy boil down to the Kraft Mac and Cheese product issue. Massive customer withdrawal of the product started 2015 and since then, people would think twice before picking it up in the supermarkets. Though Kraft claims it is just temporary, they were obliged to recall end products from supermarket shelves and it goes worse since then.
The main reason for its chaos was the allegations that some manufactured batches of Kraft original flavor Mac and Cheese contains metal bits. Guess Kraft have lost the trust of the consumers since this controversy was preceded with almost the same case last 2013. The same macaroni product was recalled since Kraft used yellow die and GMO wheat.
Although Kraft had announced that they already removed the artificial coloring on the next batches, sales would never be the same. It is a good thing more people opt to cook Macaroni and Cheese from scratch.
Let’s face it, Mac and Cheese has high in calories, sodium, and fat. Guess you cannot have it all and the super delicious meal has its ups and downs. However, you could always find a way to make this a healthy recipe, to begin with. Let us see how these tips can help you.
Here is a cooking video of a healthy Mac and Cheese recipe:
Of course making the Mac and cheese recipe won’t be perfect without learning from the experts. A collection of helpful tips from bloggers who are moms, food fans, chefs, and professionals is also included to guide you more on your venture of cooking the ultimate Mac and Cheese.
It may be because this recipe is already very old, it evolved along time. When I say evolved, it means the simple recipe of mixing pasta with cream and cheese has gone a long, long, way. Currently, there are hundreds of Mac and Cheese recipes that people created to what they like them to be. I wonder what your version is? But first, let us feature how to make the basic Mac and Cheese pasta to perfection. This is essential to make your Mac and Cheese version the best!
Here is a video of how to make the perfect Mac and Cheese pasta!
Here are 6 best healthy Mac and Cheese recipes for the health conscious lovers. There is always a way to keep every delicious recipe healthy!
We have reached the end of this article that is a complete run down of Mac and Cheese recipe favorites and its origin. You have learned a great deal of its nutrition and the essential ingredients in making it a perfectly creamy and delicious classic taste. This issue should be able to offer you a complete guide on how to start making it yourself.
Good luck for a hearty and sumptuous meal ahead! <3
There’s nothing in this world that excites me more other than cooking. From appetizers to desserts, since then, I’ve always been passionate on making foods.