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Recipe #33: Quinoa Mac and Cheese




There is no link with this recipe because it was more a concept than recipe. I have seen several pins on Pinterest that involve using Quinoa instead of pasta for mac and cheese. The theory behind it is that it lightens it up calorie-wise and bulks it up nutritionally. The problem with using one of those recipes is that I really love my mac and cheese recipe. Instead of using someone else’s to test the concept, I just used my recipe and swapped 4 cups of cooked quinoa for the normal elbow macaroni.

I have to say, I wasn’t a fan. I love quinoa in salads and as a sub for rice, but it just doesn’t hold its own as a pasta substitution. It becomes lost in the sauce and brings a very odd texture with it. I should add, I hate over cooked pasta, so I usually under-cook my pasta for mac and cheese, that made this texture even less desirable for me. I can see that if you needed to make this change for health reasons, gluten or wheat allergy etc., how it could be a way to still enjoy something you love. With so many gluten/wheat free pasta choices available now though, I’m not sure I would go this route if Matt ended up falling into that category.

Since I somehow feel I should include a recipe in this post, and it is probably my “most requested” recipe. I will throw my mac and cheese recipe in. Basically, I was bored one weekend and decided I wanted to make “the best” mac and cheese, so I made 5 different batches until I came up with something I was satisfied with. This is what resulted…

Jess’ Mac and Cheese:

• 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
• About 8 strips of bacon (save 2 tablespoons of the grease)
• 1 tablespoon butter
• 3 tablespoons flour
• 1 tablespoon mustard (yellow or whole grain. Powder is fine too)
• 1 cup chicken broth/stock
• 2 cups milk
• 1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced (I don’t mind the texture in the final product, if you don’t care for onion or pieces of it, you can shred it on a box grater)
• 2 cloves minced garlic
• 1 bay leaf
• 1/2 teaspoon paprika
• 1 large egg
• 12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
• 4 ounces smoked gouda, shredded
• Salt
• Black pepper

• 3 tablespoons butter
• 1 cup panko bread crumbs

Cook the bacon until it’s crisp and save at least 2 tablespoons of the grease. Once cool, crumble into pieces.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Boil salted water to cook the pasta (about 2 minutes less than the package says).

While the pasta is cooking, in a large pot, add reserved bacon grease and 1 tbls butter over medium-low heat. Once the butter is melted, whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for a few minutes minutes (you’re making a roux). Slowly stir in the chicken broth and milk, making sure it’s free of lumps. Then add the onion, garlic, bay leaf, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf. Do not let it boil or the sauce will break.

Temper in the egg. Stir in 2/3 of the cheddar and all the gouda. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the macaroni and the bacon into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheddar.

Melt the butter in a saute pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.

Posted in 100 New Recipes, Jess General. Tagged with , , , , , .

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