Happy National Mac + Cheese Day (July 14th)! I’m taking full advantage of National Mac N’ Cheese Day by indulging in some extra cheesy recipes!
First, here are some Mac N’ Cheese facts:
- The world record for the fastest time to finish an entire box of Mac N’ Cheese is 1 minute and 2 seconds.
- Around 110 million Americans eat Mac N’ Cheese at least once every 90 days, with about 1.2 million people eating Mac N’ Cheese per day.
- A Chef named John Folse broke the world record for biggest bowl of Mac N’ Cheese. It weighed roughly 2,469 pounds and was made from 575 pounds of pasta and 286 pounds of mixed cheese.
- The heaviest cheese in the world weighed as much as 57,518 pounds and was produced by a Canadian cheesemaker.
- Cheese can be produced using a variety of milk including cow, buffalo, goat, horse, and even camel!
- The U.S. is the number one producer of cheese globally, with Wisconsin producing the most within the U.S. Germany follows the U.S. as the second largest cheese producer.
- The average American consumes 40 pounds of cheese a year.
- Nearly 2,000 cheeses exist globally with Mozzarella being #1 most popular, Cheddar #2 and Parmesan #3 in the United States.
Special ways to top your mac and cheese:
- Bacon: I mean, what isn’t better with bacon? Adding bacon crumbles on top of your Mac N’ Cheese will add a savory and salty kick to your dish.
- Additional cheese: This may seem obvious, but adding additional cheese on top of your Mac N’ Cheese can open a whole new world of possibilities! I suggest adding grated parmesan, fresh or shredded mozzarella, white cheddar, American, mixed cheeses, or even Mexican mixed cheeses.
- Vegetables: To add more complex flavor to your Mac N’ Cheese, add veggies, such as: steamed broccoli, green beans, peas, carrots, tomatoes, onions, or any other vegetable of choice!
- Breadcrumbs: Whether you use panko or crushed saltine crackers, you can’t go wrong with a Mac N’ Cheese dish topped with breading! It adds a more interesting texture to your mac.
- Or you can use ParmCrisps! The crunchy, savory texture of a crushed bag of ParmCrisps makes for an easy and tasty bread crumb recipe!
- Spices: You can add some pizazz to any dish with the right spices! Besides the usual salt and pepper, we recommend paprika, chili peppers, garlic, onion powder, oregano, parsley, or any other spice of your choice.
- Meat: Adding chicken, steak, beef or any other meat variety adds some extra substance and protein to your Mac N’ Cheese.
The Cheesiest Mac ‘N Cheese
- 10 ounces elbow pasta
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 4 cups milk
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
- Original ParmCrisps, crushed
- Top with green onions, cilantro + bacon (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish.
- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook elbow macaroni in the boiling water, stirring occasionally until cooked through but firm to the bite, 8 minutes. Drain.
- Melt 1/4 cup butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir salt and mustard powder into melted butter and remove saucepan from heat.
- Whisk milk and cornstarch together in a bowl until smooth; stir into butter mixture until well blended. Return saucepan to stove; cook milk mixture, stirring constantly, over medium heat until sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove the saucepan from heat.
- Stir 3 cups of Cheddar cheese into sauce until heat from sauce melts cheese. Add pasta to cheese sauce and stir well; pour into the prepared baking dish.
- Combine remaining 1 cup Cheddar cheese, ParmCrisps, 1 teaspoon butter, and mustard powder in a bowl; sprinkle over pasta mixture
- Bake in the preheated oven until the top is crunchy, about 30 minutes.
- Add additional toppings!
Delightful Mac N’ Cheese Bites
- 12 oz. elbow macaroni
- 3 cups sharp white cheddar shredded cheese
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, cubed
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp onion powder
- Salt & pepper
- Vegetable oil
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 5 large eggs
- 3 cups panko bread crumbs
- ½ cup ParmCrisps of choice, crushed (optional)
- 1 tsp salt
- Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium to medium-low heat. Once melted, add the flour and whisk constantly for about 3 minutes, until thick.
- Gradually, add the milk, stirring until there are no lumps. Increase heat to medium and bring to a light simmer, whisking. It will thicken up.
- Add the cheese and stir until melted and incorporated. Stir in the cooked pasta. Let cool and refrigerate in an airtight container for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Form 1.5 in balls with the cold mac and cheese, pressing to make them compact. Lay them on a sheet pan and put it back in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- In a shallow bowl, add the flour. Then, in a second shallow bowl, whisk the eggs. In a third shallow bowl, combine the panko bread crumbs, ParmCrisps, and 1 tsp salt. Set aside.
- Heat the oil in a deep large Dutch oven until the oil’s temperature reaches 360 to 375 degrees. While the oil is heating, assemble the mac and cheese bites: coat each ball in flour first, then the whisked eggs, and then the bread crumb mixture. Press slightly to make sure the bread crumbs adhere well.
- Fry in small batches in a frying pan for about 3 minutes or until evenly golden brown.
- Transfer to a large plate lined with a paper towel to drain excess oil. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
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