Smokey Four Cheese Mac & Cheese

There really isn’t any better comfort food than mac & cheese, am I right? There’s just something about the creamy, cheesey, warmth to it that makes it so delicious and happy. I think it’s one of those dinners that literally everyone loves. I really don’t think I have ever met someone who didn’t like mac & cheese.

Smokey Four Cheese Mac & Cheese

That being said, there are all different types of mac & cheese out there. While homemade is always best (usually from a restaurant, because let’s be honest, how many people actually grew up on real homemade mac & cheese at home?) I feel like most people are used to mac & cheese from a box of some kind. Personally I grew up on Annies, the more ‘natural’ kind– white cheese covering little shells. It was the meal of choice when we had babysitters or needed a quick dinner before an evening activity. I never experienced the blue box- Kraft mac & cheese until much later in life, and those bright orange covered elbows. I have to say bright orange cheese never really appealed to me, I guess because I didn’t grow up with it. Then comes Velveeta, and not only is it bright orange but it comes already in liquid form (or a paste? gel? what would you even call that and how is it food?) that squeezes out of the package all ready to go. This one I never even came in contact with until I met my husband, for whom this is the mac & cheese of choice for some reason that I cannot comprehend.

Smokey Four Cheese Mac & Cheese

Those are all a different species of mac & cheese than this real homemade version. This is a mac & cheese you can feel good about. I mean yes, it is made with an awful lot of full-fat cheese, and a bit of butter, but at least it’s real cheese and you know exactly where it comes from. I believe dairy is good for you and choose to ignore those who say cheese is unhealthy! Anyway, this is fairly easy too, as long as you get all your cheeses together beforehand and have them all grated and ready to go so that you can just add everything to the pot at once. The smoked gouda gives it just enough of a smokey flavor without being overwhelming, and the mascarpone makes it super creamy. I used medium shells because I like them and I like how much cheese they scoop up, but you can totally use classic elbows if you want. There’s even a dash of paprika which gives it a tiny bit of an orange hue in case you’re into that 🙂 And you can totally leave it out if you prefer your mac white.

Do yourself a favor and make this for dinner the next time you invite friends over. They will be seriously impressed. Also, it makes a lot, so it’s good to have people to share it with!

 

:Smokey Four Cheese Mac & Cheese:

INGREDIENTS

1/2 stick butter

3 cups milk (I used whole)

1/3 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon paprika (optional)

2 cups extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated

1 1/4 cups smoked gouda cheese

1/2 cup shredded parmesan (I use the pre-shredded kind, but fresh would be great too- parm is the only cheese I would use pre-shredded, other cheeses won’t melt as nicely unless they’re fresh)

1/2 cup mascarpone cheese (this comes in a tub and is often found in the specialty cheese section)

ASSEMBLY

Grate all cheese and set aside.

Boil a pot of water and cook pasta according to package directions. Strain and set aside.

Heat a large saucepan over  medium heat. Add butter until melted and bubbly, then add flour and stir to combine. Lower heat to medium low and add milk, whisking constantly to form a thick sauce. Add all spices, and add the cheese, whisking until smooth. Add the cooked pasta to the pan and carefully mix into sauce until each piece is coated. Serve immediately.

 

 

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Creamy (Two Ingredient!) Fettuccini Alfredo

If you ask what my favorite meal is, 9 times out of 10 I will say fettuccini alfredo. My dad used to make this for me when I was young and it was always the best thing ever. He would make it for my birthday and all my friends’ birthdays, or whenever I had a sleepover and we wanted a special meal.Super Easy Fettuccini Alfredo

Clearly I only had spaghetti on hand when the urge to make this struck, and honestly it’s just as good. But yes, I am aware that this picture is not truly fettuccini!

It’s super filling and delicious, and for the longest time I did not realize just how simple it is. I’ve seen recipes for fettuccini alfredo that have more ingredients, and I’ve never known why. There is literally nothing else you would need to put in this sauce to make it better. I also never understood why people bought jarred alfredo sauce since buying the ingredients for this homemade version only requires one more item in your shopping cart and it tastes so much better.

This is the best and most simple pasta you will ever make. Your friends will all think you are some amazing cook and you don’t need to tell them how simple it is. It’s also great for guests, because it’s so filling that one box of pasta is definitely enough. Start will small portions and go from there! It’s not diet food, but you can only eat a small amount anyway, and it’s only once in a while right? It’s so worth it.

:Creamy Two Ingredient Fettuccini Alfredo:

INGREDIENTS

1 pint of light cream

1 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (or pre-shredded), plus more for sprinkling

1/2 box fettuccini (or spaghetti!)

ASSEMBLY

Heat a pot of water to a boil and add in the pasta. Cook until al dente, according to package instructions. Meanwhile, slowly heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. When it becomes warm, begin adding in the grated cheese little by little, stirring constantly. Strain the pasta well and set aside. Once all of the cheese has been added to the cream and is fully melted and incorporated, add the pasta to the sauce carefully. You may want to add it little by little to make sure you get each strand fully covered. Alternatively, you can dish the pasta into dishes and then pour the sauce over the pasta. Garnish with fresh or dried parsley (if you have it) and extra cheese. Enjoy immediately.