Macaroni and Cheese Take 3

I have two other macaroni and cheese recipes on the blog and they are both good but… I’ve been looking for something better and I think I found it.  Soso said it was the best mac and cheese I’ve made by far and Peanut proved the point by eating a lot of it.

I adapted this recipe from one on Epicurious by Garrett McCoid.  I changed it up just a little bit by using two types of cheese, Cheddar and Monterey Jack and adding a dash of nutmeg. I put down 14 ounces of cheddar and 6 ounces of Monterey Jack, but that’s really an approximate. I use about 3 to 1 ratio, but it’s all flexible, depending on taste and the quantity of cheese I have on hand. Same thing with the pasta. Elbows are used traditionally, but my family likes Cavatappi/Cellentani or Pipette. I don’t think it matters too much, it just depends on personal taste.

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Macaroni and Cheese

Prep time: 15 mins  Cook time: 45 mins
Serves: 8

Ingredients

Topping (Optional)
3 tablespoon butter
1 cup Panko bread crumbs

1 pound pasta of choice
3 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoon flour
3 cups of milk
14 ounces of extra sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
6 ounces of Monterey Jack, grated
1 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper or to taste
dash of nutmeg or to taste

Directions

In a small saucepan, melt 3 tablespoon of butter for the topping. Stir in the Panko bread crumbs, toss and set aside.

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta until al dente, drain and return to the pot.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the remaining 3 tablespoon of butter. Add the flour and dry mustard and stir the mixture until smooth. Slowly add the milk while stirring constantly until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and add in the grated cheese and stir until it’s melted. Add the salt and pepper to taste. Pour the cheese sauce into the pot with the pasta and stir gently until the pasta is coated.

Pour the macaroni and cheese into a buttered 9 x 13 baking dish, top with the panko bread crumbs. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the top is light golden brown. Serve hot.

If making ahead, pour the macaroni and cheese into the baking dish and cool completely before refrigerating. It can also be frozen. Just make sure to wrap it carefully. Add the bread crumbs before baking.

Peanut Milestones!

Kids’ milestones are always a little bittersweet and this one is turning into the most bittersweet of them all.

Peanut is finally out of her crib and sleeping in a big girl bed.

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You can’t tell from all the baby blanket on the bed, but she has a Frozen comforter.

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She has moved into Soso’s bedroom. Both girls wanted it so we decided to give it a try. The hope is that Peanut will stop having these crying episodes and Soso will stop asking if she could sleep with us.

So here comes the bittersweet part… Peanut no longer wants to be held while I sing to her and be put down to bed. She told me that she can get into the bed herself. *CRYING* It was the one time I really loved holding her even during the difficult year and the on and off difficult months since as she went through her bouts of sleep issues.

Here’s the second one… In order to minimize potential disturbance to Peanut (since she goes to bed earlier) when Soso goes to bed, we no longer pray with her in her bed and tuck her in. She says goodnight to us and goes to bed all by herself. All these times I’ve been teasing her about when she was going to put herself to bed and it’s happened for real. I feel like I’ve suffered two losses!

Well, at least the next milestone isn’t bad at all.

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Peanut is eating at the table with us! She’s still in the high chair but she can finally comfortably eat off the table versus the tray. Of course now I have to worry about the tablecloth getting more food stains. Peanut is happy though because she’s sitting with us and not a little apart.

I guess Peanut isn’t as much of a peanut now.  I can’t believe how much she’s grown this year.  I’m finally at the stage with her where I want things to slow down a bit. I want to savor the little moments.  There was a time, not too long ago, when I would have given anything to be able to fast forward time.  I guess miracles do happen.

Rosie’s Back!

Soso and Peanut have been impatiently waiting for Rosie’s arrival ever since Thanksgiving. She showed up on December 1st, right on time to help us count down the 24 days to Christmas.

Day 1
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She even found the Elf on the Shelf book we had misplaced.

Peanut was really excited about looking for Rosie this morning, but we couldn’t find her. Then we did and she freaked us out.

Day 2
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I’m not sure what she’s doing in there and why she’s in there. Or why she was still there when we got home tonight. Elves sure are mysterious.