Sunday, June 7, 2009

Oh so creamy, Macaroni and Cheese (It's gluten free, too!)

Ode to Creamy Mac And Cheese!

Oh, how I long for thee
But with your glutenous ways
I rarely prepare ye

Until now!


Ah, I’m a happy girl. Happy, I say, happy!! Why, you ask, am I so happy? Well, I just figured out how to make an oh so creamy mac and cheesy that’s gluten free. And, guess what? It will work marvelously for you wheat eaters, too! This is good news because this recipe, I’m sure, can be varied in so many ways that I’m actually going to consider this a base recipe to be added upon and embellished based upon your fridge contents. Yep, I humbly ask that you try this, tweak it, and let me know what you did.

For some unknown reason, out of the blue, I started thinking about mac and cheese today. The weather has turned cooler (boo!) and a comfort meal was in order. My littlest mac eater endured surgery on her toe last Friday, and she misses eating mac and cheese (she’s my gluten free-er), plus my oldest mac eater gal loves mac and cheese, so I knew this meal would be well received. This is where I give kudos to my guardian angel. Not only did I think about mac and cheese, but for reasons not yet known, I thought about using evaporated milk to make it creamy. I have never used evaporated milk before in cooking. Never! Nada! So imagine my surprise when I was shopping today and I ended up in the baking aisle (my cart and I rarely venture down the baking aisle). Not one to mess with fate, I looked at the evaporated milk offerings and guess what was on the label? Anyone, anyone? Bueller? Ahem. On the can was a recipe for mac and cheese! (Insert twilight zone music here.)

Sooooo, I grabbed a couple cans, gave a wink in what I hope was the general location of my guardian angel (poor thing works a lot of overtime for me), and set off for home.

The recipe on the can was for regular pasta, but it really didn’t take much to tweak it for gluten free pasta. I used Tinkyada brand rice elbows for the pasta part and a mix of 3 shredded cheeses plus Parmesan for oomph. I also decided to bake it with a crunchy topping. Now, you wheat eaters can use seasoned bread crumbs. For you gluten free-ers, try this. It’s WONDERFUL! Substitute Rice Chex for breadcrumbs.Rice Chex by General Mills is gluten free!Just pop some in a bag, squeeze out the air, and seal.Simply smoosh the bag with your hands or with a can or the side of a plate. I used the evaporated milk can. Then treat these as you would for bread crumbs. I melted a pat of butter, dumped in the crushed chex (yep, dumped), sprinkled with seasonings, and let cool. I then added about a ¼ cup of grated Parmesan to it, and set it aside until the mac and cheese was ready to go in the oven. Here’s how you make the yummiest mac and cheese!

1 lb of pasta, cooked al dente
2 cans evaporated milk (that’s evaporated, NOT condensed)
4 generous cups of grated cheese (I used sharp cheddar, medium cheddar, and gruyere)
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
White Pepper
Red Pepper
Rice Chex Topping

(See what's missing? No roux! No flour!)Preheat oven to 350, and grease a 9 x 13 baking dish. In a large dutch oven, preferably non stick, heat the canned milk and the 4 cups of cheese over medium heat.NOTE: I used Sharp Cheddar, Medium Cheddar, and Gruyere. Feel free to experiment with your favorite cheeses, just be sure to incorporate something strong in the mix (like the sharp). Stir until melted. Gently fold in the Parmesan cheese. Season to taste with the peppers (or whatever seasoning you like -- my cheese was on the salty side, you may want to add salt or seasoned salt here). Pour the cooked, drained pasta into the dutch oven and stir gently.You can serve it this way. It’s ultra creamy and oh, so good!Or, you can pour it into the prepared baking dish, sprinkle with the chex topping, and bake covered for 15 minutes, and then remove the cover and bake 5 min more! YUM!It looked so pretty on these darling dark brown plates. I wish I had more photos (uh, better photos) for you, but the troops were literally standing over me wanting their servings. This mac and cheese is WONDERFUL! Very creamy and that crunchy topping was a perfect match. I served ours with magnificent sauteed chicken medallions and a side of broccoli. Mmmm ... Sooo good. Of course, since it was guardian angel inspired, what else could it be? How about you, what has inspired you lately?

16 comments:

Manggy said...

Yay for a successful gluten free mac and chee! (ooh, I'm a poet!) I'm glad the little one doesn't have to sacrifice her comfort treats, that is awesome. Evaporated milk can actually be substituted quite well for recipes that call for cream to be cooked in for richness. Also, I'd actually heard of someone accidentally using condensed instead of evaporated in mac and chee in some forum for nightmare food :P I honestly don't know how one makes that mistake, but then again Filipino kids grow up with both and we know the diff :P

Bellini Valli said...

We have to have our gulity pleasures, so hurray for gluten free pasta and Chex!!

Cathy said...

How clever are you, Paula!!! I love the suggestion to use Rice Chex for a crunchy topping. Mac and Cheese sounds perfect on these cooler days.

Lynda said...

This looks like perfect mac and cheese-I'm sure your kids were delighted!Your so clever!

Marjie said...

Hooray! I love M&C, my dearly beloved, not so much. I finally got a little warmer this weekend. Sorry I took your heat from you, but we really, really needed it! If you need a roux, use half as much cornstarch as you would flour. I promise, it will work, I promise! I never use anything else, and we don't have gluten issues!

Cheryl said...

Ohh that looks good, my best friends mom always made it with evaporated milk, YUM!

Mediterranean kiwi said...

this looks delicious - so tasty, so simple, and your topping is perfect

Lisa said...

Clever ideas! Macaroni and Cheese is a comforting staple on many family menus and this gluten free version is no doubt a great help to lots of folks. Frankly, I'd love to have it on our menu for dinner tonight.

Grace said...

hooray for chex! i knew it was a great cereal, but i had no idea it was so useful. i'm so glad everyone in the house is able to partake of mac & cheese now.

and lovely ode. :)

The Blonde Duck said...

Oh my God! That looks like Luby's mac and cheese! Totally drooling...

Annette said...

I love your "professional" kitchen tools....."crushed it with the evaporated milk can"...
Sounds yummy...and no roux!

Pam said...

I can have regular old gluten mac and cheese, but I'm taking some of these ideas to my reg mac and cheese.

The rice chex topping is genius!

DayPhoto said...

Wonderful! A Gluten free mac and cheese!

I am new to this gluten free stuff so finding your blog has been wonderful!

Linda
http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com

Jan said...

Crushed breakfast cereal makes a great alternative to breadcrumbs, I often use crushed cornflakes, but will bear the rice chex in mind. This macaroni cheese sounds super, thank goodness for your guardian angel.

BTW, re: your last post, we have just had yet another mega thunderstorm here. Fortunately, the tornado warning came to nothing,(huge sigh of relief). When I lived in England, I used to think storms like these only happened in the movies, I guess not! I hope your allergies are on the mend.

Deborah said...

Oooh, now I'm wishing I was having THIS for dinner!

Peter M said...

Paula, what a wonderful application for Chex cereal! Mac & Cheese is always good but when you're using up stray ingredients...waste-not-want-not is the right way to approach food.