This has been a crazy week, culminating with a birthday party this past Saturday. Of course, we didn't know it was going to be crazy when we scheduled the party, but hey... Sometimes you gotta roll with the punches.
My friend, Karen, was the first to arrive, determined that I should be properly attired for the event.
This wasn't quite what I had in mind, but at least she proclaimed me fabulous. :)
I hate having my picture taken with Karen. She's so tiny.
And looks exactly the same as she did when we first met a dozen or so years ago. Disgusting.
So in planning this event I thought, "This is my party. I can have whatever I want." Of course, as usual, I forgot to take pictures of the spread. But then, when you're wearing pink antennas on your head, one can't be expected to remember everything. So I will have to tell you what was on the menu.
Texas Style Barbecue Brisket (you can find that recipe here)
Grown Up Mac n Cheese (recipe to follow)
Ooo, that reminds me. I had to play with my cupcake corer again and made this fabulous raspberry filling.
In a medium saucepan, I mixed together 2/3 cups of sugar, 3 tablespoons of cornstarch, 3/4 cups of water and a teaspoon of lemon juice. Heat and stir until mixture boils and thickens. Remove from heat and let cool. Stir in a 12 oz. package of THAWED frozen raspberries and fill cupcakes.
They were absolutely divine with buttercream icing. Not too sweet, with just the right amount of tartness.
But I digress. Cupcakes will do that to you.
However, it's this amazing macaroni and cheese I want to tell you about.
Here's what you'll need:
- 1 lb. elbow macaroni
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 2 tsp. ground mustard
- 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp. hot sauce (I used Tabasco sauce)
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 qt. whole milk
- 8 oz. Havarti cheese, grated
- 1 lb. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 12 oz. white American cheese, grated (at least that's what the recipe calls for. I see no reason why you couldn't use yellow American)
- 1 sleeve Ritz crackers, or similar, crushed
- 2 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Cook your macaroni in boiling, salted water for 6 minutes. Reserve a 1/2 a cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta and rinse under cold water and set aside.
Melt 4 Tbs. (half a stick) butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. You'll see that I used a skillet. Why? Because the font on the recipe was very tiny and I failed to break out my readers until later, so I though it said skillet.
Whisk flour, mustard powder, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce and cayenne into the melted butter and cook, still whisking, for 1-2 minutes.
Whisk in the milk and cook, whisking occasionally, until the sauce begins to boil and thicken, about 5 minutes.
Reserve 1 cup each of the cheddar and American cheeses and set aside.
Stir the remaining American, Cheddar and the Havarti into the sauce mixture until the cheese melts.
Stir in the macaroni, adding the reserved pasta water as needed to make a creamy sauce. Personally, I didn't use any of the water. It was just fine without it.
Salt to taste.
Pour mixture into a greased 9 x 13 pan, or whatever you like. I choose my cast iron casserole pan.
Melt the other 4 Tbs. butter in microwave. Stir in the crusted crackers and Parmesan.
Sprinkle the reserved cheese over the macaroni.
Followed by the cracker mixture.
Cover with aluminum foil (I used a lid) and bake for 25 minutes.
Remove foil/lid and continue baking until browned and bubbly, about 20 minutes.
Let rest 10 minutes before serving.
Now for you less-than-adventurous people, I again feel the need to say that just because there's a little hot sauce and a little cayenne, that does NOT mean this dish is spicy. Yes, it has a bit of a kick, but nothing that would make you say, "Hey, this is spicy." Not with all that cheese. It's merely flavorful. I promise.
It was a great evening, hanging with friends and family. All my kids and grandkids were in the house, along with some of my favorite people. Oh, and the dogs.
Maddie has grown quite comfortable in her new home. And she loves playing with our Golden Retriever, Dixie. You can ignore the fact that Dixie is baring her fangs. She's harmless. Maddie on the other hand...
Of course, all that play wears a puppy out.
Even sorting laundry can be very tiring.