Calgary·Recipes

Recipes with Julie: Mouth-watering mac and cheese

Can't make the mac and cheese festival this weekend? CBC's food guide has you covered with recipes to satisfy KD cravings.

CBC's food guide offers list of cheesy dishes to satisfy comfort food cravings

Deep fried mac and cheese bites. (Supplied by Julie Van Rosendaal )

Canadians consume more Kraft Dinner than any country on the planet — including the United States.

The instant, shelf-stable boxed macaroni and cheese was introduced to both Canada and the U.S. in the 1930s, but the brand has gone through some changes in recent years.

In 2015, they attempted to tap into Canadians' sense of nostalgia about the lunch of their childhoods, re-branding it simply as "KD."

Both names have been uniquely Canadian since the '70s, when U.S. markets went with Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.

The following year, the company got rid of artificial dyes Yellow 5 and 6, replacing them with paprika, annatto and turmeric to create a surprisingly similar colour. Few people noticed the difference.

Though nothing quite compares to boxed mac and a little powdery packet of neon cheese, it's almost as easy to make from scratch — and infinitely better, if you appreciate proper cheese.

Bookmark cbc.ca/juliesrecipes to keep up with all of Julie Van Rosendaal's dishes

There's no need to bother with a béchamel; these one-pot macs are quick to stir together in one pot, and are not baked — though if you like a crispy top, scrape the finished pasta into a baking dish, top with buttered crumbs and a handful of Parmesan and bake at 350 F for about 20 minutes, or until bubbly and golden.

One Pot Mac & Cheese #1

A homemade bowl of mac and cheese. (Supplied by Julie Van Rosendaal)

Ingredients:

6-8 oz (½ lb.) dry macaroni or other small pasta

½-¾ cup whipping cream (35%)

2-3 cups grated aged cheddar, Gouda or other cheese ends

salt, to taste

Preparation:

In a large pot of boiling water, cook the pasta according to the package directions, or until tender but slightly firm to the bite.

Drain and return to the pot, back on the burner. Add the cream, cheese and a big pinch of salt and stir until the sauce bubbles and thickens. You're done.

Serves about four.

One Pot Mac & Cheese #2

Another pot of Julie Van Rosendaal's homemade mac and cheese. (Supplied by Julie Van Rosendaal )

Ingredients:

6-8 oz (½ lb.) dry macaroni or other small pasta

3 cups grated aged cheddar, Gouda or other cheese ends

1½ cups milk

2 tbsp. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. grainy mustard (optional)

salt and pepper, to taste

Preparation:

In a large pot of boiling water, cook the pasta according to the package directions, or until tender but slightly firm to the bite.

While the pasta cooks, combine the cheese, milk, flour, mustard (if you're using it), salt and pepper in a blender or food processor, and pulse until well blended.

Alternatively, just add everything directly to the pot once the pasta is drained — this is my new streamlined method of doing this.

When the pasta is ready, drain it well and return it to the pot. Add the cheese mixture and stir over medium heat for a few minutes, until it bubbles and turns in to cheese sauce. (Letting it bubble will ensure it reaches its maximum thickening potential, and will get rid of any floury texture.) Serves about four.

Deep Fried Mac & Cheese

Deep fried mac and cheese. (Supplied by Julie Van Rosendaal)

You could use any cold prepared mac & cheese (any kind will congeal in the fridge) to make these deep-fried cubes or balls, which look like arancini — I used a box of KD for the sake of nostalgia (and ease of writing the recipe).

Ingredients:

1 pkg. KD

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1-2 cups Panko or dry breadcrumbs

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan (optional)

canola or other neutral oil, for cooking

Preparation:

Prepare the macaroni and cheese according to package directions and spread into an 8x8-inch pan, two loaf pans or another baking dish, spreading it about an inch deep. Refrigerate until firm.

Once the KD is cold, cut it into cubes or roll into balls with your hands. Put the beaten egg into a shallow dish, and the breadcrumbs and Parmesan in another, mixing them together with your fingers.

The final product: deep fried mac and cheese bites. (Supplied by Julie Van Rosendaal )

Set a heavy, shallow pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat and heat a couple inches of oil to about 350˚F — it should be hot, but not smoking. (A scrap of bread dipped in should sizzle.) 

Roll the cubes or balls of mac & cheese into the beaten egg to coat and then into the breadcrumbs to coat. Fry in the oil for about two minutes, turning with tongs or a slotted spoon, until crisp and deep golden. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and serve warm. 

About the Author

Julie Van Rosendaal

Calgary Eyeopener's food guide

Julie Van Rosendaal talks about food trends, recipes and cooking tips on the Calgary Eyeopener every Tuesday at 8:20 a.m. MT. The best-selling cookbook author is a contributing food editor for the Globe and Mail, and writes for other publications across Canada.

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