Hello there! Nice seeing you again! Thanks for stopping by and not forgetting about me during my unintentional blogging sabbatical. I appreciate it. :)
When I was about 14, my family moved into a new house. The kitchen had been re-done shortly before my parents bought the place and the cabinets were custom and most of them had sliding, pull-out shelves (a la Ikea). I was fascinated by them. I had no idea this was a "thing." I'd never heard of Ikea (forgive me, Swedish ancestry). The state of Minnesota didn't even have an Ikea until I was well into my twenties. I thought that whomever designed the kitchen cabinets was genius, and really onto something.
So, fast-forward until we bought our house. We have a few really deep cabinets. I hated going into them. It was impossible to get things out of them (you can guess where this is going now, can't you). Every time I took out my flour container, it felt like a puzzle getting it back in. I had wanted for almost the entire year-and-a-half we've lived here to do something about those damn cabinets. I was crushed when I learned that one particular cabinet was not the right size to be able to drive the 4 miles to our Ikea and pick up some of the magical shelves. Then, I discovered a company that will custom-make the shelves to fit the actual dimensions of your cabinets.
So, I present to you, the before and after:
I swear, the Hallelujah chorus from Handel's Messiah went through my head. It's amazing how much easier it is to get things out - like the pasta to make this mac & cheese. Even my husband, who firmly believes that mac & cheese is a side dish, not a main dish, agrees that this is really good stuff.
Yes, this picture was taken a while ago while it was nice outside.
White Cheddar Mac & Cheese
Recipe from Annie's Eats (she got it from panera.com)
Serves 4-ish (probably should be at least 6)
1 lb small pasta
4 TBSP butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups dairy liquid (milk, cream, half & half - whatever)
4 oz white American cheese, chopped (I usually just use Velveeta - white American is oddly hard to find around here)
8 oz sharp white cheddar, shredded (I usually use reg. orange cheddar)
1 tsp Dijon mustard (or more, if you really like dijon)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp hot sauce
Cook pasta to al dente. Drain & set aside.
Meanwhile, melt the bugger in a large saucepan over medium heat (my dutch oven works well). When the butter is melted and a little bubbly, whisk in the flour, stirring constantly, for about 1 1/2 minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk and keep whisking until the lumps are gone. Reduce the heat to medium-low, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens, about 8 minutes.
Remove from heat and add the cheese by the handful, whisking until the cheese is entirely melted before adding more. Repeat until the cheese is all added. Stir in the mustard, salt, & hot sauce.
Return the pan to the heat and stir in the pasta, stirring to thoroughly coat all of the pasta with the sauce. Cook for 1-2 minutes to make sure everything is heated through.