Thursday, March 11, 2010

If At First You Don't Succeed...


I said I would do it and now I have. I took a swing at Lyle's Macaroni and cheese recipe (Recipe Here) and while I ended with success It was not without its own blunders and hard learned lessons.

Attempt #1:

You probably can't tell by looking at the picture, but you're looking at something like 4 quarts of inedible gelatinous Macaroni. For a few key reasons, but first lets start with what the recipe calls for:

1) 1 box of macaroni (4 cups/1 pound)
2) 3 cups grated cheddar or Colby cheese
3) 2 cups milk
4) 2 eggs
5) 4 tablespoons butter
6) 3 tablespoons flour
7) 1/2 tablespoons pepper
8) 1 teaspoon mustard

My first mistake was that in the creation of my white sauce I used Almond milk instead of ACTUAL milk, 1) because I try to eliminate dairy from my diet whenever I can (and no one better say 'eliminate the dairy from Mac and CHEESE' Shut up) and 2) quite simply I didn't have any and didn't feel like buying some. Now I feel the jury is still out on whether I could have actually pulled this off with almond milk, because the main problem was that my almond milk is the VANILLA flavored variety. Now this it typically no problem when used in for form of baking or other similar type dish, but somehow it didn't occur to me until it was too late that sweet and mac an' cheese doesn't really mix.

I had not originally intended to use the eggs but upon adding my almond milk I was gripped with the fear that the sauce wouldn't thicken because I didn't use real milk, so I threw them in. Now this fear lead to what I believe was my ultimate undoing.

I stirred and stirred my white sauce, looking for signs of its thickening and becoming 'creamy', and instead of cooking it for the recommended 2 minutes, I cooked it for nearly 10, ramping up the sugar concentration of the sauce and skyrocketing past "creamy" into "gravy" before I realized my mistake.

However, not one to acknowledge a folly, I poured my concoction over my cheesy noodles and my dish more resembled a green bean casserole than a macaroni and cheese. But into the oven it went and 30 minutes later I pulled it out and beheld the horror of my making.

After it cooled my mother grabbed and little and said, "Ugh, too sweet", but I brushed it off and sat down to have a fist sized slice. At first it was okay, but quickly realized that this... was completely inedible.


The poor abomination of a meal sat in my kitchen for several hours before I finally decided (at 5am) that I was gonna try again and follow the recipe TO THE LETTER. So into the trash my mac went and off to Walmart I skipped and returned with more noodles, cheese and real milk.

Attempt #2

I started again and my white sauce came out with much better results.
Oh, and let me just say, I used cheddar, Colby and Monterrey Jack cheeses and Lyle's recipe says 3 cups is enough and 4 is extravagant. The way I figure it, what am I if not EXTRAVAGANT, so 4 cups of cheese it was.

The sauce poured on much better the second time (it actually SANK INTO the dish, instead of just pooling on top) and I did a quick spread to make sure the sauce was more or less evenly distributed.
Thirty minutes later I was greeted with this:

Much nicer (and more like Lyle's picture lol). After letting it cool I popped it into a few containers and plan to eat them this weekend for my lunches at school. And while it looks lovely and I haven't actually sat down to eat any yet I foresee one problem:


Dear God does it need salt.

::sigh:: You can take the artificial processed food out of the girl but can't take away the desire for it's taste.

Thank you so much Lyle and I can't wait to try some new recipes!

ADDENDUM 07:59pm 3/11/10:
Once again educated on how one should occasionally listen to ones mother.
My mother said that the Macaroni would taste better as left overs and being the ignorant child I (occasionally) am, I didn't believe her. But lemmie tell you, after having a dinner of Mac and cheese, green beans, and salad before work, it definitely is better the second time around.

Only needed a little salt, lol.



  1. LOL I almost died laughing reading this. I must confess to being a little freaked out because I am more of a seat if the pants cook than a by the recipe. I was and am a little nervous that the ratio of sauce to macaroni is too low - a little more milk and it is creamier and more full of curds which is what really good mac and cheese is all about. We will have to work on a scaled back recipe - cause i think a whole batch is too much - unless you share of course.

    Keep writing

  2. LOL I'm glad you got a kick outta this, ^^.
    I think It's okay to do cooking your style, but I don't think you can until you have a basic understanding and comfort with cooking basics, which I don't have yet, so recipe it is. Well, I don't know if it'd be better with more milk or not but it was very good the way I made it (the second time of course). I took it to school with me and had it for lunch both Sat and Sun, I didn't even use any salt, lol. And while it was a big batch, I don't think it was a problem, it allowed me to store it and eat it for several meals, its flavor getting better and better. Plus you can't really argue with savings, I think I MAYBE spent $7 on the fixins (cause I bought organic milk) and it's fed me three times so far, my mother at least once and there's still enough left for probably one more meal. $1.40 an entree, not too shabby.