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Mac & Cheese
Last night skitten and I went to a pot-luck and sing. As the day went on, I was worried more and more about what to bring. Finally, I decided with about 2 hours to spare to go with Mac & Cheese (inspired by the 5lb bag of shredded cheese on the counter). Off to the store, got macaroni, came home, and looked up a recipe -- from Rachael Ray, since I knew her recipe would be quick.

As I notated it for cooking purposes:

Heat 1 T oil, 2 T butter over medium heat. When melted, add 3T flour, combine, whisk until smooth & cooked, 3 min or so. Slowly add 3/2 C milk, bring milk to bubble. Allow milk to thicken, then add 2C shredded cheddar, a little at a time. Season w/ nutmeg & cayenne, salt. Add 1# cooked mac to sauce and coat completely Transfer to baking dish, top w/ 1C cheese, broil until browned cheese on top.

I used sweet paprika instead of cayenne (skitten isn't into spicy, and I didn't have cayenne on hand anyway), and some spicy mustard as well. No nutmeg. The recipe called for whole or 2% milk, I used fat-free milk. So I upped the butter from 2T to 4T to replace the missing butterfat.

I didn't get a chance to sample it until we were at the pot-luck, where it had to compete with at least two other pasta dishes, two meat dishes, two bean dishes, etc. I don't know if the fact that it wasn't finished when we left is an indication as to how well it went down; none of the other dishes were finished either.

I think it came out well. The sauce wasn't exactly as smooth as I'd like, but it was good.

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Real cheese never gets perfectly smooth. This means you did it right. :-)

sounds delicious, sans paprika or cayenne, for me (it is all poison to my system).

I was thinking that as I was putting it in, actually. You wouldn't like my thoughts for a gluten-free variant: rice noodles instead of macaroni would have been OK, but using potato flour for the roux would be a no-go for you. (Actually, I think the potato flour was in my mind for the חָמֵץ‎ free version, where even rice-flour or corn-starch would be not allowed to the Ashkenazim.)

What spices would work for you for Mac&Cheese? The mustard is good, I know, but what else?

Cumin would be an interesting flavor - a bit Mexican or middle eastern tasting, but still good.

Other than that, I don't know. I'm pretty much a peppercorn person.

I thought it was ok- but I would have added in vegetable chunks, garlic salt and black pepper (sorry Joan) I would have as you know also replaced all butter with olive oil... basil maybe?
I would have probably added diced onions for flavor, mushrooms, scallops &possibly even chopped & diced walnuts....
heck I might have even diced beets into tiny bits & put *them in as well as cauliflower & snap peas

That starts to move to far away from "Mac and Cheese" and more into a general vegetable casserole bit.

Onions and garlic, in small amounts, are a possibility in keeping with M&C, as would other Alliums like shallots or scallions (scallops, while an interesting, off-the-wall choice, would not really work for me, being seafood and all). I will admit to entertaining a M&C recipe which calls for sauerkraut and (fake) corned beef, but even then, it doesn't claim to be a straight-up M&C.

It did need salt and pepper, I'll admit. Also, tigira doesn't have a problem with black pepper, as it's completely unrelated to the peppers she's allergic to.

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