Easy Baked Macaroni and Three Cheeses

6.28.2014


Well hellooooooo…    yes, it’s been that long, I know. How have you been, my friends? I’ve missed you like crazy, and you should’ve listened to my inner talk about this one being the week when I would resume my blogging; every single week since the third one of February when I posted the cheesecake brownies.  A minor detail the fact that I was hardly baking and/or cooking. Minor.
So let’s wing it and go straight to this easy recipe for baked mac and cheese.



I came back with a few food memories from my two year stay in California when I was young enough to go to middle school, a fact I shared with you when I recreated smitten kitchen’s recipe for homemade wheat thins. The box with the orange mac and cheese was something I looked forward to. As a messed up teenager – and I don’t mean that in a bad way, it’s simply a fact about being a teenager – being thin was one of my major goals, so pasta drowned in cheese was food I dreamed about, not food I ate regularly.
And then there was the non-cooking mother situation, a fact hard to overlook, which led to boxed and frozen everything whenever she could. And besides, I had nothing to compare to; the box of mac and cheese tasted amazing since it was my only shot at eating it. Now that I think about it, maybe my mom was onto something, lower the food expectations of your household and the three things you do make occasionally will be talked about as if they were a freaking flavor sensation.


Back to our humble dish of pasta with cheese here, it was by accident that I made it. My last secret recipe club post was coming up, and being one with the memory of an elephant, I never looked up who my secret blog was. I just went and made a recipe from the one I was sure I had been assigned to. Imagine my surprise when I realized I had made another recipe from last month’s blog; not because of the recipe, but because I had little time to actually make it on time to post what I had really been assigned. That’s how you got the ham and cheese muffins and this baked macaroni and three cheeses recipe. Lucky you. And the fact that it’s all about cheese doesn’t escape me either. Maybe it’s a regression to those teenage years. I hope not. Ha.



Anyway, the easy in the title is for real, since sour cream is involved, and that makes it creamy without trying. A sharp cheese is absolutely necessary, unless you want bland thrown into the equation; I use blue cheese because, well, I worship it, it’s one of my favorite flavors – a few hints here and there in this blog, the skillet blue cheese burgers, my mother’s legenday leftover pasta frittata, or the amazing pumpkin ricotta gnocchi with blue cheese butter.
What is exclusive is the au gratin part, fancy words for broiling it in the upper part of the over. Because, my friends, mac and cheese with no crunchy part on top is just not worth it. Said by the person who fought over orange macaroni and cheese with no crunch whatsoever. 



That was then, this is know. I turned 46 a week ago, at least I can say my palate evolved.


  
EASY BAKED MACARONI AND THREE CHEESES

Serves 2

Ingredients

1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup milk
½ cup shredded sharp parmesan or asiago cheese + ¼ cup for topping
½ cup cubed mozzarella cheese + ¼ cup for topping
½ cup crumbled mild blue cheese
1 cup elbow macaroni, cooked and drained (I made 1 cup so I could have 3 servings)
2 tablespoons chopped onion
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Dash of sriracha sauce
Large pinch of fresh thyme

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Have ready to medium individual oven ramekins.
Mix sour cream, milk, ½ cup parmesan, ½ cup mozzarella, blue cheese and onion in a bowl.
Add cooked macaroni, season with salt, pepper, thyme and sriracha and mix well. 
Top with the rest of parmesan and mozzarella cheeses, dividing evenly.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, and lastly broil for 5 minutes, being careful not to burn it.


31 comments:

  1. HIIIIIIII Paula! So GOOD to see you back with this delicious comfort dish!

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  2. Yay! Welcome back - you don't know how much I (and all the others, I am sure) have missed your posts and you! It is funny that you are making mac and cheese, as it is already on our docket for tomorrow evening! I have a ton of leftover cheese cubes form a work event. I hate cheese cubes. So they need to be destroyed. And turned into something yummy and gooey. I will probably combine you recipe and my mother's - I think the combo will be good. xo, David

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  3. I've wondered where you were. I was afraid I had offended you or something. :)
    Welcome back.

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  4. YAY! So glad to see a post pop up from you :-) And how delicious this one looks and sounds... perfection!!

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  5. Hola, Pau!
    Me encanta, me encanta, me encanta ... será porque me gusta tanto el queso y la pasta y a mis hijos también les encantan estos macarrones/fideos ... aunque es verdad que tampoco los hago tan seguido como quisiera.
    El punto es, sin embargo, que acabo de enterarme de que viviste en USA durante tu adolescencia y que tenés la habilidad inigualable de pensar en inglés ¡¡sin traducir!! Ja-ja !! Nunca más se me cruza por la cabeza dejar un comentario en mi inglés-sin-pena-ni-gloria.
    Me llamó la atención tu comentario acerca de que llegaste a soñar en inglés: un viejo profesor de latín decía siempre en la facultad que se domina una lengua cuando se llega a soñar en ella. ¡Bien por vos!

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  6. My dearest Paula, I'm so happy to see a new post from you! Every now 'n then I was checking here to see if you posted anything since that delicious brownie. I know you've been busy with life, work, etc. and I totally understand needing to take a break. Your mac n cheese looks incredible, especially with that crispy topping. I hope this means we'll be seeing more of you in the blog. I've missed you!

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  7. Love the idea of using some blue cheese. Looks so beautifully cheesy.

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  8. Dear dear Paula. . when I saw this post in my email I had to look twice!! so nice to see a post from you!!! How are you?!!! Happy belated birthday. . I hope things are well and you are happy. . it's funny you mention the sour cream here. Sour cream is one ingredient I've been using quite often. . not only in savory dishes but sweet too! I've been adding sour cream into all of my cakes lately. freaking love it. And love this baked mac and cheese. way to make a solid come back! and does this mean you will be blogging again more frequently?

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  9. Welcome back Paula so good to see you blogging again! I haven't had mac and cheese since I was a kid - this looks just the thing for a cold winters night!

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  10. Hello dear friend! Taking a break from blogging is alright by me, but we did miss you! And what a way to begin again! Such a lush and flavorful Mac & Cheese that would be perfect with one of your grilled steaks.

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  11. Welcome back, Paula! I love Mac and cheese…one of my favorites! I love the addition of blue cheese.

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  12. That looks amazing! Nice to see you back. :)

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  13. Soooo nice to see you back, Paula! And sooo nice to have a super do-able recipe from the queen of gourmet cooking. With your mac 'n cheese you so cleverly combine sophisticated flavors but allow the home cook (like me) to shine as a fellow gourmet..Does that make sense? I hope so because I want to communicate what a big fan I am of Paula of Vintage Kitchen Notes!

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  14. I have missed you.. it's been so long since you posted.. :)
    I like this macaroni bake.. something I am planning to make since ages.

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  15. Hello Paula,
    This recipe looks awesome and lovely photos as always!

    Welcome back, I have been in the same situation. I have projects that are interfering with blogging regularly at the moment.

    Happy Birthday!!

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  16. Welcome back, my friend! I've missed you. Lovely photos in this post - you may not have been cooking, but it looks like you've been busy with the camera.

    Mac and cheese is one of my favorite comfort foods. This version looks fabulous!

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  17. PAULA!!!! Hello lovely! You have no idea how big my smile was when I saw this in my email inbox! I am glad to hear that you are well, despite ridiculously busy periods and limited time to cook. I've missed you heaps, alongside your wonderful words and delicious recipes. As for this mac n cheese? What a perfect way to get back into the blogging swing! This is one of my husband's favourite foods but we hardly ever eat it at home. I will have to give this recipe a go - I am already imagining his smile from ear to ear! Hugs, happy birthday for last week beautiful one! xxxx

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  18. happy birthday AND welcome back! you coming back is the best birthday present - for us! i too have missed you presence, and i'm so happy to read your wonderful words again.

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  19. Those cheese stretch images are serious food porn for me right now!
    I recently visited California and was seriously impressed with the food - not at all what I was expecting from my first visit to the USA...
    Oh & happy birthday for last week!

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  20. Welcome back! I've missed you! And belated Happy Birthday. I love mac 'n cheese, and this looks like it's top-of-the-class. Really good stuff -- thanks.

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  21. Oh my! I was lucky to have a mom who was a great cook. But, my brother & I loved cooking the blue-boxed stuff when our parents when out.

    Your version of Macaroni & cheese looks heavenly!

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  22. What a way to say welcome home! Nothing beats a great dish of mac and cheese. Good to see you again, Paula! And happy, happy birthday. At least you've grown up to eat the real stuff!

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  23. Qué bueno tenerte de vuelta, he extrañado tus post.

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  24. Welcome Back Paula! You come back with one of the world's best comfort foods- M and C. just love those photo shots with the cheese, you are making me so hungry. Take Care, BAM

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  25. I'm so glad you're back, Paula! You have been seriously missed! I used to love the boxed macaroni and cheese as a kid. Sometimes I'd love to try it again to see if it still lives up to my lofty childhood expectations.

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  26. A belated Happy Birthday wish to you. Your palate certainly has evolved from the boxed mac and cheese days, your recipe sounds great.

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  27. Belated happy birthday my friend! And welcome back :D
    I need this cheesy goodness of a delicious dish!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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  28. wow this recipe takes me back to my childhood... you've inspired me to recreate the old classic mac + cheese dish. thanks for the awesome ideas and great recipe.

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  29. This sounds a lot like the way my French husband makes mac & cheese and I love it. Welcome back :-)

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