Recipe 3: Macaroni & Cheese Deluxe

Good news!  Thanks to the technical ministrations of Loverman, the computer is back up and running!  Bad news: The computer is still refusing to talk to the digital camera (or is it vice versa?), so the pictures for the last post and this one will be delayed a bit further.  Alas.  Edit: Added!

Anyway, I promised I would give you folks a recipe that didn’t come from Food Network (not that the recipes are bad, just to provide some variety), so here it is.  I’ve downloaded some cookbooks on my Kindle, and one jumped out at me in my browsing: One that is all mac and cheese recipes from the Gooseberry Patch!

Brief tangent: I received my Kindle as a gift a few Christmases ago from my mother-in-law.  I probably wouldn’t have bought one for myself, but now that I have one, I actually really like it.  Sure, there are definitely times I prefer to pick up a physical book and thumb through the pages, but when it comes to traveling, even just to appointments, it’s great to have a wide selection of books available without taking up much weight.  Plus the cost of books is often cheaper.

Anyway, the recipe… Well, maybe I should let the verdict speak for itself:

Macaroni & Cheese Deluxe (from Circle of Friends Cookbook – 25 Mac & Cheese Recipes by Gooseberry Patch)

Ingredients

  • 2 c. cream-style cottage cheese (notes on this below)
  • 1 c. sour cream (this was about an 8oz. container)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3/4 t. pepper
  • 1/2 t. garlic powder
  • 8 oz. package shredded cheddar cheese (I used sharp white)
  • 1 1/2 elbow macaroni, cooked (I used quinoa)
  • Optional: Paprika

Directions

In a bowl, combine cottage cheese, sour cream, egg, and seasonings.  Add cheddar cheese and mix well; add macaroni and stir until coated.  Transfer to a greased 13″ x 9″ baking pan.  Bake, covered, at 350 degrees (pet peeve: seriously, could you not have told us to preheat the oven back at the beginning?) for 25 to 30 minutes, or until heated through.  Sprinkle with paprika, if desired (I did desire).  Makes 6 to 8 servings.

...and looks like this after you take it out and uncover it.

Verdict: 1.5/5

Guys, this seriously bummed me out.  I was actually kind of excited at the prospect of what seemed like an extra-creamy recipe and the unorthodox addition of cottage-cheese.  But what exactly does “cream-style cottage cheese” even mean?  Does it mean ricotta?  Why not just say that then?  What I did use was small-curd 4% milkfat cottage cheese.  Was it the right choice?  I don’t know. 

Also, the way they put the measurements of the pasta was different than many other recipes: in cups rather than the size of the packageDid they mean measure the pasta dry or after it’s been cooked?  I measured when it was dry and used a bit more for good measure, and it still seemed the pasta-to-cheese ratio, as Loverman put it, was off.  I love me a super-cheesy mac, but there was way too much cheese and not enough mac.

What I do know though is that despite all those creamy ingredients, the dish turned out anything but creamy; in fact, it was watery.  Should I  have drained the cottage cheese – or used a different type entirely?  Maybe.  I drained the pasta as thoroughly as I ever do, so I don’t think that was the issue, but regardless, as I dished out the mac, there was a veritable kiddie-pool at the bottom of the dish.  Yuck.

That having been said, I don’t think the flavors were necessarily bad.  The problem was more with a lack of clarity in the directions (at least in my opinion – I shouldn’t have to guess what they mean!) but even more so with texture.  It was… squishy.  Were it not for the puddle in the dish and the unpleasant texture of the dish, the flavors themselves might have been all right, but I just couldn’t look past the mushiness.  This recipe might be worth a re-visit in an attempt to correct the many wrongs in this dish – inspiring me to add the tag “due for a do-over.”

On an amusing note, you may remember that when I posted my first recipe, an Alton Brown creation, I mentioned that my husband, Loverman, is a bit of an Alton fanboy.  When I was getting ready to serve dinner tonight, Loverman indicated he had e-mailed me a recipe that he felt should be our next mac and cheese attempt.  Lo and behold, it was the Alton Brown mac we had already tried.  He was in disbelief that it could have been a gaffe from his beloved Alton.

But I do always need ideas for new mac and cheese recipes to try!  If you have a recipe you’d like to see me try, e-mail me at weeklymac*AT*yahoo*DOT*com!

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