Welcome to another week of Tasty Tuesday here at The Young'ns!
There’s a recipe index under the food tab above if you’re ever looking for a recipe I’ve already blogged.
Every Monday, I plan on trying a new recipe. If it goes well, that’s what I’ll be posting on Tasty Tuesday. If not, I’ll post a tried and true (i.e. something I don’t have to think about too hard) ;)
I found this recipe for Macaroni and Cheese Panera Style on Pinterest a few weeks ago, and it sounded quite tasty. But, then I read all the ingredients and the prep method, and it left something to be desired. So, here’s my version. But since I changed several ingredients and I don’t know that I’ve really ever had Panera’s mac’n’cheese, we’ll just call it White Mac’n’Cheese, mmmkay?
- 1 pound medium pasta shells
- 5 tbsp butter
- 4 tbsp flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 4 oz grated sharp Vermont white cheddar cheese
- 4 oz grated Monterey jack cheese
- pinch of salt
- pinch of pepper
- dash of garlic powder
- 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
- 1/4 cup Italian dressing
- Boil pasta shells until just cooked and tender. Drain.
- While pasta is cooking, melt butter over medium in 2.5 qt sauce pan (or a deep skillet works well too). Add flour and whisk until it starts to turn brown. Just until it STARTS turning brown! If it’s too light, it will taste like flour. If it’s too dark, it will taste burned and be lumpy. So take your time on this step!!
- Mix milk and heavy cream together. Pour slowly into the butter/flour mixture (now called a roux), whisking the entire time to avoid lumps.
- Continue to stir until just boiling and it starts to get thick, about 4 minutes. Do not turn the heat up! Medium is fast enough and will give you time to get any lumps out before it gets too thick.
- Once it is just boiling, remove from heat and add the cheese a bit at a time, stirring the whole time, until cheese is all melted and sauce is smooth. If it’s not melting very well, put the pan back on the heat over low.
- If, at this point, you think the sauce is much too thick, add a bit more milk to thin it out. But remember, you want it to be pretty thick, just not like library paste.
- Season with salt, pepper, and garlic. Pour sauce over noodles and transfer to serving dish. Sprinkle top with panko.
- For the chicken: put thinly sliced chicken in a skillet with Italian dressing and cook over medium heat until chicken is done, about 8 minutes (if you’re me. If you’re my husband, it’s more like 15 minutes because he likes it all dried out, blech). I usually do this step while I’m making the white sauce, but it’s up to you.
- To serve, scoop some noodles into a bowl and lay some strips of chicken on top. Mmm, creamy and cheesy! Delish!
PS As long as you don’t call it mac’n’cheese, the kids love this dish too! Are my kids the only ones that think mac’n’cheese MUST be yellow in order for it to qualify?? I had to tell them it was noodles with white sauce