A Canny Bus Treat
Jay R. Cavanaugh, Ph.D.
Everyone loves macaroni and cheese. Nancy Wife and I sure do. Before we even start you better know that this recipe is a heart attack on a plate. I tried to measure the grams of saturated fat and just lost track. Whatís really different about our Canny version is that using Better Bud Butter actually lowers the saturated fat quite a bit but not nearly enough to call this healthy.
Please donít even try to follow this recipe too closely. Improvise. If you donít like white cheddar use yellow. If you donít like sharp cheese use Longhorn or mild. Heck you can even use a good Swiss cheese like Jarlsberg. Itís OK. You wonít go to jail for substitutions. Of course the cannabutter does make this overall recipe a Federal felony. Can you imagine getting 10 years in Leavenworth Prison for felony Mac? Yikes.
Once youíve made your own home baked Mac youíll never do store bought again. The key to this recipe is using the freshest ingredients you have that meet your particular taste. If youíre a vegetarian youíll love this recipe even without the ham (some vegetarians can consume dairy). If youíd prefer to use bacon or even ground beef instead of ham, go for it! You want it spicier? Kick it up with diced fresh chilies. This recipe comes with three guarantees:
- Youíll love it
- Youíll gain weight (lotís of us patients need that J)
- Youíll probably require anti-cholesterol meds if you eat this too often
8 tablespoons of Better Bud Butter
4 tablespoons of flour
2 cups of regular milk
1 cup of heavy cream
8 ounces of aged cheddar cheese grated (white or yellow)
12 oz of good macaroni noodles (you can use penne if youíre snobby)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cracked black pepper-to taste
1 tablespoon Jayís Essence or cayenne pepper- to taste
8 oz of fined diced smoked ham (real Black Forest if you can find it)
Optional: 2 medium sized Jalapeno chilies finely diced
Optional: Ĺ cup finely diced Maui onions
Optional: 1/3 cup of fresh bread crumbs
Cook the pasta of your choice in lightly salted boiling water. We use fresh pasta so 4 minutes is more than enough. If you use dry try 8 minutes. The key is Al Dente (that means "to the teeth"). Actually, I went to school with Al and have never forgotten him. A handy trick is to add a cap full of olive oil to the water to prevent sticking. Cook the pasta then drain and set aside.
Slowly melt the Better Bud Butter over a low heat. Gradually work in the flour with LOTS of stirring (yes youíre making a rue). Whisk in the milk and bring to a slow boil then turn off the heat. Add the spices and mix in the finely grated cheese (yes, youíre now making a Béchamel sauce). As the cheese melts (it will be very thick) slowly add just enough cream for the texture you like. Mix in the diced smoked ham and chilies and/or onions if you like.
Pour all of the ingredients into a large greased (we use Pam) baking dish and sprinkle with bread crumbs if you like (we leave them out for reasons explained below).
Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 20-35 minutes or until brown and bubbly.
Hint Number One: Let the dish sit out for at least ten minutes before you try to plate it. This stuff is hot, hot, and hot.
Hint Number Two: Mac Attack Two (otherwise known as Maximum Mac)
Assuming you and your friends donít finish the entire casserole on the first evening, cover the leftovers and place in the refrigerator for 24 hours. The next night cut out rectangles of Mac Attack and dust with flour, roll in an egg wash, roll in fresh crumbs, and yes, oh my God, deep fry at 350 degrees. Yum! This dish is not for cardiac amateurs. Keep your nitro handy.
Recommended beverage: Any good Oregon Pinot Noir lightly chilled
Caution: Do not operate heavy machinery or attempt surgery after eating. Donít drive after two helpings.
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