Mmmmm Mac & Cheese-my turn that frown upside down comfort food. My all time favorite love story! If there is Mac & Cheese on a menu, it will be on my table! I have had my share of gourmet Mac & Cheese, from lobster mac to truffle oil mac. My favorite is still the simple plain baked mac and cheese (with extra cheese, of course!) In college, it was the 4 boxes for 1 dollar kind, made with double margarine (for you could get 4 boxes of that, too for 1 dollar) and my roommates and I never seemed to have any milk to make it the correct way. The added margarine just made it doubly rich!! (Good old college cuisine on a budget!!)
They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. This may be true, I sent over a piece of homemade cheesecake to my hubby after knowing him for 15 years and he finally asked me out for coffee and the rest, of course, is history!! But I think it should be put, the way to a “person’s heart is through their stomach” for mac & cheese does it for me! My hubby knows this and is great about making a special mac & cheese delivery whenever I need it most! If I am under the weather, it is always mac & cheese to the rescue!
It is not often I have any leftover Mac & Cheese (I have no control) but if I do, I like to share the love and make a treat for my hubby. This is after all, the week to share love! What could be better than Mac & Cheese? Fried Mac & Cheese with BACON!!
Fried Mac & Cheese: I can tell you exactly where I was when I came across fried mac & cheese bites on a menu. It was almost as if my mind couldn’t grasp the concept-my favorite thing in all the world fried-how? Now I know, of course, that the secret is to freeze the mac & cheese before frying. So let’s get started:
Press COLD mac & cheese into a 2-inch biscuit cutter. This will be the mold. You can also use any shape cookie cutter you would like. Press the mac & cheese firmly down. As you do, it will begin to stick together. Flip over and firmly press down again. Make “patties” about 1 inch thick. Repeat until you have your “patties” formed. Put into a freezer bag in a single layer and freeze overnight.
Let’s set up a breading station like we did for the jalapeno Cheese Grit Cakes http://wp.me/p57UhS-aM
Station 1: Flour seasoned with red pepper and garlic powder
Station 2: Egg Wash (1 egg with 2 TBSP water, milk or cream) with a couple of dashes hot sauce
Station 3: Bread Crumbs (seasoned or plain)
Dip frozen mac & cheese cakes into flour, shake excess, then into egg wash, then into bread crumbs. Set aside.
Heat a fryer or skillet over medium heat with a thin layer of oil (Can even use olive oil.) Fry the cakes 2-3 minutes per side or to desired crispness. I fry mine until quite crispy and dark, like the edges of a pan of mac & cheese-my favorite!
They are quite tasty as is and you will be tempted to take a bite, but hold off, it gets better. We are making a bacon cream sauce for them!
Bacon Cream Sauce: This sauce is a really simple one and is also good served with grilled chicken. Cut 3 slices bacon and cook the bacon pieces in a skillet. Drain the fat. (Or you can use leftover cold cooked bacon, crumble in pan and heat over medium low heat.) To the skillet over medium low heat with the bacon, add 8 TBSP (1/2 cup) of chicken stock and simmer for 1 minute. Add 4 TBSP (1/4 cup) of cream (or 1/2 & 1/2), simmer for additional minute. Next, add a beurre manie’ (kneaded butter-now that you know this trick, isn’t it so easy?) http://wp.me/p57UhS-cZ Use 1 TBSP butter to 1 TBSP flour kneaded together and put into skillet, turn heat to medium, whisk constantly for 1 minute. The sauce should be a nice and thick cream sauce. (Think biscuits and gravy!) If you prefer a thinner sauce, just whisk in additional cream or broth. Season with black or white pepper.
That’s it. Enjoy the lusciousness of fried mac & cheese topped with bacon cream sauce. This is a good reason to save some of your kids or grandkids mac & cheese and share it with a special someone! Go ahead grate some extra cheese on top, I won’t tell anyone!
Put your TO COOK IS TO CREATE thinking cap on: What is your favorite mac & cheese? Does it have anything in it, like jalapenos, bacon, sausage? What kind of sauce would be good with it? Cheeseburger mac & cheese?- try it with tomato sauce. Mexican mac & cheese?-try it with enchilada sauce http://wp.me/p57UhS-dS. All mac & cheese can be fried, just freeze it first then pair it with a complimentary sauce!
FOOD FUN: According to Wikipedia, in 1802, President Thomas Jefferson (who fell in love with mac & cheese in Italy and even brought back a pasta machine) had a “pie called macaroni” served at a state dinner but the guests were not enthused. Then in 1824, a three ingredient (macaroni, Parmesan cheese, butter) recipe for “macaroni and cheese” appeared in a cookbook called “The Virginia Housewife” written by Mary Randolf (Daughter of Jefferson and Hostess in the White House). That was the start of something big in the U.S.! Then in, 1937, that “boxed” version hit the shelves selling 9 million boxes that year. Today more than 1 million boxes are sold daily!! Mac & Cheese is even an official color in a box of crayons! Now that is recognition!!