Macaroni and many cheeses

This is Week #19 of my 2011 cooking challenge! Click here to view all recipes from this challenge. All recipes created for this challenge come from the Food and Wine Annual Cookbook 2010: An Entire Year of Recipes.

Ok, so I haven't had the best week in the world. Everything seems to have exploded at once. Why does that always seem to happen? By Saturday of this past week, I just wanted comfort, and preferably in the form of food. I was pleased to see that this comforting macaroni & cheese recipe was next on the list for my challenge! That could not have worked out more perfectly. I prepared it while my boys napped and then served it to them for dinner (they both loved it!) and, after they were in bed for the night, I went downstairs and scooped myself a huge bowl full of the comforting cheesiness. I sat in my little spot on the couch as I devoured its splendor and sipped wine and flipped through cookbooks. I suddenly forgot about the insanity in my world for a bit, and just enjoyed my comforting down-time.

Preheat your broiler. In a medium saucepan of boiling salted water, cook 2 cups of elbow macaroni until al dente. Drain well.

Meanwhile, in another medium saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of butter over low heat.

Whisk in 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour until a paste forms.

Gradually whisk in 3 cups of milk until smooth.

Bring the sauce to a boil over moderately high heat, whisking, until thickenend.

Off the heat, stir in:

2 cups mixed shredded semihard cheeses (Mimolette, aged Gouda, Vella dry Jack)

Salt and pepper

Stir until melted.

Stir themacaroni into the the cheese sauce and transfer to a 9x13 glass or ceramic baking dish.

Sprinkle 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese over the top.

And broil 4 inches from the heat source for 4 minutes, or until richly browned. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Thanks for being there when I needed you, mac & cheese.

Macaroni and Many Cheeses

Comforting, cheesy goodness!

Contributed by Megan Porta from

Published May 11, 2011

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Serves: 4-6

Total time: 35 min



  • 2 cups elbow macaroni
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 cups mixed shredded semihard cheeses, such as Mimolette, aged Gouda and Vella dry Jack (1/2 pound)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  1. Preheat the broiler. In a medium saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the macaroni until al dente; drain well.
  2. Meanwhile, in another medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Whisk in the flour until a paste forms. Gradually whisk in the milk until smooth. Bring the sauce to a boil over moderately high heat, whisking, until thickened. Off the heat, stir in the mixed shredded cheeses until melted. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Stir the macaroni into the cheese sauce; transfer to a 9x13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish; sprinkle on the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Broil 4 inches from the heat for 4 minutes, until richly browned. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Happy 4th birthday, my beautful boy

Elijah, I love you more than I could ever explain to you. I love your smiles and your silliness and your giggles and your requests for me to tickle your "cute bony knees." I love that you yell, "Wook, Dad! Mine mommy is home!" when I get home from work in the evenings. I love the way you pretend that you have a bad back and walk hunched over as you let out fake groans. I love how you love to chase me around the house and I love your heart-melting smile. I love your love for books and for learning and I love the way you tell Sammy to "Get some sweep!" every night before bed, right before you kiss his head. I love the way you sing "Jesus Loves Me" and I love how friendly you are with everyone you see. I love how it feels to have your arms wrapped tightly around my neck and I love how you talk and sing to yourself all the time.

Thank you for everything you have taught us and thank you for telling me that you love me every day. I love you, my sweet sweet boy. Happy 4th birthday.

Check out our fun Monster Cupcake recipe!

Snow snow snow, we cannot escape the snow

We left 30 inches of snow in Minnesota to come to this.. the south, where we did not expect to see snow. And do you know what everyone is saying? "We haven't seen snow like this since...well, since two years ago! When you were last here, as a matter of fact!" Of course!

But we are cozy inside and enjoying each other.

One thing I have learned is not to get too worked up about things that are completely out of our control. Like the fact that my husband and I are supposed to head to the mountains today for a 3-day childless vacation, but the weather may not allow that to happen.

Like that! Out of our control. Let it go. And let it snow.

Our taxi is not totally clean

In fact, not many toys in our house are clean. Most things have some level of crud on them. Slobber, dried food, you name it.

I was sitting on the couch last night relaxing, something I do not often do. My husband was at a movie with a friend. The boys were in bed. I looked around the room at the toys that were sitting out, and, aside from realizing that most of them were dirty, I realized how incredibly blessed we are. Our boys have everything they need, and then some. It is so important to me that they understand how blessed they are, how blessed we are.

Since having children, I have struggled with Christmas. All of the expectations surrounding this season make me feel heavy. It becomes so easy to lose sight of what is truly important, and I hate that. I don't want that for my family.

We make an effort to do good deeds for others, especially this time of year, to detract from the "I wants" that we see all around us. I want Christmas to be fun for our boys, and I'm confident that it is, but that doesn't mean we have to shower them with a ridiculous amount of gifts. And we don't. That is not what Christmas is about. It is about Jesus! And celebrating him!

So this is a little reminder to myself to keep focused on that because truly, it is the only thing that matters.

A cream cheese dinner

So this is why he asked me to open the fridge for him. He wanted to sit on the kitchen floor and eat cream cheese straight from the package.

I allowed him to indulge for a bit and then put him in his chair for dinner. He pushed his bowl of pasta away and very politely said, "No thanks. Cream cheese for dinner, please, Mom."

I should mention that this is likely my fault. When I was his age, I did the same thing except with a tub of butter. I know, totally gross.