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Mac and Cheese Help

Hi - I was wondering what cheese combinations are your favorite in this American classic. I've made the Dinosaur BBQ's recipe and while it's delicious it's very laborious. I'm looking for a smilar flavor with less work. Any suggestions?

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  1. http://fourchordkitchen.com/recipes/2...

    I'm going to try this tonight. No need to boil a huge quantity of water, no roux/bechamel to dilute the cheese flavor. Just need some sodium citrate that I bought from Amazon last week. I'm slow cooking a pork belly so this should go great with that.

    7 Replies
    1. re: zackly

      I make my mac and cheese exclusively with sodium citrate now. You can use any liquid, and it's particularly good using beer.

      1. re: TorontoJo

        I am also a convert to using sodium citrate. It's pure cheese flavor, and I use the proportions from Modernist Cuisine. I'm an extra sharp cheddar kind of gal! I got my sodium citrate from Amazon as well. You'll have to wait to get it, but once you try it, you'll never go back.

        Someone else here suggested making a cheese dip for tortillas, using a pepper jack cheese. I'm going to try that next for the Superbowl party!

        1. re: Heidi cooks and bakes

          I've made a great nacho cheese dip with beer, cayenne powder, garlic powder and cheddar (and sodium citrate). My in laws inhaled it.

      2. re: zackly

        thanks so much for the sodium citrate info, I'd never heard of it before and when Amazon has it again, I'll order some.
        Yeah, they're sold out.
        thanks again

        1. re: sylvan

          FYI, I order dried herbs and spices from My Spice Sage and they have it. I ordered 1 oz. just to try. No, I have no affiliation with the company, just been very pleased with their service, quality and free shipping.

          1. re: sylvan

            Mine turned out great as well as a huge batch of nacho cheese sauce for two Super Bowl parties. I'm a convert!

          2. re: zackly

            I did this last night, following the fourchord directions.
            It worked well! I mostly use old-fashioned mac and cheese recipes like Horn and Hardart's, this is different but way worth doing.

          3. I have made the Joy of Cooking mac and cheese, which does involve making a Bechamel and adding a ton of cheese. My preferred cheese is a sharpish Cheddar.

            You can top your mac and cheese, if you wish, with crushed, buttered Cheezits.

            I don't make this for Mr Sueatmo and myself, or for anyone in my family. It is too rich and too carby. But if I want to feed someone who is sick or provide food for someone else, then I absolutely love making it. I save a small portion out, and then we get a small taste of a forbidden and wonderful dish.

            1 Reply
            1. I use Kellygold's Dubliner as the base -- love that sweet nutty flavor. I combine that with a sharp or extra sharp yellow cheddar (about 2 parts Dubliner to 1 part sharp). I use a well-aged one.

              Then I add whatever I've got on hand: Smoked Gouda is nice, Comté, even a bit of something blue. Anything that's hard enough to shred that we enjoy eating. Half a part or even less of these and one of them is enough. I wouldn't muddle the flavor with too many. Finally, some Parm for bite.

              I also use a ton of cheese.

              It's isn't necessarily a cheap meal. It isn't low-fat. But it sure is good!

              7 Replies
              1. re: rainey

                That sounds great...I love Dubliner cheese...I know this sounds strange but in Dinosaur's recipe they call for American...which is what I think makes there's stand out a bit..thanks for your response

                1. re: lpatter

                  I actually like a combination of aged Cheddar and American. The Cheddar provides the deep flavor, the American adds creaminess. I use Stop & Shop American, which is the only one I can stand.

                  But there are times when I feel like mixing it up a bit, altering the texture with cream cheese or cottage cheese, or varying the flavor with Gruyere or Comte or Gouda or whatever's on hand. And freshly grated Parm never comes amiss.

                  Mine is a stovetop version. What I do is cook my pasta (current favorite is cavatappi, but most any shape will do), drain it and return to the pot with the chopped-up cheeses and some half and half, sometimes a dollop of sour cream, cook until cheeses melt, slip in a dusting of bread crumbs if it's too drippy or if I just feel like a grainier texture. Add salt and cayenne to taste, occasionally some ancho powder, and I'm good to go.

                  1. re: chowfox

                    Land o Lakes also makes a good American. (I also don't usually like American.)

                2. re: rainey

                  I love Kellygold cheese too. Any variety would be wonderful in mac and chese.

                  1. re: sueatmo

                    You guys mean Kerrygold right?

                      1. re: gmm

                        Oops---yes! Irish cheese. Very good and reasonably priced.

                  2. I have used the sodium citrate, but prefer a bechamel. The sodium citrate method is very rich, and reminds me of boxed Mac and cheese with squeeze cheese.

                    This week, I made my bechamel Mac and cheese with leftover bits of cheeses...a couple ounces each of an aged gouda, some tilsit, smoked mozzarella, sharp cheddar and very sharp aged white cheddar. I was afraid the tilsit would make it funky, or the smoked mozzarella would be too much, but it turned out to be a very nice combination.

                    1. I make an easy baked mac and cheese. Half a box of pasta (I use mezze penne), cook it up. Add it to a bowl with 8oz of sour cream, 12oz small curd cottage cheese, 1/3 cup grated parmesan (fresh, not powder) and 2 cups of shredded cheddar. Mix in bowl, add to a greased cassarole dish and bake for about 35 minutes.
                      It's very tasty and easy.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: masha bousha

                        Yum. I have a cost co size tub of cottage cheese to use up and have been meaning to make a ham Mac n cheese. When would you add ham to this? Just when mixing? Or should I cube, sauté briefly and then mix in?

                        1. re: rabaja

                          Cottage "cheese" in Mac and cheese makes me cry....

                          1. re: C. Hamster

                            Obviously you're not Hungarian. It makes me weep with joy.

                        2. re: masha bousha

                          mash bousha
                          thanks i'm going to try your recipe...

                        3. I primarily make two forms of mac n cheese at home. The first is not baked and I use a combination of equal parts shredded cheddar melted in a cup of cream, and any port wine infused cheese a common brand is Wispride. I love a port wine cheese and find the flavor really adds to a mac n cheese, it also gives the finished product a unique pink-ish color.

                          For baked mac n cheese I will use either the same cheese combination above or just cheddar melted in a can of Campbell's condensed cream of tomato soup. Melt the cheese into the soup, place in a baking pan, cover in bacon and bake letting the bacon grease bake into the mixture.

                          1. I prefer a pretty sharp Cheddar mixed with other cheeses that melt a little better - Muenster, Havarti, Fontina are a few favorites.

                            Here are a few links with some good ideas:


                            1. Here's one...stupid good, stupid easy:

                              1 pound macaroni
                              6 eggs
                              2 cans evaporated milk
                              1 tsp salt
                              3 cups shredded sharp cheddar
                              2 cups shredded Monterey jack
                              "some" Parmesan cheese

                              Cook the pasta and drain. Then put it in a rectangle baking dish.

                              Blend all the sauce ingredients in a blender and then just pour them over the noodles, completely soaking them.

                              Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or so.

                              I've played around with different additions (bacon, crab), different cheese, and also usually add crushed Ritz crackers and a melted butter drizzle on top.

                              I've also made this ahead (usually with a little milk tossed in because the pasta absorbs some while it sits) and cooked later.


                              1 Reply
                              1. re: jbsiegel

                                To the OP: using evaporated milk, you don't need a roux. It keeps the hard cheese from forming grainy clumps. Another way to achieve the same thing is to use Velveeta or any other pasteurized process cheese food, whether sliced or not, as part of the cheese mixture. I never "plan" to make mac and cheese. I open the cheese drawer, see mold starting on various cheeses, and it's M&C time! Shave off the mold, and get to it.

                              2. Sharp Cheddar, particularly Extra Sharp Cheddar doesn't melt into cheese sauces well, tends to become grainy. I usually do a combination of Cheddar, Muenster, and Colby.

                                I've heard of people saying to put Sodium Citrate in Mac and Cheese, something about it making the sauce melt much better - but I could never find it in the stores. I've also heard it helps to throw a few slices of plain old processed American cheese in too for a similar effect.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Atomic76

                                  When you want to melt sharp cheddar it helps to use well-aged cheese and add it and adjust the temperature slowly.

                                  OTOH, I don't do a creamy mac & cheese because I want lots and lots of really sharp cheese. ;>

                                2. My go-to recipe is based on a de-Velveeta'd Cooking Light recipe... it uses a mixture of sharp cheddar, fontina, and parmesan in a pseudo-bechamel sauce (flour + milk, no butter).

                                  1. best mac and cheese I've made I used swiss and white cheddar.