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Feb 23, 2014 07:58 AM

Mac n cheese potluck

I've been asked to bring macaroni and cheese to my work potluck, which I make very well, but I need to be able to either keep it warm in a crock pot or heat it in the microwave. This usually results in separated, greasy awfulness. So, I was wondering if the addition of processes cheese, cream cheese, or something would help the cheese sauce remain stable? I want to add so little that it still tastes like my mac (which admittedly is a little different every time I make it)
Anyone have any experience with this?

My coworkers think I'm an amazing cook, though I'm pretty mediocre. But among this crowd I'm freakin Wolfgang Puck. I don't wanna let them down.
I have backup dishes in case this doesn't work out.

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    1. re: Puffin3

      I don't, I make a roux? Is that the same thing? (I'll google it. I know how upset people get when you ask questions already answered on here lol)
      But I will ask, in what way would that help? I have all day to figure this out. Thanks for your input.

      1. re: iheartcooking

        Sorry. I meant bechamel.
        It's a roux with milk added instead of some other liquid.

        1. re: Puffin3

          Oh, I do that, but with evaporated milk. I'm going to try heating separately on location, then combining, and also a bit of velveeta for backup. Not too much though, I think it tastes like band-aids.

          1. re: iheartcooking

            << I think it tastes like band-aids.>>
            PERFECT description!

    2. My suggestion would be to keep noodles and sauce separately. Heat noodles a little in microwave then heat sauce up until hot(maybe on medium) stirring occasionally then mix it together just before serving. If you cook everything before leaving and nothing is refrigerated the heating up will be faster and far superior.

      2 Replies
      1. re: DowntownJosie

        Thanks that's a good tip. I might try it. The only problem is, I'll be at work and entirely at my boss's mercy. And though she is a cool boss, she is constantly summoning me and it's always super urgent. (But not really. We work at Pier 1) so I want to hold it for about an hour without having to touch it. I still might be able to pull that off.

        1. re: DowntownJosie

          Ya, that's what I'd do too.
          Have done. Precook the macaroni to just el dente and add to really hot sauce a few minutes before serving. Makes transporting each ingredient a lot easier also.
          Big microwave proof bowl of each ingredient. Small separate bowl for the grated gruyere you'll sprinkle on top of course.
          I used to get a large bag of Old Dutch classic potatoes chips and crush them in the bag then sprinkle them on top of the mac and cheese then put on the gruyere before it went into the oven to heat under 'broil' just before serving. The crunch/saltiness was a nice counter-point to the softness of the other ingredients.
          Tried 'BBQ' chips one time. Didn't care for them as much. But know days there's dozens of different flavored chips you might consider trying.....if adding crushed chips is your decision.

        2. I use Alton Brown's Stove Top M&C recipe and substitute Velveta for some of the cheddar

          Last couple of pots have also included cauliflower. I have tried broccoli, I preferred cauliflower over broccoli

          1. Paula Deen's Creamy Mac and Cheese uses condensed cheddar soup and reheats really well. People around here go nuts for it.

            12 Replies
            1. re: Njchicaa

              Really? Because this is the one recipe I have made where every single person who tried it spit it back out (stupidly made it for an informal party - there were about 10 of us). It's the only dish I've ever just thrown out without making an attempt to salvage first. It was completely inedible and I'm a reasonably competent cook.

              Meanwhile, this the one time I think velveeta actually has a place. Substituting some of the cheese with velveeta will help keep it creamy when holding it for long periods of time.

              1. re: amishangst

                They really do. True story. I don't use her recipes as a general rule but this is one I've been making for years. I don't use the eggs and I add a bit of Emeril's Essence for extra flavor but otherwise it is her recipe.

                1. re: Njchicaa

                  Paula Dean's Creamy Mac. Emeril's (Cough) 'Essence'?
                  Did you miss 'Jamie's Jam'?

                  1. re: Puffin3

                    Not really sure where you are going with this.

                2. re: amishangst

                  i used the condensed cheddar soup trick once, amishangst, and had the exact same result you did.

                  a bunch of hungry, athletic, teen-aged, boys turned their noses up at it and decided to get fast food instead.
                  ended up chucking the whole thing.
                  i certainly wasn't going to eat that stuff!

                3. re: Njchicaa

                  Njchicca - can you send me the link to that recipe. I'd like to try it. Thx

                  1. re: Phlfan

          ! This recipe calls for it to be made in a slow cooker but the original one that I saw said to bake it in an oven until bubbly and that's how I make it. I omit the eggs. I used them the first couple of times I made the recipe but I didn't feel that they added anything so I've skipped them ever since.

                    1. re: Njchicaa

                      That does look good. I'll give it a try. Is it OK on the salt given the can of soup?

                      1. re: Phlfan

                        I add a sprinkle of salt but nothing major. At this point I kind of just eyeball everything because I've made it so many times. I never thought that I'd make a Paula Deen recipe so often but everyone truly loves it. It has surprised the heck out of me!

                        1. re: Njchicaa

                          I know what your saying. To be honest any food network recipe works well. They're great for TV entertainment but not in reality. I tend to stick with cooks illustrated and cooks country recipes. Even Martha Stewart recipes never work for me. And they're impractical. Only food TV recipe I like and still use is Emeril's waffle recipe.

                          1. re: Njchicaa

                            Oops. Food TV recipes never work well!