RecipeHacking – Number 1

5 Mar

Welcome to the first installment of RecipeHacking.

Below is the first recipe, ready for you to hack. For RecipeHacking Number 1 we are focusing on an old favorite with a lot of potential: Mac and Cheese. Below is a terribly basic version of this old stand-by. To participate in RecipeHacking all you have to do is create a new version of Mac and Cheese with your own special twist. It can be a subtle change and a recipe revolution – just make sure you improve on the original (find out more about RecipeHacking here).

Post your new version in the comments section below and check back often to see what others come up with. Feel free to discuss and debate other’s recipes in the comments section as well. In a few weeks Erica and I will announce a winner. This round’s prize is a gift certificate to Whole Foods where you can get the goods to make the winning dish (or anything else your taste-buds desire).

Good luck – and hack away!

Mac and Cheese

7 ounces macaroni
3 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add macaroni pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
3. Toss the pasta into a big bowl with cheese.
4. Pour into 2 quart casserole dish. Cover the top with a healthy layer of cheese.
5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and heated through.

18 Responses to “RecipeHacking – Number 1”

  1. Pasta recipes March 6, 2008 at 5:58 am #

    Good recipe. I have learned a new recipe from this article. I have huge information about pasta recipes which are easy to prepare and delicious to eat.

  2. Anastasia March 6, 2008 at 9:12 am #

    Oh my! I’m on this! My favorite all time comfort food. I’ll try this weekend to whip up a batch of my favorite recipes in my serving dishes…individual little servings!!

  3. Matt Boulanger March 9, 2008 at 12:50 pm #

    Hi guys- didn’t know you had this blog, but I do now and it’s in the feed reader!

    Kate’s not a big mac n cheese fan, but I know what I’d do to hack this:

    Toss all but a handful of that grated cheese with a little flour, salt, pepper and paprika. Warm up some milk in a pot to just under boiling, and slowly stir in the cheese to make a sauce. The sauce could probably be a little thin, because it will cook into the pasta. Then, mix pasta and sauce and top with the extra cheese and some chunks of old bread that have been buttered and sprinkled with a little garlic powder. Bake like you describe above.

    I’ll probably make this the next time Kate’s out of town and live on it for the duration…

  4. Shawn March 16, 2008 at 8:11 pm #

    I was going to suggest paprika, too! Except as more as a light topping, along with breadcrumbs. I would also go “all out” and use a gruyere or an emmentaler (or combo!) to make it a bit more fancy. I love the idea of the chinks of bread with garlic powder. Yum!

  5. Anastasia March 17, 2008 at 12:00 am #

    Mac N’ Cheese for 2
    **This recipe makes enough for 2 large individual servings or 4 side servings.

    4-5 slices of prosciutto (gotta add some Italian flavor!)
    2 cups of any small pasta
    1 1/2 cups milk
    2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    2 tablespoons flour
    ½ cup, grated Gruyere or Fontina cheese
    ½ cup , (soon to be local!), extra-sharp VT Cheddar
    ¼ cup crumbled blue cheese
    ground black pepper
    Pinch nutmeg
    stale bread, crusts removed
    2 tablespoons, freshly chopped basil

    Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

    Place the slices of prosciutto on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake until the prosciutto slices are almost completely crisp, about 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the slices to paper towels to drain and let cool. Then crumble and reserve for later.

    Cook pasta according to directions. Salt the water!

    Cheese Sauce:
    Heat the milk in a small saucepan. Be careful not to boil it.
    Melt the butter in a separate saucepan. Stir in the flour, being sure to combine it with the butter very well, to make a roux. Let it cook, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes. Do not let it darken. Gradually add the milk, about 1/4 cup at a time, whisking or stirring vigorously to incorporate. (You can add a little red pepper paste to add a richer color!). Cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until thickened and just starting to boil…but dont let it boil.

    Add the cheese and stir until melted. Add salt, pepper AND nutmeg.

    Add the cooked pasta and crumbled bacon. Stir well.

    Butter 2 gratin dishes or 4- 6 oz ramkins.

    Place the bread in a food processor until you have coarse crumbs. Add the basil and pulse to combine. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the top of the pasta. Bake for 35ish minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.

    **You can make this ahead and keep it in your refrigerator overnight.

    ***The basil turns the bread crumbs green which was a bonus pre-St. Patty’s Day.

    Rich and velvety…

  6. Anastasia March 17, 2008 at 12:08 am #
    We’re dorks.
    We drank wine.
    Listened to good music.
    Drank more wine.
    Justin took pictures.
    Then we ate.
    It was good.
    And, this gave us a fun exuse to be food dorks.
    Thanks, Josh and Erica.
    We look forward to the next recipe hack…

  7. Lindsay March 27, 2008 at 8:35 pm #

    Tom and I had a Mac n’ cheese contest. the result is that we are both giant losers. here’s my recipe

    2-1/2 cups skim milk
    3 tbs flour
    1 tbsp Margarine
    1.5 cups fat free mozerella
    1/2 cup blue cheese
    1 can of artichoke hearts, diced
    2 cups elbow mac

    melt margarine in saucepan and add flour, stirring constantly
    add milk, stirring constantly, bring to a boil over medium-high heat and boil 1 minute.
    Remove from heat.
    Stir in cheese until melted.
    Add pasta (should be pre cooked)
    Pour into dish — Stir everything together
    if you want, mix bread crumbs and crushed walnuts to put on top of the casserole
    Bake uncovered in 375 degree oven 25 minutes or until lightly browned. salt & pepper to taste

  8. Jenna March 27, 2008 at 8:38 pm #

    How ’bout vegan style?

    … It’s surprisingly “cheese”-y

    – 1 1/2 cups plain soy milk
    – 1 cup water
    – 1/3 cup tamari or soy sauce
    – 1 1/2 cups nutritional yeast
    – 1 tablespoon paprika
    – 1 tablespoon garlic powder
    – 1 tablespoon salt
    – 3 ounces firm tofu
    – 1 cup vegetable oil
    – 1 1/2 lbs macaroni noodles
    – 2 teaspoons mustard (optional)


    1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
    2. Boil water in a big pot for the pasta.
    3. All of the ingredients sans pasta can easily go in a blender (liquid and powdered) — this is by far the easiest way.
    4. Once pasta is cooked, drain and put it in the baking pan pour the cheese sauce over the pasta.
    5. Bake until the top of the pasta looks slightly browned and crispy about 15 minutes.

  9. Adrienne March 28, 2008 at 8:34 am #

    I am looking forward to trying some of these recipes, especially Anastasia’s recipe with gruyere and blue cheese. Wow!
    l will always love Grandma Kate’s “Mac & Cheese Deluxe”! (Josh knows this one well!)

    1~ 7 oz pkg elbows
    2c small curd cottage cheese
    1c sour cream
    1 slightly beaten egg
    3/4 t. salt
    dash pepper
    8 oz. shredded sharp cheddar

    Cook & drain pasta. Mix all other ingredients except paprika. Add pasta to cheese and mix well. Sprinkle with paprika. Cook 45 min at 350. Enjoy!

  10. Tom March 28, 2008 at 10:00 am #

    This was my recipe. with Pepette (?) and macaroni pasta with finely chopped green pepper, baby portabellas and about a half teaspoon of cayenne pepper.

    Below is the base recipe I used without my add ins. We had a lot of fun! Looking forward to hanging in TX!



    1 tsp (5 ml) salt
    1/2 tsp (1 ml) pepper
    2-1/2 cups (600 ml) milk
    2 tbsp (30 ml) Margarine or butter
    2 cups (475 ml) (8 oz) velveeta
    1 cup shredded Pepper Jack cheese
    2 cups Elbows and Peppette pasta
    about a cup of chopped baby portabella mushrooms and green pepper

    In medium saucepan combine salt and pepper; stir in milk.
    Add margarine.
    Stirring constantly, bring to a boil over medium-high heat and boil 1 minute.
    Remove from heat.
    Stir in cheese until melted.
    Add pasta.
    Pour into dish — Stir everything together
    Bake uncovered in 375 degree oven 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Pig out.

  11. Kate & Darren March 30, 2008 at 11:37 am #

    I am still drooling over the pictures of Anastasia’s mac & cheese. We’ve got a veggie friendly though non-vegan recipe that we make pretty regularly. It’s the first meal Darren made for me when we first started dating (I may have invited myself over for dinner). 😉

    Cook 2 cups macaroni elbows in salted water until tender. Drain the macaroni.

    Saute1 small sweet yellow onion (chopped) in 1 1/2 tablespoons butter until soft. Add 10 mushrooms (sliced) and cook until tender.

    Steam 2 cups chopped broccoli until tender (about 3-4 minutes).

    Mix the macaroni with 1 1/4 cups gruyere (shredded), 1 1/4 cups cheddar (shredded), 1 cup half and half, the cooked vegetables, 3-4 teaspoons tamari (you can use soy sauce but the tamari tastes better), cayenne to taste.

    Place mixture in a buttered casserole dish and sprinkle top with 1/2 cup shredded cheddar.

    Combine melted butter and breadcrumbs and sprinkle mixture over top of cheddar.

    Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

  12. Ixel March 31, 2008 at 10:42 am #

    Stovetop Mac ‘n Cheese (*Cajun Style)

    We made this on the stove and dirtied as few dishes as possible. Cajuns do not like to do dishes. Cajuns do not like to measure ingredients.

    cut several handfuls of grape tomatoes in half and place open side down in a med-hot skillet with butter and olive oil until they are caramelized (about 8mins), remove and put aside until later.

    Into the same skillet add a few tbsp of butter and flour and make a roux. Add 1 to 2 cups of milk and stir until incorporated. Add 1 tbsp dijon mustard, a lot of chopped garlic, cayenne and black pepper, and 1 tsp nutmeg. Add 1 cup each grated sharp cheddar, jarlsberg, parmasean, and mozzarella. Stir until it looks like cheese sauce. Add the tomatoes.

    Toast 2 English muffins and lightly butter. Food process (or chop) into rough crumbs.

    Add 1 lb of cooked and drained medium shells to the skillet and toss with cheese sauce. Sprinkle with muffin crumbs and more cayenne.

    Cajuns don’t like to waste, so eat up!

  13. Brian March 31, 2008 at 8:20 pm #

    It took me awhile to add to this large body of macaroni and cheese scholarship, but as I write this I have a ceramic pie dish full of it in the oven. Here’s how it goes:

    -Cook three cups of a small, curvy noodles
    -Mix it up with a fistful of gruyere and a fistful of cheddar, both grated
    -add some black eyed peas, mix it all up
    -pour some milk in the pan so it will steam a little
    -add cayenne and sea salt
    -cook until it browns

    If I had any sense at all, I would have added some chopped parsley and some bread crumbs, but I had neither.

    The cajun style, by the way, is very enticing!

  14. Erica April 1, 2008 at 7:59 pm #

    I love that so many people have risen to the Recipe Hacking challenge! Thank you to all who have participated in the recipe sharing fun. I can’t really contribute since I’m judging the entries but wanted to mention that once someone came to a potluck at our house and brought homemade mac and cheese topped with crushed up graham crackers. Very interesting indeed – a little sweetness mixed with the salty sharpness of the cheese! I wish I could remember who it was who brought the dish, but alas it escapes me. Just something else to try if you’re sampling each of these mac and cheese renditions.

  15. kathleen April 12, 2008 at 6:29 pm #

    i wanna know who won the contest. cajuns like to be in the know. cajuns don’t like to be left out.


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