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Three Mac and Cheeses for a Ravenous Crowd

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Did everyone have a good holiday weekend? I for sure did. I attended a few awesome BBQs, and was even the host of one! It was one of the best parties I have ever thrown, and full coverage of the main event I am saving for Friday, but today I want to talk a bit about 3 different mac and cheeses I made as sides. Everyone knows I am famous for mac and cheese, so I really had to deliver. The cool thing about this idea was that I was able to make one massive pot of cheese sauce, then just add stuff to the different pans of pasta. The first was chipotle, jalapeno, and tomato, the second an herb puree, and the third I left plain.


A whole gallon of milk went into this cheese sauce.



And 120 oz of cheese. It took me forever to grate all this cheese.



There was 6 lbs of pasta total, 2 boxes in each pan. I cooked 2 boxes at a time and mixed in the flavorings right in the baking pan. More info on this process down below.



From left to right, herb, chipotle, and plain. Time to go into the fridge until the party the next day.



I am happiest when holding a hot pan of mac and cheese.



I tried explaining what was what, but everyone was pretty much foaming at the mouth for some food. It was a few hours late after all...



Bianca, like a true food blogger, taking pics of the mac.



Everyone attacking.



It's like an Irish flag of mac and cheese! Too bad this was a Fourth of July party... Maybe I can make red, white and blue mac and cheeses next year...



Whoa, there was a lot of people in my back yard!





Come back friday to see the main dish!


There was 6 lbs of dry pasta, so 2 boxes went into each baking pan. I had the water boiling, dropped 2 boxes of pasta in, fished it out after a few minutes so it was still a little underdone, then mixed it with some of the cheese sauce and it's special mix-ins right in the pan it would be baked in. I repeated this process to fill all 3 pans, then split up the remaining cheese sauce so that each pan had an even amount. Fridge overnight, then bake for an hour and serve. Everyone was outside at the party, so it wasn't a big deal that the oven was on.

The cheese sauce started with 2 1/2 sticks of butter and a half an onion diced small. Make sure you have a really large pot. Add a cup of flour and whisk so there is no lumps. Cook a few minutes whisking constantly, then add a whole gallon of milk! Whisk so its smooth and heat stirring often until it is steaming and almost at a boil. Slowly add in all the cheeses whisking often. I had 120 oz of cheese(my general rule is 20 oz per pound of pasta), split between cheddar, jack, colby, and swiss. All store brands, nothing fancy or expensive because it was already 30 bucks worth of cheese! Shredding all the cheese took about 20 minutes itself.

For the herb version, I added a whole package each of arugula, basil, parsley, and oregano to some truffle oil in the blender and worked at it until it was smooth.

For the chipotle, I mixed in 2 whole cans of chipotles in adobo, a half cup of pickled jalapenos, and 1 large tomato, all chopped up.


5 Comments

I loved the chipotle version! Thanks again for having us :)

Haha...Titties 'n' Beer!

What an awesome way to bring tons of food, but still vary it.

Taking forever to grate the cheese, though? Ew. I use my mixer to do it and am done within minutes. Yes, with that amount of cheese (http://www.quirkycookery.com/2011/04/cheese-cheese-cheeeesssseeee-ducks-are.html Feel free to remove the link, but I felt the need to prove my case...see? lots of cheese, haha).

And now please excuse me while I go dig out my adobo peppers and tackle some chipotle mac and cheese. I'm drooling here. :(

Oh snap! You are definitely a mac and cheese genius Dan!

And I just finished reading about the pig roast - way cool!

Your three mac and cheeses sound so very good! I'm wondering if you remember how much of the herbs arugula, parsley, basil and oregano you used? As well as chipotle, were those four ounce cans?

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