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Entries in mac and cheese (3)


Cheeseburger and Fries Mac and Cheese

Cheeseburger and Fries Macaroni and Cheese

Cheeseburgers. Cheese fries. Macaroni and cheese. Good old all-American foods. Craving all three? I’ve got you covered! This mac and cheese incorporates all of the elements of a cheeseburger and fries, or cheeseburger and cheese fries, if you prefer. I’ve not only included the fries and the burgers, but also the traditional cheeseburger goodies--ketchup, mustard, and pickles! And you know what? It’s so. damn. good. Not for every day, mind you--but for a treat? Kid’s birthday? Potluck? Hell yeah!

My 15 year old daughter loves macaroni and cheese. A lot. She…puts ketchup in it. (I know, right?) Which always grossed me out. Without fail. One day, not too long ago, she was squirting ketchup into her mac and cheese, and I got brave and asked for a bite. I had to see what all the fuss was about. Surprise--it was pretty good! She could have asked me for anything in that moment, and out of shock, I’d have probably said yes. Good thing she didn’t, right?

So that got me thinking about cheese and ketchup, and that led to cheeseburgers, which brought me to cheeseburgers and fries. The mac and cheese was right in front of my face, too. It was all a natural progression, you see.

The fries are actually cubed roasted potatoes. I even made teeny hamburger patties! Side note--the tiny patties with a squirt of ketchup and a piece of diced pickle? Addictive, I’ve got to say. All that was missing were tiny squares of sliced cheese.

Cheeseburger and Fries Mac and Cheese

Cheeseburger and Fries Macaroni and Cheese
makes one 9x13 pan

1 russet potato
olive oil
salt and pepper
onion powder
garlic powder
1 pound ground beef
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp burger seasoning, plus a little more for sprinkling over (I used Weber's Gourmet Burger Seasoning)
1-16 oz box elbow noodles
1/2 cup butter
1/2-1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup flour
3 1/2 cups milk
1 pound of grated (or small cubed) cheese, PLUS about 1/2 cup more for sprinkling over the top (I used and American/Cheddar blend)
3 tbsp ketchup
1 tsp yellow mustard
1/4 cup diced dill pickle
panko bread crumbs
one 9x13 metal pan (no glass if you want to use the broiler to brown the top)

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Scrub the potato and cut it into 3/4-1 inch cubes. Toss the cubes on a rimmed baking sheet with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and a sprinkling of the onion and garlic powders (about a quarter teaspoon or so of each). Roast for 30-40 minutes, tossing the potatoes around a couple of times with a spatula. Remove from oven and set aside. Turn the oven temperature down to 350 degrees.

While the potatoes are in the oven roasting, place the ground beef in a bowl. Add the Worcestershire sauce and burger seasoning. Mix well, then form into small meatballs, using about 2 tsp of meat at a time. Flatten each meatball into a small burger patty. When you're done making them, sprinkle them with a bit more burger seasoning. Heat up a large skillet, and cook the patties for about 2-3 minutes per side, or until done. Set aside.

Get a pot of water going to cook the noodles in. When you start the noodles, make the cheese sauce. (Boil the noodles until they're al dente, and set aside.) Heat a large sauce pan over medium heat, and add the butter, salt, pepper and flour. Stir until smooth. Remove from the heat and add the milk. Return the pan to the heat and bring to a boil, watching it carefully. Boil for one minute while whisking. Remove from the heat and stir in the one pound of cheese, and continue to stir until melted.

Transfer the cheese sauce to a large mixing bowl. Add 6 cups of the cooked noodles. (Honestly, I could have added the whole amount of cooked noodles, but my taste-testing daughter said there was enough. You decide here.) Next add the cooked potato cubes and about 1 1/2 cups of the patties. You could add all of them, but I eyeballed it and thought that was plenty. I also broke the patties in half for more even distribution-again, at the kid’s request. Finally, add the ketchup, mustard, and diced pickles.

Fold all of this together with a large spoon or rubber spatula, and taste. Add more ketchup or mustard if you feel you'd like to. Pour the mixture into a lightly greased 9x13 inch pan. Sprinkle with the extra grated cheese and some panko bread crumbs. Bake for 35-40 minutes, then turn the broiler on for 2-3 minutes to lightly brown the top.

  • You could do this recipe in steps, like I did. I roasted the potatoes on Sunday morning, and made the patties on Monday (but could have easily done them on Sunday, too), early in the day. I put the rest together late in the afternoon, and had it in the oven for dinner. 
  • We absolutely loved this! It’s packed with classic American comfort food. It sure is fun to say you’re having your cheeseburger and fries in mac and cheese!
  • I think this will be my last mac and cheese post for a while. I’m getting mac and cheesed out. Ha!



Cheese Fondue Mac and Cheese

Cheese Fondue Mac and Cheese

Flashback: Last November. David Lebovitz posted about Making Swiss Cheese Fondue. It looked and sounded incredibly cheesy and rich--and amazing.

Confession: I’d never had fondue. EVER. I’m not usually one for cheesy sauces. I know, right? Crazy. Not even chocolate fondue! What is wrong with me? 

That post--I couldn’t get it out of my head. I had to have some cheese fondue, and quick. I planned to get the stuff together and make one for us to enjoy after decorating the Christmas tree. That didn’t work out, so I figured we’d have one at Christmas. The stomach flu foiled that plan. It didn’t seem like I’d get around to having my cheese fondue, dammit.

David said that fondue is so popular in Switzerland, that cheese vendors sell pre-made mixes for cheese fondue. Speaking of that, guess what we found at Trader Joe’s? Yes! Trader Jacque’s Cheese Fondue, imported from France. It was fate, telling me to have that fondue for New Years Day. Looking at the ingredient list, it had all the things David mentions in his post: white wine, Kirsch, Gruyère, Emmenthal, Comtè, and garlic.  All you had to do was melt and stir it in the container, right in the microwave. I’m now officially hooked on cheese fondue! The Kirsch is optional, but I highly recommend you read not only his fondue post, but also his post on Kirsch and why you should have some on hand. I bought a bottle on his recommendation, and plan to try it in more recipes.

While we were having our fill of fabulous bread cubes dipped in this amazing melted cheesy goodness, Billy thought it would be fun to pour it over some pasta for a quickie mac and cheese. Since he was willing to do the work, I said “Yeah, ok!” I’m not one to turn down mac and cheese, you know?

Which brings me to today’s post. Cheese Fondue Mac and Cheese. I combined the traditional fondue ingredients with a few other things to make a great cheese sauce perfect for pouring over your favorite noodles. If you’re lucky enough to have a Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods nearby, you already know that they have fabulous cheese selections. I know that Emmenthal and Gruyère aren’t uncommon, but Comtè may be harder to find. At any rate, I’ll give you some info and substitutions on each, from one of my favorite sites, Cook’s Thesaurus.

Traditional Fondue Cheese

  • Emmental = Emmentaler = Emmenthaler = Emmenthal = Bavarian Swiss cheese   Pronunciation: EM-uhn-tall Notes:  This Swiss cheese is riddled with holes and has a mild, nutty flavor.  It's an excellent melting cheese, and a key ingredient in many fondues.   Substitutes:  Jarlsberg (similar) OR Beaufort OR Gruyère OR Swiss OR raclette


  • Gruyere = Gruyère Pronunciation:  grew-YARE  Notes:  Gruyères are excellent melting cheeses, and they're commonly used to make fondues, soufflés, gratins, and hot sandwiches.  Varieties include Swiss Gruyère, Beaufort, and Comté.  Substitutes:  Emmentaler OR Jarlsberg OR Appenzell OR raclette OR Swiss cheese


  • Comte = Comté = Gruyère du Comté = Comte Gruyere  Pronunciation: kohm-TAY  Notes: This excellent French cow's milk cheese dates from the time of Charlemagne.  It has a mildly sweet, nutty flavor, much like Gruyère.  It's a very good melting cheese.  Substitutes:   Gruyère OR Fontina OR Beaufort OR Emmentaler

Cheese Fondue Mac and Cheese

16 oz of your favorite mac and cheese-type noodle (I like Barilla Cellentani)
1/2 cup butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp salt (test sauce when finished-we added a couple more pinches)
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp flour
3 1/4 cups milk
1/4-1/2 cup white wine
1-2 tsp Kirsch (optional)
1 pound cheese (a blend of Emmenthal, Gruyère and Comtè), shredded
Panko bread crumbs

Heat oven to 350.  Cook the pasta till just al dente, it'll cook more in the oven. Set aside.

In a large sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic, salt, pepper and flour. Whisk until smooth, remove from heat. Add milk, wine and Kirsch, return to heat and bring to a boil. Boil for one minute while whisking. Remove from heat and add cheese, stir until completely melted.

I double dog dare you not to eat up all the bread in your house by dipping it in the sauce at this point.

Pour the sauce over the cooked noodles and stir until all the noodles are coated with cheesy love. Pour into a lightly greased baking dish. Sprinkle a good amount of Panko over the top. Bake 35-40 minutes until nicely golden brown and bubbly.

  • While we loved this mac and cheese, it’s on the “mild cheesy flavor” side, so if you’ve got kids (or adults!) that don’t like strong cheese, they’ll probably love this one.
  • When I make this again, I’m going to try adding more wine and cheese. Because you can’t have too much of a good thing, and I really want to spotlight the cheeses.
  • I’d originally planned to sprinkle a blend of the cheeses over the top along with the Panko, but I had just enough to make the sauce. I’m definitely trying that next time, too.

Please excuse the bad, nighttime lighting. Hungry family wants to eat…

Cheese Fondue Mac and Cheese


Hearty Comfort Foods for Cold Weather

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!  So excited--we’re getting another winter storm today.  This is only the second one so far this winter!  We’re way behind.  The more, the better, I say! 

It got me thinking about comfort food, though.  What’s better on a cold, snowy day, than something simmering away on the stovetop, or bubbling away in the oven?  Not only does it warm the house, but it warms the soul.  Sound corny?  Maybe.  Do me a favor--go outside in the cold for a few minutes.  Then walk back in the house.  Smell anything good cooking?  No?  The scents of comfort food welcoming you back in from the cold would be pretty awesome, right now, wouldn’t it?

It’s been a while, hasn’t it?  Sorry!  We’ve all  been sick in the Elle’s Kitchen house.  It started with a terrible stomach flu that hit us on Christmas Eve.  Thank God we didn’t all get it at once!  That would have been awful, wouldn’t it?  Though, maybe getting it all over with at once would have been better…  That weakened us all and we’ve all been hit with colds, fevers, ear infections, coughing, sneezing--you name it.  We’re slowly getting back to normal, though!  (As I sit here with a pile of tissues that’s starting to resemble Kilimanjaro.)  Ugh.

We haven’t been eating anything terribly exciting, either, which translates to nothing to blog about.  There are only so many chicken soup recipes you can look at, right?  So!  In an attempt to get something useful posted, I’ve decided on a round up of past posts that will fall into the “Comfort Food” category. 

A Baker's Dozen Hearty Cold Weather Recipes

1)  Minestrone


2)  Chili with Pork and Chickpeas

Chili with Pork and Chickpeas

3)  Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti and Meatballs

4)  Quinoa Polenta with Sautéed Lentils and Portobellos

Quinoa Polenta with Sauteed Lentils and Portobellos

5)  Soba Noodle Soup


6)  Chicken and Rice

Chicken and Rice

7)  Mac and Cheese

Mac and Cheese

8)  Lasagne


9)  Butternut Squash Soup with Roasted Cauliflower

Butternut Squash Soup w/ Roasted Cauliflower

10)  Pollo alla Cacciatora

Pollo alla Cacciatora

11)  Ragu alla Bolognese

Ragu alla Bolognese

12)  Italian Un-Meatballs

Italian Un-Meatballs (Vegetarian)

13)  Roasted Veggie Pizza

Roasted Veggie Pizza


I hope you find something you like in this list!  All of these will cure the winter weather blues, for sure.  Whether you’re snowed in or not.   All warm and hearty, and they sure make the house smell great!  So welcome someone you love in from the cold with one of these dishes, and they’ll be feeling the love!