Sunday, March 25, 2012

{Sponsored Video} Q's Kind Nums: The Mac of Cheese

"Return of the mack, you know that I'll be back" ~ Mark Morrison

As I've established here before, Q is not a big fan of the savory end of the food spectrum. But when he does feel like something a bit less sweet, he of course goes for the classic kids' favorite -- macaroni and cheese. Hey, I don't blame him. M&C is still one of my favorite comfort foods. I even spent some time scouting out the best mac and cheese at restaurants around San Francisco (funny enough, one of the best is at a restaurant called Q and I discovered it pre-Q). If I saw M&C on a menu, I felt compelled to try it. After the influx of upscale comfort food restaurants, it seemed that cheesy, warm goodness was all over the place.

But it's a different time in my life. Not so much restaurant hopping. More cooking at home. Now I must admit that I often go for the boxed variety due to lack of time and pure laziness (I try for the organic white stuff, not the bright orange -- promise!) But when I have a bit more time and I want to impress T too, I make some M&C from scratch that's pretty amazing. It's not my recipe -- props to my dear friend Robyn -- but it's my favorite! And the key to some seriously yummy homemade M&C is excellent cheese. My first pick is always Tillamook Sharp Cheddar. Sometimes I go with more of the Medium if I'm trying to please Q's palate and a bit of the Extra Sharp if I want to please myself.
Here is Robyn's homemade mac and cheese:

2 large eggs
1 12-oz can evaporated milk
1/4 tsp hot pepper sauce (sometimes I use some locally made peppery salsa and more of it)
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp mustard
1/2 pound elbow macaroni
4 tbs unsalted butter
12 oz (about 3 cups) Tillamook Sharp Cheddar

Bread crumb topping (optional)
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
pinch salt
1 1/2 tbs melted unsalted butter

If you're going for bread crumbs, start them first. Heat oven to 350 degrees; mix bread crumb ingredients together in small baking pan; bake until golden brown, 15-20 minutes. Set aside.

Mix eggs, 1 cup evaporated milk, pepper sauce, 1/2 tsp of the salt, pepper, and mustard in a small bowl. Set aside.

Bring 2 quarts of water to boil in a large pot. Add remaining salt and macaroni. Cook until almost tender but still slightly firm to the bite. Drain and return to pan over low heat. Add butter and toss to melt.

Pour egg mixture over buttered noodles along with 3/4 of the cheese; stir over low heat until thoroughly combined and cheese starts to melt. Gradually add remaining milk and cheese, stirring constantly, until mixture is hot and creamy, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately, topped with toasted bread crumbs if desired.

Now if that didn't get you hungry, watch this video from Tillamook to give you even more of a cheese tease. I want to be friends with these guys. They seem hilarious. Plus they'd always have my favorite cheese on hand. And Q would be all about that bus.

Let me know if you try the recipe and what you think. With all the dreary weather (and stress!) around these parts, it's the perfect time for some comfort food.

This post is sponsored by Tillamook.


  1. This sounds so delicious! I can't wait to try it. Next time you guys are in Oregon, we must hit up the Tillamook Cheese Factory!!!

    1. I've always wanted to go there, Red. Let's do it!

  2. Ahahaha! The guy on the right, when he says "Chupacabra"...hilarity!

    1. Right? So want to eat cheese with those guys.

  3. Mich, I haven't made that in way too long and now you've got me a'cravin! So glad to hear that Q is a fan. :)

    1. Thanks again, Robyn! It's fun to revisit old recipes.

  4. Ugh, just realized that something went awry when I first posted this from my phone. It should be less garbled and spacy now.

  5. Have you ever eaten here:

    1. That place has been on my list for a while now, Erin! I'll let you know if I try it. Looks so yummy.