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Happy Birthday, Nuts!

Gordon, us, zoo
Two weeks ago it was my honey's birthday! We never really get too crazy, but I like to do a few things for him and that usually includes a special request dinner and dessert. When I asked him what he wanted, there was no hesitation: mac & cheese. Dessert? Dirt Dessert! Wait, no- Beach Dessert! So in honor of Gordon's Larry Bird Day, I thought I'd take the opportunity to share a couple of recipes.

Mac & Cheese

I thought I'd copied this version from my mom's 1979 Betty Crocker edition, but when I looked in her copy on a recent visit, it wasn't the same. I'm pretty sure this is some form of Betty Crocker that I've adapted. Anyhoo, it's your basic, all-American fatty casserole and I love it. My mac & cheese is always requested at family parties and it's Gordon's go-to request. I'll give the original measurements, but I ALWAYS double this!

2 cups (7oz) uncooked macaroni, whole wheat if preferred (Gordon's favorite is celantani)
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup AP flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp ground mustard
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
dash of hot sauce
2 cups milk
2 cups (8oz) shredded cheese (I use a combo of sharp cheddar and colby jack)

Mix-ins
This varies by what I'm in the mood for, but it's usually bacon and something else.
If desired, one or more of the following:
8oz mushrooms, chopped and sauteed in a miniscule amount of butter
1/2 package thick bacon, chopped and cooked til just crisp
8-10oz chopped spinach, doesn't have to be cooked

Toppings
Also varies, but lately I've been sticking to whole wheat bread crumbs. And I always eyeball how much.
-Bread crumbs with some parmesean cheese
-French fried onions
-Crushed potato chips

1. Heat oven to 350.

2. Cook macaroni. While macaroni is cooking, melt butter in 3 quart saucepan over low heat. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. Cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly; remove from heat.

3. Stir in milk, Heat til boiling, stirring constantly. This will take the longest of any step, but it's worth it to get a nice, thick roux! Boil and stir 1 minute. Stir in cheese. Cook, stirring until cheese is melted. If adding mix-ins, stir them into the cheese sauce.

4. Drain macaroni. Gently stir macaroni into cheese sauce. Pour into ungreased 2 quart casserole dish (one size smaller than a 9x13).

5. Bake uncovered 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly. Let cool for 5 minutes before enjoying!

All the elements
All the elements on the stove...

The finished product! YUM.
Mac & Chee

Forgive my yellow-ish pics!

Beach Dessert

This is a variation on Dirt Dessert. "Traditional" Dirt Dessert is made with regular Oreos and chocolate pudding. I came across coconut cream pudding one day at the store and we thought it would make an excellent variation with the new Golden Oreos that had just come out!

2 cups cold milk
1 pkg. Jello Coconut Cream Instant Pudding
1 tub Cool Whip, thawed
Golden Oreos, crushed

Place cookies in a large plastic storage bag and crush them up. Pour milk into a large bowl. Add dry pudding mix. Beat with a whisk for 2 minutes of until well-blended. Let the mixture stand for 2 minutes. Gently stir in Cool Whip and half the cookie crumbs.

Spoon a little of the mixture into a glass. Top with a layer of cookie crumbs. Add another layer of pudding mixture and another layer of cookie crumbs until you've layered as high as you'd like in the glass.

Refrigerate until ready to serve. If serving traditional Dirt Dessert, you can garnish with gummy worms! I haven't found a good Beach Dessert garnish yet!!

beach dessert
Beach Dessert!!

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The birthday boy enjoys his with a tall sundae spoon. As one should.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Alison Beach
Jun. 18th, 2012 01:15 am (UTC)
Yum
I am TOTALLY making that mac and cheese....
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )