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December 26, 2010 / Baker by Night

Autumn Mac and Cheese

In case you are keeping track, I also have an irrational fear of mac and cheese. Yes it’s true, mac and cheese elicits the same feelings in me as spiders, the Wizard of Oz, and team mascots. You see, when I was in culinary school, we had an assignment to make mac and cheese. I felt so bad for my partner, everyone else’s sauce came out creamy and cheesy and smooth. Ours, however, came out gritty and clumpy and looked like we had stuck a bowl of noodles covered in cheese in the microwave. From that point on, I vowed to stay away from any mac and cheese recipe. I hate to admit it, but I actually love the kind that comes in the blue box. Especially when you mix a can of tuna into it. But seeing that my anti-box guild membership has yet to run out, I decided I needed to face my fears and learn how to make mac and cheese.

The other night, after a much needed step class at the gym, I decided I was going to have more than just cookies and rolls for dinner (don’t judge, it’s what’s in the house right now). I had saved this recipe awhile ago and I decided that I was going to give it a try. I figured that with all of the interesting ingredients, this could either be really good, or really horrible.  I mean apples? And brussel sprouts? And cheese? That doesn’t really sound too appetizing, does it? I was already preparing my back up meal of cookies and roll as this came out of the oven. I took a skeptical bite and shouted “DELICIOUS!”, which evoked awkward and confused looks from the dogs.

There is no one flavor that takes center stage in this dish, the flavors blend perfectly together. The apples give this dish a bit of sweetness while the brussel sprouts add a good bite. The cheddar cheese is a perfect accompaniment to the vegetables, and it adds a sharpness that really helps pull the flavors together. This was so good, I had to stop myself from going back for thirds. I feel a little more confident and a little less scared about mac and cheese now. I may just think twice before reaching for that blue box. I would definitely make this again, maybe with some different vegetables. Or tuna. I’m just saying…

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