Donnie’s Amazing Mac ‘N Cheese

Thanksgiving sides always seem to find a place on our tables when they represent something special to a family. Whether it is a dish that represents our past and the ancestors original country of origin, or a side dish that was made by someone we love who is no longer with us.  These sides fill our stomachs but most importantly they warm our hearts.  This Mac ‘n Cheese recipe was Don Hamrick’s mothers favorite signature dish.  Each time he makes it, the aromas, the visual of the dish, and the making of it brings her back, close to the family, and she lives on in their memories through this dish. 

Enjoy!

Serves:

8

Total Time:

60 minutes

To Make

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. Penne Pasta
  • 2 ¼ c. milk (you can use 2% if you prefer)

  • 8 Tbsp. flour

  • 6 Tbsp. butter

  • 4 oz. mascarpone

  • 4 oz. parmesan

  • 8 oz. shredded sharp white cheddar

  • 8 oz. shredded sharp cheddar (for top)

  • 2 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp. black pepper

  • 1 tsp. nutmeg

      Directions:

      Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. 

      Prepare pasta to directions on the box.

       In separate 2 qt. pan melt butter on medium heat. Stir in flour and whisk constantly to blend with melted butter. When flour is completely included, slowly stir in the milk while whisking all the time. Make sure there are no clumps & everything is becoming silky smooth.

       After milk is totally incorporated add the mascarpone, parmesan & white cheddar while stirring to maintain consistency. Reduce heat to low. Add black pepper & nutmeg. Stir for 2 more minutes then turn off heat.

       Add drained pasta & stir to coat completely.

       Empty pasta into 9 X 12 dish.

       Use ½ of sharp cheddar to cover top & bake at 350° for 25 minutes.

       When hot & bubbly pull out & cover the top with the remaining cheddar cheese then top broil for 2-3 minutes until it looks just right to you. Watch it closely as broil happens quickly!

       Cool & enjoy!

       

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      Copycat Fresh Pumpkin Scones

      Who doesn’t love the autumn in Las Vegas!  The HOT 115 degrees is gone, there is cool fresh air in the morning, and warm sun by afternoon.  If the weather was like this the other 10 months of the year we would have 20 million people living here by now.  Also, this time of year brings our favorite coffee house pumpkin scones.  This recipe is as close as I can get to duplicating them.  Enjoy!

      Serves: 6

      Total Time:

      60 minutes

      Ingredients:

      • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
      • 2 tsp baking powder
      • 1/4 tsp baking soda
      • 1/2 tsp salt
      • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
      • 1/2 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
      • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
      • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
      • 1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
      • 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
      • 1/2 cup unsalted butter , cold and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
      • 1/2 cup fresh roasted pumpkin puree refrigerated
      • 3 1/2 Tbsp buttermilk
      • 1 large egg room temperature
      • 1 tsp vanilla extract
      • 1 Tbsp honey

      • 1 Tbsp half and half

      For the Glaze:

      • 1 cup powder sugar
      • 2 Tbsp. milk or half and half

       

      For the Pumpkin Icing

      • 1 cup powder sugar
      • 2 Tbsp. milk or half and half
      • 1 ½ Tbsp. fresh pumpkin puree
      • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
      • 1/8 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
      • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
      • 1 Tbsp half and half

      Directions:

      Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

      Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; set aside.

       In a large bowl, combine flour, powder, soda, salt cinnamon, fresh nutmeg, ginger cloves and both sugars. Add cold butter, using your fingers to work the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles coarse crumbs.

      In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, buttermilk, egg and vanilla, honey and half and half.

      Pour mixture over dry ingredients and stir using a rubber spatula until a soft dough forms.

      Working on a lightly floured surface, knead the dough 3-4 times until it comes together. Using a rolling pill, roll the dough into a 10- by 7-inch rectangle, about 1-inch thick. Using a large knife or a pizza cutter, cut the rectangle in half lengthwise, then cut into 2 even pieces crosswise, making four rectangles. Then cut each rectangle into two triangles, making 8 triangles.

      Place scones onto prepared baking sheet. Place into oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

      To make the glaze, combine confectioners’ sugar and milk. Whisk until smooth. If the glaze is too thick, add more milk as needed; set aside. To make the spiced glaze, combine confectioners’ sugar, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg and milk and pumpkin puree. Whisk until smooth; set aside.

      When the scones are done, cool for 10 minutes and spoon the glaze on each scone before drizzling with spiced glaze.

      Allow glazes to set before serving.

       

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      Halloween Mac N’ Cheese

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      Homemade Pumpkin Puree

      When your first introduction to any food is from a can you immediately assume that it is just way too complicated to make it fresh by yourself.  I love cooking with pumpkin because I love Thanksgiving, it is without question, my favorite holiday.  However, I have never really liked the taste of canned pumpkin, but I used it anyways because I didn’t know there was an alternative. When I learned for the first time how truly easy roasting and pureeing my own fresh pie pumpkins was, it was an absolute GAME CHANGER! And, it is so easy, I am not sure why anyone would ever want canned pumpkin once you taste the difference.  Enjoy!

      Makes:

      1 qt pumpkin puree, approximately enough for 2 pies

      Total Time:

      45 minutes

      Ingredients:

      • 2   2-3 lbs  “pie” pumpkins or “sugar” pumpkins

      • 3 Tbps. of avocado oil

       

      Directions:

      Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

      Wash the pumpkins well under cold water and dry.

      Slice off the tops of the pumpkins making a solid flat surface of the pumpkin. Turn the pumpkin over onto the flat side which holds it steady and slice down the middle making two halves.

      Seed the pumpkin with a large table spoon or a grapefruit spoon.  Spray the inside of the pumpkin with avocado oil, especially the edges or use a pastry brush to apply the avocado oil.

      Place the pumpkins onto a parchment lined sheet pan skin side up, (inside of the pumpkin down) and roast for about 40 minutes until a paring knife easily pierces the skin of the pumpkin and you can see some caramelization around the edges.

      Cool the pumpkins about 15 minutes.  Place a paring knife just under the skin and peel back the skin of the pumpkin and discard. (it should slide right off easily.)

      Place the pumpkin meet into a food processor in small chunks and puree till smooth.

      Spoon the puree into a 1 quart mason jar of your choice.  Pumpkin will keep fresh for about 2 weeks in the refrigerator and about 6 months in the freezer.  Enjoy! 

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      Roasted Vegetables

      I love roasted vegetables.  This exact recipe I use to toss into pasta and sauce with cheese, I use them to make an omelet, I use the same roasted veggies to make a Sunday frittata, and I also just place them on the side of whatever protein we are eating that night.  It is so easy, it’s nutritious and with some knife skills; slicing, dicing and mincing is a breeze. Enjoy!

      Serves:

      4

      Total Time:

      45 minutes

      To Make

      Ingredients:

      • 1 zucchini diced 2 inches thick
      • 1 yellow squash diced 2 inches thick
      • 1 red bell pepper diced 2 inches thick
      • 1 yellow bell pepper diced 2 inches thick
      • 1 red onion diced 2 inches thick
      • ½ carton sliced cremini mushrooms
      • 2 tsps. Minced garlic (2-3 cloves)

          Directions:

          Pre heat oven to 425 degrees. 

          Dice, slice and mince all of the vegetables.  Place them all on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper except the garlic.

          Spray with olive oil or sprinkle with about 1/8 cup of olive oil, toss with 1 tsp. salt and ½ tsp. pepper.

          Cook for 20 minutes, turning the pan ½ turn half way through cook time at 10 minutes.  Toss the minced garlic into the mixture and continue cooking for the remaining 10 minutes.

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          Riced Cauliflower Vegetable Bowl

          This recipe is beautiful, and it looks complex!  Truth is that it is quite simple and leaves opportunities to use your own creativity.   In my cooking confidence course this is one of the first recipes we visit for beginning cooks.  There are so many alternatives, and it is so easy for students to feel comfortable being creative and using their own intuition.  I have listed some alternatives to play with and be creative with to help you build your confidence, too!

          Serves:

          4

          Total Time:

          20 minutes

          To Make

          Ingredients:

          • 2 Tbs. Olive Oil
          • 1 bag organic riced cauliflower
          • 1/2 cup pesto
          • 2 cups chopped kale
          • 1 cup sundried tomatoes sliced
          • 1 cup feta cheese crumbled.
          • Salt and pepper to taste
          • Add any cooked protein of choice or sushi
          • Drizzle hickory smoked olive oil
              Alternatives:
            • Capers
            • Pine nuts
            • Pistachio nuts
            • Olives
            • Spinach
            • Chard
            • Butternut squash (cooked)

              Directions:

              Add the olive oil to a sauté pan.  Once heated add the bag of riced cauliflower and cook till softened.  Add the pesto stir till combined.  Add the next 4 ingredients, (kale or greens of your choice, sundried tomatoes, salt and pepper).  Stir till heat level increases to added ingredient to match the cauliflower. Finish with Feta cheese and drizzle of hickory smoked olive oil.  Use as a side or place a cooked protein of your choice on top. Enjoy!

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