Tuesday, July 23, 2013

American dinner chez les Francais

I'm studying abroad in France, and living with a host family has been so rewarding. It really allows me to get better at French by focusing on the language tout le temps (all the time) and being kindly corrected without being graded on my mistakes. This is big! I've made so much progress learning like a child, without that pesky paralyzing fear of failure!

Hey, this looks kind of like an egg!
Well, so this was my first time making homemade macaroni and cheese. We (another girl in the program who's also staying with the same family--my co-locataire--and I) wanted to make an American dinner for my family. So, mac and cheese.

It helps that I have a 9 year old brother and 2 year old sister here.

I am so proud of this that I think it's better than my dad's homemade mac and cheese (sorry, Dad...). In a "lookie mommy what I made" kind of proud. I will still always love my dad's, though.

And guess what! I made something that doesn't have any sugar in it!
But...there is butter and flour and an egg. And it goes in the oven. So basically, it's the baker's gateway dish to savory cooking!

Oh, yeah, we made salad too.
This recipe comes from Ree, who I absolutely love. She definitely makes American food: good, simple, cowboy food. I trust her to have a kick-a** recipe for mac and cheese for a first-timer.

Indeed. It's creamy, luxuriously cheesy, and to top it all off, I added chips. Specifically, cheese-flavored chips, because I'm crazy.

Also, my co-locataire made some amazing brownies from the Ghiradelli recipe. She ended up using coarse sea salt in the brownies, and it was fantastic. Crunchy, salty pockets throughout.

It was a heavy meal for when the high temp is in the 90's, but worth it.

Baked Macaroni & Cheese
note: baked lays are healthier than regular. baked mac and cheese has extra chips on top, so it is less healthy. this is confusing, but it should not discourage you from making this heavenly dish. especially if you choose cheesy chips.

  • 4 cups dried pasta shapes
  • 1 whole egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick or 4 tablespoons) butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard, or one teaspoon dijon if that's what you've got
  • 1 pound cheese, grated--I used emmental (basically swiss) and parmesan, since cheddar's hard to find here
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
  • potato chips, ritz crackers, toasted bread crumbs, etc., crushed, to top


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cook pasta until very firm--it should be too firm to eat right out of the pot. Drain.
  3. In a small bowl, beat egg.
  4. In a large pot, melt butter and sprinkle in flour. Whisk together over medium-low heat. Cook mixture for five minutes, whisking constantly. Don’t let it burn.
  5. Pour in milk, add mustard, and whisk until smooth. Cook for five minutes until very thick. Reduce heat to low.
  6. Take 1/4 cup of the sauce and slowly pour it into beaten egg, whisking constantly to avoid cooking eggs. Whisk together till smooth.
  7. Pour egg mixture into sauce, whisking constantly. Stir until smooth.
  8. Add in cheese and stir to melt.
  9. Add salt and pepper. Taste sauce and add more as needed!
  10. Pour in drained, cooked macaroni and stir to combine.
  11. Serve immediately (very creamy) or pour into a buttered baking dish, top with chips/crackers/crumbs, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden on top. (You can keep the dish before baking in the fridge, then bake before serving, too!)
Recipe courtesy of Pioneer Woman

1 comment: