Macaroni and cheese is a baked casserole that is typically prepared with lots of cheese and macaroni. In British English, this popular dish is known as “mac cheese” or “macaroni cheese”, whereas in Caribbean English it is labeled as “Macaroni pie”. Macaroni and cheese is an easy to prepared dish, but packaged version is also quite popular as convenience food. In packaged mix, there is uncooked macaroni with liquid sauce prepared with cheese or dry ingredients, which are boxed in a container or packet for the comfort of the consumer.
There are various brands under which macaroni and cheese is available readily in the supermarkets. Though it’s a popular dish in European as well as American cuisine, but the creamy taste and ease of cooking makes it a well-accepted dish in other cuisines as well.
Mac cheese with bacon and onion, macaroni cheese with corns and ham mac cheese are some of the most popular macaroni and cheese recipes.
History of Macaroni and Cheese Recipes
Macaroni and cheese has been popular since medieval times in Italian culture. The identification of this popular dish is still unclear that weather it should be regarded a noodle dish or not. A similar dish called “makerouns” was first noticed in 14th century in an English cookbook; however this dish is a noodle dish containing handmade noodles stuffed in between layers of butter and cheese.
Thomas Jefferson was the person who led the introduction of Macaroni and cheese in the cuisine of America in 1802. This dish was first served at the White House dinner. Victoria era has also seen the immense liking of this dish among the consumers in United Kingdom.
Ingredients Prescribed by Macaroni and Cheese
Macaroni and cheese is indeed a dish containing macaroni and a variety of melted cheese. There are many variations of this dish and various macaroni and cheese recipes are popular among the world cuisines. Though, packaged version enjoys high popularity, but homemade version has a special preference. Milk, water, butter or margarine is added to give a right consistency to the thick cheese sauce.
Other ingredients such as onion, garlic powder, jalapeno pepper and Tabasco sauce are often incorporated to give flavor to the dish. Different versions of macaroni and cheese are prepared by adding meats and vegetables. Meats may include bacon, chicken, ham and even tuna. Sliced hotdogs are added for extra zest. Among the vegetables, broccoli, peas, spinach, potatoes and mushrooms are the common items. Salt and pepper can be adjusted according to the taste and preference.
In the packaged versions, macaroni is usually uncooked that comes with either a liquid cheese sauce or with the dry powder of ingredients that can be prepared by adding water or milk. “Kraft macaroni and cheese” is the quite popular branded variety since 1937.
Method of Preparation of Macaroni and Cheese
Macaroni and cheese is a baked dish. Like other pasta dishes, this dish also calls for boiling of macaroni. Macaroni should be “al Dante”. Cheese sauce is prepared by stir-frying the contents in butter or margarine. Cheese should be added in the end in order to avoid over cooking. Vegetables and meats should be boiled or browned before adding to the macaroni and cheese.
Once the combination of vegetables, meats and sauce is prepared, the macaroni is added to the pan and stirred to coat perfectly within the sauce. After this process, the baking dish is needed to be set with the macaroni and cheese mixture. The mixture is poured in the dish and set for baking in a preheated oven for at least 30 minutes. The dish should be baked both uncovered and covered for different time intervals.
Macaroni and cheese recipes should stand for 5 minutes for cooling before serving. Microwave, conventional oven or simple stove top can be used for the preparation of macaroni and cheese.
Serving and Eating of Macaroni and Cheese Recipes
Macaroni and cheese is usually served as a main dish in world cuisine. It can also be served as a side dish with other sumptuous main dishes. Normally, soup, garlic bread and salads are regarded the best accompaniments of macaroni and cheese recipes. For kids, it is a complete food. Being a convenience or comfort food, this dish can be eaten anytime of the day.
Health and Nutrition Facts Related to Macaroni and Cheese Recipes
Macaroni and Cheese is essentially a calorific dish due to the presence of cheese. Other ingredients such as butter and milk are also considered fattening if consumed in excess. Durum wheat macaroni incorporated in macaroni cheese recipes is a healthy option as compared to flour made macaroni. Red meat such as ham and bacon also increases the cholesterol and calorie contents of the macaroni and cheese dish. However, lean meats, fresh healthy vegetables and low-fat cheese can be substituted to the recipe to make nutritive macaroni cheese.