What’s great about this Sriracha Macaroni and Cheese is that the milk is cut with chicken stock or broth, making it a little lighter, but no less rich and creamy than your full milk roux macaroni and cheese. Oh, and the sriracha, of course, not to mention that secret ingredient which you can scroll through to see right now (I would!). This sriracha macaroni and cheese is not only loaded with extra-molten cheese, but a ton of flavor, and not just from the cheese like most macaroni and cheese preparations!
That being said..
Holy, Macaroni! Three posts in a little over week! Every three days, I’ve had a post up, but, it feels like an assembly line of mediocrity (the Ego Lights haven’t been throwing me a cookie or two as of late). That said, I like to let each post I put up marinate a little before putting up a new one, so that’s part of the reason why I don’t post a few times a week, but, in this case.. I had a lot of catching up to do.
It won’t remain this way because I need a break for a few days. It probably takes me like 8 hours to get a post up because without natural light, each photo needs a lot of post processing, not to mention, I shoot hundreds of photos to increase my chances of getting a few that make it past auditions. Then I need to go over them with whoever is in the mood to help me sift through identical photos with a fine-toothed comb, and find one that looks just a little better than the others, namely, my masculine counterpart.
“OK, which one out of these 40 photos, that are almost identical, looks the sharpest? Which one really showcases the food the best?”
“Lisa, they all look the same, seriously”
“NO, the piece of chive, all the way to the left, in back, in photo 43, isn’t as sharp as the piece of chive in photo 48! Can’t you see that??”
That, in itself, is a two-hour ordeal.
Then, writing the post, and I don’t think I have to elaborate on that too much because you can see how much I write. But, when I’m adding one of my BBFL memoirs, add another day, or week, plus an hour or two, to the 8 hours – unless I hit the deep zone. The deep zone is where I sort of astral-project myself back to those teen and young adult years, and I’m reliving it – actually back in time as I type it. As you would expect, I prefer to write about it in that zone. It’s a zone I cannot be broken out of until I’m finished. Hard to hit that zone very often with work and life in the way, hence the stories being weeks apart most of the time.
It’s funny, for someone who is still using free wordpress.com with the same theme I chose in 2008, and the same ugly header I’ve also used from the start, I’m sure picky about a lot of tiny details, huh?
I will be self-hosting and redesigning my blog at some point, but for now, I’m kind of comfy in my old, worn jammies.
Of course you can make it without the Sriracha. It’s delicious either way.
Speaking of comfy, For this month’s Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned the blog Quick and Easy, Cheap and Healthy. I think every word in that title is the antithesis of my blog. BUT, I love her blog, especially a section called ‘Better Than The Box’ which basically means your favorite boxed foods like JELL-O or cookies, are made from scratch. Once I saw this Mac ‘n Cheese, it was all over for me. Comfort food at its best.
At first, I was eyeing these sweet potato peel fries, in her Food Waste Fridays post (love all the cool ideas, sections, and tips she has) using the flesh of the sweet potato to make her sweet potato rice pudding, from one of her Secret Recipe Club assignments. It’s a great way to use the whole sweet potato. But, again, once I saw her stove top Macaroni and Cheese, it was love at first sight, and you can’t ignore love at first sight, even if it’s only food and food probably won’t be sending you flowers or spooning you in bed. However, you will be spooning it – into your mouth, or forking it, or whatever.
This is the macaroni and cheese without the sriracha, and I didn’t make enough of the cheese sauce because I ran out of the white cheddar I was using, hence why it looks kind of blah.
One thing that caught my eye in this macaroni and cheese was the use of honey mustard in lieu of dijon or regular mustard, which is usually the norm. I call this the ‘secret’ ingredient because it really makes it pop. An underlying, subtle bit of sharp sweetness that doesn’t affect the macaroni and cheese flavor you’re used to, but makes you ponder and relish it;
“Hmmm..what is it that’s making this taste even better?”
Not to mention, this is one creamy macaroni and cheese (I call it better than Boston Market, K or Annie’s O macaroni and cheese), and so quick to make, I doubt any of you who try this version will look to the boxed macaroni and cheese as much as you usually do -the one we’ve all grown up eating at some point, although it stopped tasting like cheese a long time ago, at least for me.
I call the boxed versions yellow or orange macaroni snackies. No discernible flavor, but somehow, it still elicits the occasional craving.
Seriously, do any of you taste cheese in the K or Annie box of macaroni and cheese? I just taste a weird, artificial flavor that isn’t cheesy, yet, sometimes, in a pinch, I really need to eat it.. Like I will die if I don’t eat it. I don’t know why.
Of course I doctor it up with Sriracha and a handful of whatever real cheese I have on hand. I always have a box of Annie’s O or K on hand. It’s like a strange macaroni OCD. In fact, if I don’t have the purple or blue boxes in my cupboard, my cupboard seems naked. Now that I’ve discovered this recipe, I may be able to part with it – but then again, as mentioned, I don’t consider it macaroni and cheese, just a yellow or orange macaroni snack that I really need!
I highly recommend that you try this macaroni and cheese, especially if you’re a fan of the purple or blue boxed yellow or orange macaroni snack or the Boston Market version. Add to it, if you like. Bacon is always phenomenal, as well as chicken, peas, ham, diced hot peppers, etc. Be daring and try a little minced ghost pepper in it! A little less heat, you say? How about a bit of habanero? A lot less? Serrano, chipotle, jalapeno? As you can tell, I like a good kick to my macaroni and cheese.
I added Sriracha Sauce to it because I love the stuff. With it, you get cheesy, spicy heat,plus that little thing from honey mustard that makes you go ‘Hmmmm’ and then ‘Mmmmm’. Oh, I also added an extra cup of cheese to the sauce in the recipe. But you can add more if you like.
You can never go wrong with extra cheese in your macaroni, or on most anything for that matter.
Finally, I love hot and spicy food, which is kind of weird since I couldn’t handle hot and spicy anything until my late 20’s. Before that, I remember ordering nachos at Mexican restaurants, my key phrase being “No jalapenos, please”. They added them anyway, and I’d have to pick them out one by one because I didn’t want to send it back and risk getting something gross in my guacamole (I’ve seen and read enough reports about this disgusting practice to make me extra paranoid). I think they enjoyed effin’ with me – or they were just hard of hearing twenty-somethings.
Now I ask for extra jalapenos and barely get any.
When you have a few moments, check out Quick and Easy, Cheap and Healthy. So many inexpensive, healthy alternatives to the fatty stuff we all love, plus ways to not waste food by making delicious treats with what you’d usually throw out, and much, much more!.
Sriracha Macaroni and Cheese
- ½ lb small sturdy pasta (such as Macaroni, Rotini or the like) I used Rotelli, which is larger
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- ¾ cup milk
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ⅔ cup chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon honey mustard*
- ¼ cup sriracha sauce (more or less, depending on how spicy you like it)
- a large pinch of kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 3½ cups really good mild, medium, or sharp shredded cheddar cheese**
- Prepare pasta according to package directions - a little on the al dente side. While it’s boiling, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium low heat. Sprinkle the flour over the butter, and stir and cook until it’s well blended (this is your roux).
- Cook the butter and flour, still stirring, about a minute or so to make sure the flour is thoroughly cooked and there’s no raw flour taste.
- Combine the milk, cream and chicken broth in a liquid measuring cup, and slowly pour into the flour mixture, stirring all the while to combine it thoroughly. Continue stirring mixture until it is smooth and well blended. When bubbles start to appear, this is when the sauce will start to thicken. It will take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes for the sauce to thicken to the right consistency (think Elmer's Glue, but a little looser. If you drag a finger across the back of a spoon dipped in the sauce, and the line stays crisp and clear - it should be ready).
- Stir in the black pepper, kosher salt, Sriracha, and honey mustard. Remove from heat and stir in the shredded cheese. Keep stirring until the cheese is thoroughly melted and you have a creamy sauce. Taste and season the sauce more if it needs it.
- Drain the pasta and put back into the pot you cooked it in. Pour the sauce over the pasta and stir together until the pasta is thoroughly coated. Cover with the lid of the saucepan and allow it to sit for a few minutes to absorb the sauce. Serve in bowls topped with some chopped parsley or chives, a little more black pepper and pass the Sriracha for those who want more.
** Try a combination of your favorite cheeses, if you like. Also, I made this with 4 cups of cheese to make it it even cheesier, and helloooo, I'm hooked forever.
Click on the little blue frog below to see what the other SRC Group A bloggers made from their blog assignments.