Friday, April 17

Macaroni and Cheese with Tomatoes

Total price: NY $13.04/16.83
Price per serving: NY $1.30/1.69

Macaroni and Cheese with Tomatoes
Macaroni and cheese is arguably both the ultimate comfort food* and the ultimate budget food besides. You wouldn’t know it lately, however, as in recent years expensive “gourmet” versions have become trendy, chock full of eighteen kinds of expensive imported cheeses, loaded with pancetta, crimini mushrooms, and frizzled leeks, and even mounded with truffles.

This recipe gets back to what I consider to be the basics. When I was a kid, my mother always put a few tomato slices on top of her macaroni and cheese, which otherwise came straight out of the red-checkered Better Homes & Gardens cookbook. We always elbowed and jockeyed for the tomatoes, inspiring one memorable meal-time squabble that you already know the gist of if you've ever seen the “That caviar is a GARNISH!” scene in “You’ve Got Mail!” Are these tomatoes are good as caviar? You be the judge!

Macaroni and Cheese with Tomatoes
This version dramatically ups the quantity of tomatoes in my mother’s dish for two reasons: (1) increasing the fiber, vitamin, antioxidant, etc etc blah blah content of the dish and (2) decreasing fighting at the dinner table.

This recipe also deviates from tradition in one notable aspect by subbing out some of the cheese for chicken stock. The result is easier on both your wallet and your arteries, but is still creamy, cheesy and deeeeeeeelicious.

Macaroni
Ingredients
  • 8 tomatoes (NY $4.77)
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni (NY $1.49)
  • 8 oz. extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated (NY $4.79)
  • 2 cups chicken stock (NY $1.39)
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, freshy grated (staple or NY $2.80 for 5 oz)
  • 2 cups milk, whatever kind you keep on hand (NY $0.60)
  • 2 tbsps Parsley (staple or NY $0.99 for a bunch)
  • Dash of Nutmeg (staple)
  • Dash of Cayenne pepper (staple)
  • 5 tbsps flour (staple)
  • 1 ½ tsps. dried thyme (staple)**
  • Salt (staple)
  • Pepper (staple)
  • 2 tbsps olive oil (staple)
  • 2 tbsps butter (staple)
  • Optional: breadcrumbs (staple)
Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice tomatoes about ¼ inch thick. Spread tomatoes in a single layer on baking sheets. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with 1 tsp. dried thyme, salt to taste and chopped fresh parsley. Grind black pepper over. Bake until tomatoes have softened, approx. 20 minutes. Remove, but do not turn off oven.

In a pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until just on the crunchy side of al dente, approx. 5 minutes (or per package directions). Drain in a colander, and run under cold water to stop cooking. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour into ½ cup chicken stock.

Macaroni and Cheese with Tomatoes
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in nutmeg, cayenne, 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, and additional salt to taste. Pour in milk and remaining chicken stock.

Whisk in flour mixture, and bring to a boil, whisking frequently. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and bring to a simmer. Continue cooking approx. 8 minutes, whisking frequently.

Add cheese and cook, stirring with spoon, until cheese has melted.

Turn off burner, pour macaroni into pot, and stir to combine.

Macaroni
Line bottom of a 9 x 13 glass dish with a single layer of cooked, sliced tomatoes. Scoop up any loose juices on the sheets and pour those in the dish too. Pour macaroni mixture over. Top with another layer of tomatoes. If using, sprinkle breadcrumbs across top to your taste.

Bake until bubbly*** and golden brown, approx. 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

Macaroni and Cheese with Tomatoes

Adapted from Martha Stewart Living

* And can’t we all use some comfort these days? The LBUH recently had what we thought was a good lead on a job. He met a cool woman at a networking event who was hiring, and seemed very impressed by him. She told him to call her on a certain day to set up a time for him to come in and meet some other people and discuss what kinds of things he could do for her company. He called her as requested and asked if she still had time to meet that week. The response? “Sure, I’ve got pretty much unlimited time to meet this week, because *I* just got laid off.” Just in case you’ve been living under a rock: its hard out there these days. And apparently even the uber-wealthy are asking for mac and cheese these days.

** This is also delicious with fresh thyme if you have some on hand.

***Don’t you just love that instruction? I’m tempted to use it in all my posts. Hmmm, maybe I will in the future . . . (Okay, FINE I’ll leave it out of any future fro yo recipes. Happy now? Party pooper.)


Macaroni and Cheese with Tomatoes
Nutrition Facts
Approximate values per serving
Calories 257.4Protein 10.8 gMagnesium 7.5 %
Total Fat 14.1 gVitamin A 19.9 %Manganese 13.3 %
Saturated Fat 7.1 gVitamin B-12 3.5 %Niacin 11.7 %
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.9 gVitamin B-6 7.3 %Pantothenic Acid 4.1 %
Monounsaturated Fat 5.2 gVitamin C 18.2 %Phosphorus 19.2 %
Cholesterol 32.2 mgVitamin D 1.1 %Riboflavin 13.7 %
Sodium 254.3 mgVitamin E 4.3 %Selenium 24.0 %
Potassium 314.4 mgCalcium 18.9 %Thiamin 13.1 %
Total Carbohydrate 22.5 gCopper 8.1 %Zinc 8.0 %
Dietary Fiber 1.8 g Folate 16.4 %
Sugars 1.1 gIron 8.6 %

50 comments:

  1. Your mac & cheese looks delicious! My husband has been bugging me to make some, so I think I will give your recipe a try!

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  2. Great job; keep 'em coming!
    Regards,
    Anthony
    http://fromadietitiansperspective.blogspot.com

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  3. I can't wait to make this!

    Thanks!

    www.hurstbeanblog.com

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  4. This sounds delicious! It also looks like the type of dish that would get rave reviews at a family pot luck.

    Thanks for sharing it with us.

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  5. Looks good and awesome job with the nutrition facts and cost analysis!

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  6. delicious and simple! definitely gonna try it this weekend. Thanks. :)

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  7. I love the cost analysis you got going on here! plus you cannot go wrong with classic comfort food such as Mac and Cheese

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  8. This is the complete gourmet Mac! Thanks for the post. Best from Santa Barbara. s

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  9. I love mac & cheese, it is the Ultimate comfort food! :D

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  10. I have definately got to try this! Thanks for the recipie!

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  11. This recipe sounds delicious. I can't wait to try it when my home grown tomatoes are ripe.

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  12. Cant wait to try this with the first batch of garden tomatoes.

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  13. so funny.. just had this 2 nights ago.. my recipe was from Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa) -- with tomatoes and breadcrumbs on top.. so yummy. She used cheddar and fontina cheese, but i used cheddar and swiss but it still came out good.

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  14. Now my stomach is growling - so yummy! We also like to create a hidden layer in the middle of the mac and cheese - like sauted mushrooms and spinach or any leftover proteins.

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  15. I love grilled cheese with tomatoes, so I'm bound to dig this, too! I really love that you include the nutrition stats. I notice this is really high in sodium. From the chicken stock, maybe?

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  16. Back to basics and walla you got such a wonderful dish without the pomp but yet great in taste. Nice sharing.

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  17. This recipe looks amazing and I have to tell you I LOVE your food blog! Having the prices is really helpful and I just love making something for a bargain!

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  18. One of my favorite foods. Lovely recipe.

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  19. So, I can show up on your doorstep, with my own plate, and fork? Seriously, though, that looks so fantastic. I've jazzed up mac & cheese with some crumbled bacon bits, but it never occurred to me to add tomatoes, which of course, go very well with both pasta and cheese.

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  20. That looks great! bon appetite

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  21. Aw man!!! It soooooooooooooooo rots being a Foodie on a low carb diet!

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  22. I am on the high carb diet so this really works for me! Seriously, I cannot believe how good quality cheese has shot up in price with in the last year.

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  23. Oooh! A baby blog! What a great idea for one too!

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  24. Wow!!! That is what a macaroni and cheese should look like. Mine looked nothing like yours. Mine was missing that kind of consistency and texture.

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  25. So thankful you posted this! I looked at this in the am & made my mind up to have this for dinner this evening. A big hit here at our house. Thanks! Good job.

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  26. Wowwwww....That is my kids favour!! they love to eat macaroni cheese.

    your pictue loke yummy, I must try. Thanks for sharing your recipe

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  27. Thank you for sharing. Cheers ! Sunshine always.

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  28. Thanks so much for all the lovely comments! We're giddy!

    Gina: I've added many different things to mac n cheese, but never tried it as a "hidden layer": I might have to try that!

    Kelly: feel free to use low sodium broth and refrain from adding salt. Cheeses tend to have a high sodium content.

    Dee: so glad to hear your family liked it! Thanks for reporting back!

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  29. Great job, made me hungry. Feed me more!

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  30. Let's be honest: the tomatoes make it totally healthy! 8-D

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  31. ohhhh yum. that sounds delicious. i love homemade mac n cheese. and tomatoes are such a great addition!

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  32. Oh yeah... I'd fight over that!

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  33. ahhh this looks so comforting.. I'm saving this to make it someday when I don't feel so fat.. ;)

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  34. super delicious. I always love this kind of rich foods, just can't eat much of it due to expanding waste. lol :) xxx Rico-Recipes

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  35. This looks amazing!

    Also, love "cook until bubbly"! :)

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  36. Delicious delicious delicious ... in a way, isn't it a kind of lasagne? And wouldn't you enjoy a nice Chianti with that?

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  37. mmmm. That looks really good !

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  38. I made this on Friday night - I added peas, and I used 2% milk and a little less butter - and it came out delicious!

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  39. mac 'n' cheese. Comfort food at its best. With the added tomatoes...how much healthier can it get? Yum!!

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  40. This is healthy, simple & yummy! What else can you ask for?

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  41. This recipe reminds me of my childhood as mum always put tomato slices on macaroni cheese! The browned tomatoes were always a treat :)

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  42. My mom baked tomatoes on top of her mac n cheese too! Except she used Velveeta... I hate to admit it, but I sometimes crave that "cheese." I'll stick to this recipe for healthy brownie points :)

    Great site!!

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  43. Just discovered your blog---love it! I posted a similar recipe not too long ago, but it was an adaptation from the Barefoot Contessa...I'm going to try this one asap! Thx

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  44. Mmmm, never have I seen such a gorgeous looking mac n cheese! I love the idea of cutting down the fat a bit and adding vegetables.

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  45. Looks amazingly tasty! & cheap is always a plus!!!

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  46. whoa!!! this looks so good!!...I'm 16 about to be 17 and I haven't made a real dish yet...I want to make this!! Btw..I'm starving now!!! :D

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