On Friday my coworkers and I were discussing our plans for the new year (you know, resolutions and such), and we discovered we all have the same idea – to eat better and exercise more. I know, I know. We aren’t very original. I’m sure 95% of the world has the same resolution and/or plans. While 95% of the world probably started their resolutions on the first day of the new year, we decided (after I brought in some super delicious treats) to put it off until Monday. We agreed that we needed to clean out our fridges to make room for the new, healthy food. In other words, this was our last weekend to eat the things we love, like cupcakes, beef and dumplings, burritos and mac and cheese.
I had this leftover prime rib that my mom made on Christmas day and I needed something to do with it. I probably should have just tossed the meat since it was more than a week old, right? But I generally eat things well past the time you’re supposed to have eaten them or dumped them and since prime rib is so damn expensive, I decided to make my leftovers into mac and cheese.
- 12 oz. elbow macaroni
- 3 T. butter
- 3 T. flour
- 1 c. heavy whipping cream
- 1 ½ c. whole milk
- 1 tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. black pepper
- ½ T. blackened seasoning
- 3 oz blue cheese crumbles
- 5 oz fresh mozzarella (optional)
- 1 to 2 c. shredded white cheese (such as fontina, havarti, Muenster etc), plus additional for topping the dish before baking
- 1 lb leftover Prime Rib, cut into bite-sized pieces
- bread cubes
- Cook pasta according to package directions, reserving some pasta water when you drain the noodles, and return the noodles to the hot pot to let them dry while you cook the sauce. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour. Gradually stir in milk and cream and seasonings. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until the sauce thickens slightly, then remove the sauce from the heat and add the shredded cheese and most of the blue cheese crumbles. Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning level, if necessary.
- Stir the cheese sauce into your noodles. Stir in the prime rib. Spoon 1/3 of your noodles into a greased 2-quart baking dish. Cover with slices of fresh mozzarella cheese. Spoon another 1/3 of the noodles into the dish and cover with additional mozzarella and repeat. I ran out of mozzarella and covered the top layer in provolone. Then I sprinkled a few more blue cheese crumbles on top. And topped the dish with some cubes of cheddar-jalapeno bread doused in 1/4 c. melted butter.
To be honest, unless you’re a cheese lover, you can probably skip the fresh mozzarella layers. It may have been overkill. I baked the mac and cheese and then took a walk around the block with my dogs. I got a bit delayed by two old men drinking beer on the porch of an apartment on the other side of the block. What can I say? My dogs are lookers and people are always cat-calling them (and then me because of them). So when I got back to my kitchen my mac and cheese was a little too cold for me. Nonetheless, the sauce was creamy and delicious. I also liked the contrast of the crunchy bread cubes on top. It almost felt like I was eating a mix of grilled cheese and mac and cheese.
So here’s my problem. Starting tomorrow, I’m supposed to be eating better. Mac and cheese doesn’t make the list of approved foods (though I think I’ll allow myself to eat whatever I want one day a week – I weighed myself on Friday and determined I’m only 10 pounds heavier than what I would like to be). Yet I have this entire dish of mac and cheese leftover…