This recipe comes from my Mom. It is AMAZING! In fact, she often gives it as a bridal shower gift given with a casserole dish. Yes, you can use that idea for your next shower… it’s a good one, and she gets royalties 😉
½ cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
½ cup all purpose flour
2-3 boxes of mac & cheese (we like using wacky mac, but whatever is your favourite)
1 – 1 ½ lbs. or more of different cheeses, shredded
5 cups of milk
Salt & pepper
Bread crumbs (optional)
Pam, butter flavoured
Melt the butter in a pot over medium heat. When butter bubbles, whisk in flour. Mixture should be think and pasty. Slowly whisk in milk about a cup at a time. You have to use a whisk or it will get lumpy. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick.
When the mixture is as thick as melted ice cream, start adding cheese. Use the cheese packets included with the mac & cheese, and any other sharp flavoured cheese, such as cheddar, kashkeval, or goat cheese. A blend works best. Taste and add cheese until it is delicious! Season with salt and pepper to taste. As the mixture cooks, it may become too thick – just add some more milk. Stir often, and/or turn down the heat so that it does not burn.
In the meantime, boil pasta from the boxes according to the directions. Drain well. Mix the cheese sauce and pasta together – it should be very saucy.
Pour the mixture into a baking dish sprayed with Pam. At this point, you can sprinkle the top of the pasta with breadcrumbs. Spray the top of the pasta with butter flavoured Pam and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until the top is all browned and bubbly.
So those that have celebrated Chanukah in the past, or are new to it, may have noticed an abundance of dairy dishes on the menu. So continuing on yesterday’s theme, other than being DELICIOUS, why do we eat dairy on this holiday? Well, ladies, get your pride on because it all has to do with one incredibly brave and gutsy woman!
Judith (Yehudis) was a young woman who lived in Bethulia, in the land of Judea, at the time of the war against the Greeks. In the story, Judith, a beautiful widow, is able to enter the tent of the Greek general, Holofernes because of his desire for her. Holofernes’ army was about to destroy Judith’s home, the city of Bethulia. She fed Holofernes an abundance of salty cheese, causing him a great thirst, which of course was answered with wine. Overcome with drink, he passes out and Judith uses the opportunity to decapitate him. She carries his head off in her basket, leaving his tent, while his soldiers stood nearby thinking their general was merely asleep. The next morning, upon finding that their general had been killed, the Greek army fell into disarray and fled.
Not bad, eh? I don’t know if I could have been as brave, or as ruthless. Well, what can I say? Judaism has some pretty tough women! So in memory of Judith’s bravery, we eat dairy products as well. It really is the least we can do, I mean, c’mon, decapitation? That ain’t easy! You go girl!
* photo credit – JudithBeheadingHolofernes by Caravaggio, painted in 1598-99.