Double-duty gadgets are a favorite on FN Dish, and rice cookers are just that. Newsflash: you can make more than rice in a rice cooker. Click play on the video above
to watch Jonathan from Food Network Kitchens easily make the ultimate comfort food: macaroni and cheese.
What do you make in your rice cooker (besides rice)? Tell FN Dish in the comments below.
When I was growing up, macaroni and cheese was a very special treat. The only time the boxed version made an appearance at our table was on the rare occasion when my parents went out in the evening and left us with a baby sitter. The sitter was given strict instructions to serve it with carrot sticks and glasses of milk, which dampened the joy of dayglow pasta just a little.
It wasn’t until I went away to college that I discovered two things about macaroni and cheese: It is dead simple to make from scratch, and if you stir in some kind of vegetable in with the pasta, you can call it a complete meal.
Once I was living off-campus and had a real kitchen at my disposal, I had my way with the world of mac and cheese. My roommates and I made cheesy shells with cheese, stirred ribbons of zucchini in with leftover spaghetti noodles, and we even did a batch of smoked salmon and cream cheese mac and cheese once for a brunch potluck. They were all tasty dishes that left me with a healthy respect for the power of cooked pasta and a quick batch of cheese sauce.
Before you start cooking, read these tips
From soup to bite-size fried balls and grilled cheese, macaroni and cheese can make an appearance in numerous forms this fall season. And this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week gives you 25 different ways to keep this classic comfort food dish alive in your household. Start with the basics and then experiment:
The Pioneer Woman’s Macaroni and Cheese: Ree Drummond’s macaroni can be served straight from the stove or baked in a buttered dish with extra cheese until bubbling and brown.
Alton Brown’s Baked Macaroni and Cheese: Gooey macaroni with sharp cheddar cheese is crowned with breadcrumbs and baked until golden.
For more everyday recipe inspiration, visit Food Network’s Let’s Cook: Main Dishes board on Pinterest.
Get the recipes: 25 Macaroni and Cheese Recipes
On Rachael vs. Guy: Kids Cook-Off, Rachael and Guy coach teams of talented kid chefs to culinary victory. Here on FN Dish, we’re serving up some of the mentors’ best family-favorite, cook-together recipes in a friendly face-off. Whose dish scores more points with your family? Cast your votes below!
Up first is a comfort food all-star beloved by kids and adults alike: Macaroni and Cheese.
If you have picky eaters, try updating a classic that most kids can’t get enough of. They’ll have a built-in veggie and you’ll eat a meal in peace (probably). Update your favorite mac and cheese recipe by adding 3 cups of chopped cauliflower or grated carrots to the pasta water when there’s still about 3 minutes left to cook. Continue with the remainder of the recipe, adding an extra 1/2 cup of milk to the cheese sauce so everything stays nice and moist. Note: Cauliflower works especially well for anyone going through a “white food-only” phase (and if you are, I hear you).
Keep going? Crumble 1/2 cup of extra-firm tofu or mashed white beans into the pasta as you mix it together with the cheese sauce. Instant protein, undetected.
But if presentation is what inspires your brood, as it often does from the booster seats here, try individually baked ramekins. Or save time by scooping this creamy goodness into little dipping bowls and stacking them on top of each child’s plate. Who knew invisible veggies could be so cute?
Start with these basic mac and cheese recipes
Once you’ve made your favorite mac and cheese from Food Network Magazine’s 50 Twists on Mac and Cheese (page 118, March issue), try this tasty trick for using up leftovers:
Fried Mac and Cheese
Shape the cold mac and cheese into meatball-sized balls and place them onto a waxed paper-lined tray. Freeze the balls 2 hours or overnight. Beat 2 eggs and 2 tablespoons water together to form an egg wash, and pour it into a shallow bowl. Combine panko and herbs in another shallow bowl. Remove the mac-and-cheese balls from the freezer. Dip the frozen balls into the egg wash, then into the breadcrumbs. Put the balls back into the freezer until you are ready to fry, or heat 2 inches of oil in a heavy-duty pot to 350 degrees F. Fry the mac-and-cheese balls until they are golden brown and center is hot, about 5 minutes.
The chefs in Food Network Kitchens had so many favorites for Food Network Magazine’s 50 Twists on Mac and Cheese (page 118, March issue) that we couldn’t print them all. Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, whip up this extra-Irish macaroni and cheese recipe.
St. Paddy’s Day Mac
Make Classic Mac, steeping the milk with 1 tablespoon pickling spice wrapped in cheesecloth instead of the bay leaf, and use all Irish farmhouse cheddar instead of regular cheddar. Stir in 3/4 cup chopped corned beef and 1 1/2 cups chopped boiled cabbage. Transfer to a casserole dish. Top with an additional 1/4 cup grated Irish cheddar. Broil until melted, 1 minute.
Here in Food Network Kitchens, we love simple, classic recipes. We are also paid to think about food all day. So we’ve taken classic foods and drinks and reimagined them in three, four or five different ways. No standard recipes here, just the occasional technique and pictures. Think of them as picture recipes.
There is nothing better than snuggling up to a big bowl of mac and cheese. We’ve taken this classic comfort food and spun it in four fun and different ways. From French onion to dessert mac and cheese, these twists might change your view on an old favorite.
First, start with the classic version
First there was Alton’s Better-Than-Boxed Macaroni, then there was this Three-Cheese Macaroni from Food Network Magazine. One thing is for sure: Fans can’t get enough of macaroni and cheese on Pinterest. Which leads us to this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week, Ina Garten’s Lobster Mac & Cheese. This noodle dish is the ultimate comfort food. Here Ina adds decadent lobster meat to the classic recipe and tops it with crunchy breadcrumbs.
For more hearty main dishes, visit Food Network’s Let’s Cook: Main Dishes board on Pinterest.
Get the recipe: Food Network Magazine‘s Lobster Mac & Cheese
You’d never know this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week was actually a lightened-up version of a comfort food classic. Food Network Kitchens used Muenster, sharp cheddar and Parmesan and mixed in pureed cauliflower for extra creaminess in Food Network Magazine‘s Three-Cheese Macaroni.
For more lightened-up recipe inspiration, visit Food Network’s Let’s Get Healthy board on Pinterest.
Get the recipe: Three-Cheese Macaroni