Rapid Mac Cooker

The Final Countdown: Rapid Mac Cooker

I am not exaggerating when I say I am famous for my Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. Among people who know me. I love it. I eat it. And I make the best Kraft Macaroni & Cheese anyone has ever tasted. It made me both a super-popular babysitter and a welcome sight at late-night parties. You’re jealous, aren’t you?

Ahem. But this post isn’t about my fantastic, extraordinary Kraft skills. My good friend Chris gave me a Rapid Mac Cooker (two of them!) for my birthday, so I decided to take it for a spin. It says it takes five minutes to make a box of mac and cheese–with no straining or draining. We’ll just see about that:

0:00

Rapid Mac Cooker

Minute zero: the mac is in the cooker with the water poured up to the line.

2:30

RapidMac3

Minute 2:30: time to stir!

4:30

RapidMac4

Minute 4:30: the mac and cheese should be cooked and ready to go! It is not. I add another 1/2 cup of water and put it back in the microwave.

6:30

RapidMac5

Minute 6:30: the macaroni is still not ready. Two more minutes!

8:30

Rapid Mac Cooker

Minute 8:30: I used the second Rapid Mac Cooker to make the sauce (I do NOT throw the sauce ingredients on top of the noodles). Milk and butter!

9:30

Rapid Mac Cooker

Minute 9:30: with the cheese and butter melted, I add two slices of Kraft American cheese and about one ounce of shredded sharp cheddar.

10:00

Rapid Mac Cooker

Minute 10:00: the cheese sauce is ready for the mac!

10:30

Rapid Mac Cooker.

Minute 10:30: get that mac in there! The water had mostly evaporated, leaving a weird gelatinous coating on the noodles.

11:00

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Minute 11:00: all stirred up and ready to go. I added a lot of extra milk. I usually have to, due to the extra cheese, but the weird gelatinous quality made it even thicker than normal.

11:30

Rapid Mac Cooker

Minute 11:30: plated and ready for my mouth.

The final verdict: this gets a C, due to the inconsistently cooked noodles (parts were fully cooked, parts were . . . not) and the aforementioned gelatinous goo. Plus, it only saved me five minutes or so.

But what if I don’t have a stove? Frankly, I’ve made perfectly fine Kraft Macaroni & Cheese in a hot pot or even an electric kettle, so give the Rapid Mac Cooker a thumbs down and save your money–and your tastebuds!

Macaroni and Cheese

Creamy Macaroni & Cheese With Roasted Tomatoes

Macaroni and Cheese

Oh baby . . . come to Mommy. Oh yeah.

It’s raining today, which is heavenly. Fall is my favorite time of year, especially for cooking. Soup! Casseroles! And, of course, macaroni and cheese.

I came up with this recipe when I needed to use up a bunch of cheese (I always have too much cheese on hand, it’s a sickness) and we’ve had a bumper crop of tomatoes and basil from the garden. It’s modeled on Ina Garten’s Mac and Cheese recipe, except it’s not baked (I prefer stovetop macaroni and cheese), and I use–gasp!–American and cheddar cheeses.

Listen: American cheese is simply the finest cheese for macaroni and cheese or grilled cheese, and I won’t hear anything different. It melts smoothly and doesn’t separate. Paired with a good sharp cheddar, it is freakin’ amazing! End rant.

Baby Macaroni and Cheese

Sarah’s portion–chopped up!

Since this macaroni and cheese is not baked, I decided to oven-roast the tomatoes with basil, garlic, and olive oil. The results were . . . sublime. My husband took one bite and told me I got my cheese mixture perfect for the sauce. Thank god I weighed everything so I can preserve this momentous achievement for everyone to share! Ahem. I get excited about macaroni and cheese.

Creamy Macaroni & Cheese With Roasted Tomatoes
Serves 4-8

You need:

6 oz American cheese (I used Kraft Deli slices, which at least aren’t individually wrapped), chopped or shredded
4 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2 cups milk (plus more to taste)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lb rotini (or your choice of pasta) or, use 1/2 lb pasta and save half the cheese sauce for cheeseburger mac, another recipe I will post soon!

For the roasted tomatoes:
1 lb fresh tomatoes, halved
Extra-virgin olive oil
Fresh basil, julienned
4 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lay tomatoes on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with basil, salt, and pepper. Roast for one hour. Remove, let cool, and reserve for macaroni and cheese.

Place a large pan of water on to boil. Heat the milk gently in a small saucepan, but don’t bring it to a boil. Melt butter in a second large pot or saute pan and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth. Remove from heat and add the cheeses, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

Meanwhile, add salt to your large pan of boiling water and cook pasta until al dente. Drain and add pasta to your sauce, adding milk if necessary to achieve a smooth, creamy texture.

Spoon into a bowl and top with oven roasted tomatoes. Prepare to go to heaven!