Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Raising a Foodie: Gates' Bunny Foo Foo Mac and Cheese

There are few kids who don't love Mac and Cheese. When Gates heard there was a Mac and Cheese cook off she was in. That the challenge was typically answered by adults didn't phase her. At almost three and a half she became the youngest entrant. Here's her award-winning Bunny Foo Foo Mac and Cheese. Just one of the dishes Dawn of Not Just A Mommy and I served at our party. More of our menu and details soon!

Individual Servings of Bunny Foo Foo Mac and Cheese


What cheeses do you put in your Mac and Cheese?
Ingredients for Gates' Bunny Foo Mac and Cheese


Helping your daughter perfect a Mac and Cheese recipe when cow's milk is off the table is challenging. Not all goat and sheep's milk cheeses melt the same as do cow's milk cheeses. Gates' first attempt included ricotta which more separated versus melted, leaving the result less creamy than she'd like. In the perfected recipe, the ricotta was replaced with two additional brie cheeses.

Because Mac and Cheese can be made ahead and popped into the oven 20 minutes before your guests arrive, it was the perfect choice for our party. Baking the Mac and Cheese in muffin cups elevated this crowd pleaser from a simple side dish.

Curious what else Dawn and I have planned for our Texas BBQ? Head over to Dawn's site for the inspiration for our color palette and our Mason Jar Cocktails. Be sure to use our homemade lemonade recipe when you're making your cocktails and follow these tips to create budget-friendly centerpieces for your event.

Gates Explains Her Chosen Ingredients


Ingredients for Bunny Foo Foo Mac and Cheese (fills a 9x13 baking dish)

  • 1 box Elbow pasta
  • 7 Tablespoons Sheep milk butter, divided
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 1 box (6 ounces) Cheddar squares, crushed
  • 3 cups warm Sheep's milk
  • 1/4 cup Flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Pepper
  • 15 to 18 ounces Goat Brie (3 wheels), rind removed and chopped
  • 8 ounces Goat Cheddar, shredded
  • 6 ounces Smoked Goat Cheddar, shredded
  • 3/4 pound Pepper bacon bits
  • 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano, grated
  • 6 ounces Cheddar Bunnies for garnish

Secret Ingredient: Sheep's Milk and Flour Another Secret Ingredient: Goat Cheese Brie


Instructions (approximately 90 minutes)

This recipe is not for the faint of heart. It's time consuming. If you're the type of cook who gets stressed out before guests arrive, make the day before and finish it by baking prior to the guests arriving. From start to finish this recipe takes about an hour and a half to 2 hours to make with a toddler. 15 minutes to cook the elbow pasta. 10 minutes to crush the Cheddar squares. 10 minutes to make and coat your baking dish with the Cheddar square crust. 10 to 15 minutes to make the roux and blend the cheese. And finally 25 minutes to bake and rest your cheesy concoction.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Coat a 9-by-13-Inch Ceramic Rectangular Baker(*affiliate link) or 6-Cup Jumbo Muffin Pan(*affiliate link) and an 8 x 8" / 2 Qt Square Baking Dish with olive oil and set aside.
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta until al-dente. You want it to have a bit of bite. It will finish cooking in the oven. Drain well.
  4. While the pasta boils add 3 Tablespoons butter to a medium skillet and melt.
  5. Add the garlic and sauté 30 seconds then throw in the crushed Cheddar squares and toss to coat. Cook until the crushed Cheddar squares are soaked with butter.
  6. Spread the toasted cracker mixture evenly on the bottom of the baking dish and set aside.
  7. In a sauce pan, melt the remaining 4 Tablespoons butter over medium heat.
  8. Whisk in the flour.
  9. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let cook/bubble for 1 minute, stirring once or twice to avoid burning.
  10. Gradually whisk in the milk and raise the heat up to medium-high.
  11. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking frequently until the sauce has thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  12. Remove from the heat and stir in the salt, pepper, and all of the cheese.
  13. Stir until the cheese is fully melted.
  14. When the cheese is fully melted, stir in the bacon bits and cooked pasta.
  15. Toss until well coated, and then transfer to the prepared baking dish(es). (If making a day ahead, cover with foil and place in the refrigerator.)
  16. Sprinkle the grated Pecorino Romano and Cheddar bunnies across the top of the mixture, and bake for 20 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling.
  17. Remove from the oven and let sit for five minutes.
Bunny Foo Foo Mac and Cheese Individual Servings of Bunny Foo Foo Mac and Cheese


When was the last time you indulged with Mac and Cheese?
genuinely eden

Credits: All layouts designed by and images taken by Eden Hensley Silverstein for The Road to the Good Life.

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