Monday, February 24, 2014

Mac & Cheese Pizza: Delicious, or Gettheheckoutofhere? (A Photo Essay)

I began about 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon:

First step: Make the crust. The crust has to rise, you know!

Then get your noodles boiling! (No, that's not a euphemism. You need to boil your noodles.)

I'm not one of those people that's crazy about bacon.  It's okay. But let's not be ridiculous about it.

The recipe said to "saute" the bacon. I don't know what that is and whenever I try to actually fry bacon in a pan I end up filling the house with smoke.  So I use a method Sweetie taught me: I put the bacon in the oven and bake it. Turns out as crispy as you want it, every time.  She usually cooks it at about 250 F, but I cooked this at 450 because that's how hot the oven was supposed to be.  (The pizza crust boxes say to cook those crusts at 425 F, but I did 450, again, and they turned out PERFECT, so as with all recipes, feel free to ignore the parts you don't agree with.)

Whenever I cook something with onions, I always separate them out, as Sweetie doesn't like onions.  

That's because I am an awesome husband.

This was interesting. The base sauce for the pizza is all the butter from the onions, plus all the grease from the bacon, plus some flour for thickening, plus two cups of milk.  So this is what you start with:

And if you're me, you look at that and the directions that it has to be thick enough to stick to the back of the spoon and then you think "There's no way that two cups of milk is going to end up with a sauce that'll stick to the spoon" so you instead lighten up on the milk, putting about a quarter cup of it in, and then later on put in about three times the amount of cheese the recipe called for.

The recipe also called for store-bought bread crumbs. STORE BOUGHT? That's for suckers. You can make your own bread crumbs with some crackers and a rolling pin. Like this:

Then you just roll them until they are crumbs. That's how the pioneers did it, after all! (Let's ignore for the moment that the crackers are store-bought, as well, since these were technically leftover crackers from the deli platter we made for Christmas.)

Then it's back to the dough. You're going to want to put flour on your hands before you knead it. You're going to also not want to forget that fact and instead just stick your hand into the dough before going "Oh, yeah, flour up those hands first."

This was only about 1/2 the total dishes involved. I hadn't even put the pizzas in the oven yet.

Sweetie really liked my crust this time around.  Usually I monkey with the crust and try different things. I am, for example, trying to perfect a 'butter crust' based on having eaten one once in O'Hare Airport while we were waiting for a late-night flight to Washington, D.C.

But this time I just used the mix and floured it up.  I can make a pizza crust from scratch -- with yeast and everything -- but that's a lot of work and the boxes I use are like $0.50 each, so why bother?

Interlude: No Mac & Cheese pizza dinner is complete without homemade chocolate shakes courtesy of Mr Bunches!

We made two shakes, one for Sweetie and one for... I thought me, but Mr Bunches decided that he wanted it, so I only got one sip of the chocolate shake.  Life is not fair sometimes.

And the end result!

Sweetie's verdict: "Tastes good... could you make it with pizza sauce next time?"

It was a lot like a casserole with pizza crust, but still very tasty.

The recipe I worked off of is right here.  If I ever make it again, I'm going to mix some italian sausage slices into the mac & cheese.  But even without that it was delicious.


Pat Dilloway said...

That turned out better than most of my culinary experiments.

Andrew Leon said...

Interesting. But, if I decide to make one of those, I will probably freestyle it.

Liz A. said...

Seems like a lot of work. Then again, so are chocolate chip cookies...

Briane P said...


It IS a lot of work. But worth it.


I always work off a recipe my first time but I mess with it.

I didn't even know you cooked.

Andrew Leon said...

Sometimes, I do, but I think, with pizza, and as often as I've made homemade pizza, I would just play with it.

Robin said...

This looks very good.

My mom just read about making bacon in the oven, so we tried that for the first time a little over a week ago. It turned out GREAT. So much better than the microwave or the frying pan.

Sorry you only got one sip of the milkshake...

Rusty Carl said...

I'm impressed that you thought of taking pictures WHILE cooking. That increases the level of difficulty tremendously. And I've been wanting to make a pizza from scratch myself lately, you know, make my own tomato sauce, all of it... well, I'll probably purchase any meats I put on it, because I probably don't want to make any of those... and now that I think of it, I probably wouldn't grow the veggies either.

Still, mostly from scratch. I want to. However, the missus is afraid I'll quit halfway through, after purchasing some real expensive equipment solely to be used in making the pizza, and non-returnable, after spending many hours trying to make the perfect crust - or sauce - or cheese (which I also wouldn't make, but might buy a lot of different types of mozzarella and try them all out first)..

And yes, that really sounds like something I would do. So I do see her point. I would do all those thing, and spend a few weeks testing the cheeses, the sauces, making the crusts.... and then get bored with it before I actually made the pizza.

Man, why am I such a loser that way? Stupid brain, getting bored too easy.