Day 85 – Panera Macaroni and Cheese

When I saw this recipe for Panera’s Macaroni and Cheese, I knew I had to give it a try. I love that stuff!
The recipe uses Dijon mustard and hot sauce, two ingredients that I don’t really like, so I never have them in my house. Usually when I don’t like an ingredient, I just omit it from the recipe. Sometimes that works out ok, but other times those ingredients are what makes it just that much better. I knew that there was pretty much no reason why I would need to buy a whole bottle of hot sauce, so I set myself on the lookout for restaurants that might carry packets of it. I only needed 1/4 teaspoon. I was also hoping to find packets of Dijon mustard somewhere too, but that is a pretty uncommon sight.
This weekend at Chick-Fil-A I found hot sauce packets and that got me so excited to try it that I decided to break down and just buy the mustard.
As far as recipes go, this one wasn’t too complicated. It involves some “stir constantly” which stresses me out a little because I always test my multi-tasking skills at times when I should really just not. I was whisking like crazy with my left hand (I am not left handed) so I could reach across the counter for the milk (that was approximately 1.3 inches away from the farthest place I could reach while still whisking.) I really wanted to get the milk ready so I could just pour it in when it was time. I needed 2 1/2 cups, so I sacrificed a millisecond of whisking constantly so I could reach the milk. When I went to pour it into the measuring cup that was right next to me from a previous part if the recipe, I realized that it was just a 1-cupper. That meant more unfocused stirring and pouring and my noodles were almost ready and my other part of dinner needed to be stirred while I was still whisking constantly and I spilled a bit of milk on the counter but it was ok because it was staying contained to one spot…until the flood gates opened and I had a milky river flowing across the counter and no hands free to contain it. Enter Chris who saved the town pot holder from any flood damage. Other than all of that drama, this was a breeze.
It was very delicious and I ate way more of it than I usually do with Kraft or Velveeta. But I wouldn’t say it is particularly a spot- on replica of Panera. Still super tasty though! It makes a lot, and I meant to half the recipe, but I forgot at the very beginning, so I just went with it. I put some in the freezer for another day. I am not sure how that will turn out, but maybe I will remember to update you about it sometime later this year.


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