I’d like to start by saying that I have no idea why this baked mac and cheese dish is called a “puff.” There’s nothing “puffy” about it. In fact it is so non-puffy that it is almost burly. Not that burly men can’t be puffy – don’t go putting words in my mouth. But this is a hearty and delicious take on Baked Mac and Cheese, and the hot dogs interspersed make it a perfect dish for your hungry, puffy or non-puffy crowd gathered for the big game.
Much like my own picky toddler, I grew up on a diet of exactly one meal – macaroni and cheese out of the blue box with a tall glass of chocolate milk. Healthy, right? But Granny, being completely opposed to such highly processed foods from a box (a woman ahead of her time!) refused to sell her soul to the devil disguised as a little packet of powered cheese. And Granny was the one and only person that I could trust enough in the kitchen to slightly bend my very strict dietary customs. So on occasion, she would whip up this “fancy” mac and cheese puff.
Now, I realize that I am sitting here claiming that this dish is perfect for hungry football-fanatics, and in nearly the same breath saying that a picky little tyke will also wolf it down – but hear me out. If you can make one dish that pleases both ends of the appetite spectrum, isn’t that a win-win? I am the Switzerland of football, but I live in a house divided (A Patriots-crazed husband and a die-hard Eagles fan brother/houseguest), so I could use the win-win this weekend.
The hotdogs (which I admit, look GROSS before going into the oven) make it heartier than regular Mac and cheese. There was one ingredient that surprised me – the eggs. The yolks find themselves in the cheese sauce, and the whites are beaten to peaks and folded in at the end.
If you have a family that includes picky youngsters and/or burly hungry adults, this might just be a “pufffect“ dish for you!
This Mac 'N Cheese Puff is slightly different than other baked mac and cheese. Its a perfect dish for picky kids, or for hungry adults! This can be a side dish or stand on its own as a main course.
- 3/4 c macaroni
- 2 beaten egg yolks
- 1 1/3 c milk
- 1 T butter
- 1 T dijon mustard
- 2 T minced onion
- 8 oz sliced franks
- 1 c shredded jack cheese
- 1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 c breadcrumbs
- 2 stiff beaten egg whites
- salt and pepper to taste
- parsley (optional to garnish)
Cook macaroni in salted, boiling water according to package directions or until al dente. In saucepan, combine egg yolks, milk, butter, mustard, onion, 1/2t salt and a dash of pepper. Add cheese.
Cook and stir over medium heat about 10 minutes or until mixture thickens slightly (do not boil). Stir in macaroni. Fold in egg whites.
Pour half of the mixture into a square 8×8 casserole dish. Place half of the franks into the dish and pour the remaining mixture. Place the remaining franks on top. Bake in a 350 degree oven until lightly browned on top (35-40 minutes). Garnish with parsley if desired.