I’d like to start by saying that I have no idea why this 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!
Mac ‘N Cheese Puff
Prep Time: 25 minutes. Total Time: 1 hr 5 minutes. Yields: 6 servings
- 1/2 c macaroni (I used 3/4 c)
- 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)
- 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.