One of the things that I love so much about food is that certain dishes can evoke memories that we might not otherwise think about.
The smell of fresh baked bread takes me right back to my Grandmother’s kitchen. I am probably 8 years old, and it is Christmas time. I can vividly remember the brown and orange tile (woohooo 70’s), the oven mitts that hung from a hook on the wall, and those big ol’ bar stools that I was so determined to climb alone. It is like I am right there and I could reach out and touch my Grandma’s apron!
As I have said in the past, my Mom wasn’t big on cooking. She was more about getting something on the table VS creating meals.
Not that I hold anything against her. She worked full time, had a husband that was UBER-picky, and it was the era of TV Dinners and canned and boxed meals.
Now that I am a food blogger, food is pretty much, well it is pretty much my life. So I not only have all of those past memories to enjoy, I have a ton of new ones that have evolved through the recipes I have created with, and for, my family.
There have been so many nights I have had my entire family in the kitchen with me as I cook, tasting and laughing. You really never know what is going to happen when you get us all into the kitchen. Those memories are so precious to me.
So it was hard for me to come up with just one dish to share with you this week. Some of my family’s favorite dishes are ones that I have stumbled upon while I was tinkering in the kitchen. I refer to them as “happy accidents” and usually happen when I am knee deep in cookbooks, recipe notes, and countertops covered with ingredients for about 4 different dishes.
Out of a mess that looks like the wake of a tornado, comes a dish that my family raves about. Who knew that my ADD could be a key part to my success?
I finally chose my Reuben Mac and Cheese for a few different reasons. The first being that it is so close to St Patrick’s Day, which tends to be a big deal with my family.
Being Irish, and a big goof, having a day to dress up in an array of glittery, green, shamrocky garb is something I look forward to every year. I passed the torch to my daughter and she now looks forward to St Patrick’s Day almost as much as she does Christmas!
The second is that my family laughs at my love for mac and cheese. They have all told me, on one occasion or another, that they think I could make just about anything into a mac and cheese.
I guess I can understand that when I look back on my BLT Mac and Cheese, Beef Enchilada Mac and Cheese, 3 Cheese Pumpkin Mac and Cheese, Philly Cheese Steak Mac and Cheese, Beer and Brat Mac and Cheese, Bacon Mac and Cheese, Spicy Chili Mac and Cheese, Crabby Mac, and Cheesy Chicken Mac just to name a few.
He would always be the one to make some kind of a sarcastic comment about the dishes I would come up with, but was my biggest supporter. This, the man that I grew up with that would barely eat much more that meatloaf and mashed potatoes, became the one that was in my kitchen just about every night asking “What experiment are we having tonight?”.
He really realllllly loved this mac and cheese, and that made me a very happy girl.
I knew that either of them would pair nicely with the meal because they both compliment rich food so well. Chardonnay is lovely with things like salmon, poultry, seafood salads and cream sauces, while Merlot is perfect with things like grilled meats, pork roasts, poultry, and pasta with rich hearty tomato sauces.
With all of that creamy, cheesy pasta going on, there was no way you could go wrong with either choice.
Reuben Mac and Cheese
Salty corned beef, creamy cheese sauce, and tangy sauerkraut make this mac and cheese insanely good and perfect for St Patrick’s Day.
- 6 rye crispbread crackers
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
- 8 ounces short cut pasta, I used medium shells
- 3 tablespoons butter, separated
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 2 tablespoons spicy brown deli mustard
- 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
- Kosher salt
- Fresh cracked black pepper
- 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
- 1/2 cup medium cheddar, shredded
- 1/2 pound slow cooker corned beef, shredded or chopped
- 1/2 pound sauerkraut, rinsed and well drained
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place rye crispbread and parsley in a food processor pulse until combined.
- Bring a large pasta pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Salt water and cook pasta to al dente.
- Heat a sauce pot over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons butter to pot and melt, whisk in flour 1 minute then milk. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, thicken sauce 5 to 6 minutes then stir in mustard and horseradish. Remove the pot from the heat and add the cheeses a handful at a time, stirring until smooth and combined
- Drain pasta and return to hot pot. Toss hot pasta with chopped meat and sauerkraut to combine, stir in cheese sauce and coat. Transfer mac n cheese to 2 quart casserole dish and top with bread crumbs and remaining cheese.
- Bake for 25 minutes.
- If browner top is desired, place under broiler 3 to 4 minutes, serve.
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 00 hrs. 10 mins.
Cook time: 00 hrs. 25 mins.
Total time: 35 mins.
Tags: corned beef, pasta, casserole, St Patrick’s Day,
Be sure to check out these fabulous recipes, with their wine pairings, from the other Sunday Supper taste makers.
Compensation was provided by Gallo Family Vineyards via Sunday Supper, LLC. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author, and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Gallo Family Vineyards.
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