Okay, friends. I’m posting my STATE FAIR WEEK celebration-makings in a meal-type order. You’ve probably already seen my DIY Fried Pickles, which of course were the appetizer. (Of course.)
So, after you try the pickles and walk around a lot and perhaps take a spin on the Ferris wheel and maybe brave the line to see the butter cow, which puts you in a dairy mood, you might find yourself kind of hungry again. So, what do you eat?
Macaroni and cheese on a stick. It’s the second course of our State Fair Extravaganza!
Challenge: DIY Mac and Cheese on a Stick
I followed, mostly, my own recipe for this one. But I did reference Paula Deen’s Deep Fried Mac and Cheese. (Because if anyone knows fried cheese and carbs, it’s Paula Deen.)
To start, you make mac and cheese. Cook some pasta (I used medium shells for this) until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain.
Then put the warm pan back over low heat. Add a splash of milk and a small handful of cubed Velveeta. (Good DIY mac ‘n’ cheese is reserved for another post. This is the basic one.) Stir until melted and smooth.
All done? Good! Now, add back in your noodles, mix until they’re all coated. Then stick the whole thing in a casserole dish and let it chill in the fridge for 8 or 10 or 48 hours. (Also, I didn’t cover my mac ‘n’ cheese and the top layer got all crusty and hard. It got better when fried, but still – cover with plastic wrap or a casserole cover while cooling.)
After the pasta has chilled, turn it out and chop it into small bite-sized-ish pieces.
Then, you bread the pasta. Set up a bowl of flour, a bowl with one egg (beaten) and a bowl of bread crumbs. And working in that order – flour, egg, bread crumbs – dredge and dip the chunks of pasta. Mine fell apart like whoa, even though it was all cold. Could be the shell choice – perhaps elbows would be better. But que sera, sera. I pulled whatever chunks I could through all three stations, then dropped ’em in the fryer (set to 375 degrees) for about 60 seconds, or until they were golden brown and floating at the top. If you don’t have a fryer, add a few inches of oil to a deep, heavy-bottomed fry pan or cast-iron skillet, heat to 375, and go to town.
Then they went to a plate to cool and drain, and they were skewered.
This was heavenly. HEAVENLY. The breading was crunchy and crispy, the noodles had a slight chewiness, and the cheese sauce remelted into a gooey liquid that pooled in the shells. They emerged steaming hot and they held together pretty well when they were fried – well enough to stay on a stick! I ate several pieces of this concoction. Granted, it’s hard to go wrong when you have carbs and cheese dredged in carbs and salt, and then fried in fat. But if I weren’t concerned about my weight, I’d eat this Every. Single. Day. The homemade version was equally as good, if not better than, the fried mac and cheese on a stick that I remember from the state fair. It takes a little pre-planning to pull this one off (what with the overnight chilling and whatnot) but it’s completely worth it.
DIY or Buy?
DIY. All the way.
Okay, it’s time for the Favorite Mac and Cheese Discussion. When mine isn’t fried, I add garlic powder, mustard powder, chopped chives and fresh tomato. Divine. What about you? Fav brand/toppings/prep method?
Also, come back TOMORROW for the main course: Homemade Corn Dogs!