Enjoy Virginia’s Short Break From Politics. It’s Only About A Month Long

It’s time to chill out a bit. Between now and New Years is the closest we come to a non-political season in Virginia.

Just mere days away from that annual festival of family and friends crashing your kitchen known as Thanksgiving. You do have that big hunk of poultry thawing in your refrigerator, right? If not it’s probably time to start.

I’m sure you’ve already decided how you want to cook that bird, so I won’t add to the confusion here. If not, check YouTube and search for Alton Brown. He has several methods there, one of which I’m sure you will like.

What I will do here is share a recipe that I gave to Clyde some time back. He liked it so much it’s now on his menu. Just don’t tell anyone what the brown cheesy crust is.

Serves 12 and halves or doubles easily.

  • 1 1/2 pounds raw penne pasta or large macaroni, cooked and drained
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 cups milk
  • 3 small cloves garlic
  • 2 1/2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
  • 1 pound shredded good quality, extra-sharp cheddar cheese
  • 16 ounces cream cheese, crumbled
  • 2 cup (9 ounces) shredded Gruyere cheese
  • Generous 3/4 teaspoon each hot red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon each Salt, and freshly ground black pepper
  • Generous 3/4 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 1 whole stick unsalted butter plus one tablespoon
  • 12 ounces cheerios, coarsely ground, (or, if you insist, ground croutons)
  • Another half cup of grated Cheddar cheese.

1. Preheat oven to 350. Butter two 1 1/2 quart baking dishes, and add cooked macaroni.

2. In a blender or food processor combine egg, milk, and garlic, and process 3 seconds. Add onion, cheeses, peppers, salt, and paprika, and blend 10 seconds. Turn into dish, folding into macaroni. Casserole could be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated up to 24 hours at this point.

3. To bake, bring casserole close to room temperature. Melt butter in a small saucepan. Coat cheerios with butter and grated cheese mixture and spread over top of casserole. Bake about 20 to 25 minutes, or until thick yet creamy. If top is not golden, slip under broiler for a minute. Remove from oven, let stand a few minutes, and serve.

Yep. You read that right. That’s over two pounds of cheese. ‘Course that’s for at least twelve people. I like to substitute some grated pepper jack for some of that, but that’s just me.







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