Smoky Mac and Cheese with Caramelized Onions

So I made a discovery in Washington last year that totally floats my boat.

Applewood Smoked Sea Salt.

You can find it on one of my favorite spice company websites – My Spice Sage.  And guess what? Every time you order from My Spice Sage you get to choose a free 1 oz sample of something you’d like to try. How fun is that? They also have another deal going on right now – order 20 dollars worth of spices and you get a free 4 oz package of Fleur De Sel (valued at $9.00)! That kinda floats my boat too. :D

My Barracuda of 2011 – Arcadia Lake

And while we’re on the topic of boat buoyancy let me just say that Macaroni and Cheese practically makes my boat skim over the water.

When we were kids my grandparents would take us to a cafeteria for dinner on occasion. In our little minds it was the biggest thrill to walk down the counter full of the kind of food we rarely ate (Thanks Mom and Dad for not raising us on junk food! ) and get to pick out anything we wanted.  I always chose the jello and the mac and cheese. I know I got more, but these two dishes have remained embedded in my memory for some reason. I can still see them served on white plates sitting on the brown plastic trays.

Even since then, mac and cheese has been a favorite of mine. Sigh…I went through a phase of trying not to like it… but I got over it. Especially when I tasted Panera‘s Mac and Cheese made with Vermont white cheddar. Mmmm!

That is what made me want to create something just like it at home. I’m still working on that, but in the mean time, check this out…

Smoky Mac and Cheese with Caramelized Onions

4 T. butter

3 onions

1 T. brown sugar or coconut sugar

10 oz. of your favorite macaroni pasta

5 c. shredded cheese (reserve two cups for the top!), use a combo of cheddar and smoked Gouda for more smoky goodness.

4 T. cornstarch

2 c. milk

smoked sea salt and pepper to taste

Cut both ends off onions, peel and slice in half. Cut into thin half moon strips, then slice in half again.

Melt butter in skillet, add onions and saute until golden brown and translucent. Toss with sugar and cook to caramelize for a couple more minutes.

Meanwhile, have your water boiling for pasta and cook according to package directions, minus the salt (You want all your saltiness to come from the smoked salt.). I used one of my favorite brands of pasta, Tinkyada.

It’s one of the best gluten free pastas I have ever tried and I like it way better an whole wheat pasta.

Toss three cups of cheese with the corn starch. Place cooked onions in a pot and add milk and cheese. Heat, stirring frequently, until cheese is melted and everything is well combined.

Add cooked pasta, salt and pepper and stir to coat. Spoon into a 9×13 buttered casserole dish, top with remaining cheese and broil in the oven until gold and bubbly.

You can eliminate the last step if you like and just serve it from the pot – whatever floats your boat!

22 thoughts on “Smoky Mac and Cheese with Caramelized Onions

  1. Sarah, I used to make macaroni and cheese…quite a bit from scratch…but no mention of it here…I guess mine was not the memory-making version… : (

    Just joking…

    But yours definitely is, the memory-making version, that is… : )

  2. Oh, man! Nathan took me to this ritzy place for my birthday last year- one of those $40 a plate and worth every penny variety, and he ordered macaroni and cheese. And it was so good.

    So your story is bringing back happy memories.

    Okay, I didn’t check if you moved your entire blog over here, but some long time ago you posted a Swedish recipe for marzipan muffins. I rushed right out and bought marzipan to make some. Then I did a double take when I saw it called for 3 TB. flour. That didn’t seem right. Could you confirm? Thanks!

    • Yes, you’ll find the recipe on this blog. Just search almond paste. I went there to check the flour amount and it says 1/3 c. Hmmm…maybe I changed it at some point. :D
      Thanks for stopping by Tiffany!

    • (oops!) one of the main reasons I will never be able to lead a gluten free lifestyle. This looks so salty and delicious. My sister Micah would love this!

      • I didn’t see that this was gluten free until after my comment! What is the texture like on those noodles? The bag said “not mushy” so it has me curious.

        • They definitely aren’t mushy – unless they get overcooked. I’ve found their directions to boil the water, add the noodles, turn off the heat and let sit for 20 minutes, cooks them a bit too much for me. Have you ever had Barilla Plus pasta? The texture is most comparable to that. I don’t like whole wheat pasta – this is much better. :D
          Does that help at all? lol

    • Hi Katie, thanks so much for stopping by! I’m not on twitter or FB, but I will be back to read more of your blog. :D It is nice to connect with other Okie bloggers – I need the inspiration to get through our very HOT summers! :D

  3. Oh My Goodness ! This looks so decadent ! Add some lobster and it’ll really be over the top! You have a beautiful blog here. I may have to be careful as I need to lose some weight and you have some fabulous recipes here. Bella

    • Mmmm! I bet you’re right!
      I need to lose some weight too, so maybe I should post some recipes friendly to that endeavor. :P Best of success to you!

  4. Thanks. (Yes, this is actually about the interval at which I do blogs, bake, too.) I just couldn’t believe you could actually make a dozen muffins with only 1/3 c. of flour. Best wishes with your braces.

  5. Pingback: Egg, Bacon, and Cheese Stuffed Peppers | Stir It Up!

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