Sunday, May 15, 2011

Lovely Mac and Cheese with Swiss Chard

A comfort food guest post, contributed by Bridget Sandorford

I was the only kid in school who hated macaroni and cheese. They called me crazy; I blame Velveeta. Now that I have my own kitchen, I’ve developed a few ideas of my own about good, “old-fashioned” mac and cheese.


3 tbsp butter

1 large, chopped yellow onion

3 garlic cloves, minced

¼ cup all purpose flour (I sneak about 1/8 cup of whole wheat in there, just because)

3 cups milk (skim, 2%, almond, or soy milk—they’re all good)

2 cups grated Gouda cheese, additional ½ cup finely grated Gouda

2 cups grated Edam cheese

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

¼ tsp nutmeg

One bunch (about a pound or two) of Swiss chard, tough stems removed

16 oz elbow macaroni

3 tbsp olive oil

1 cup panko or homemade bread crumbs

1 tomato, sliced

¼ tsp oregano


  1. Melt 3 tbsp of butter in big pot over medium heat and add onions. When onions are clear (not burned), add minced garlic and flour. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Gradually add milk. Stir occasionally until the ingredients begin to boil. Add the 2 cups of Gouda and 1 cup (not both) of Edam. Stir until the mixture is relatively consistent and stir in the cayenne and nutmeg. Salt and pepper to your personal taste.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter a 13x9 casserole or Pyrex.
  3. Wash the chard and steam (don’t boil or you’ll lose the nutrients to the water) over a pot of water. About five minutes after the water begins to boil, add a handful of salt and the macaroni to the pot (allowing the chard to continue steaming). When the macaroni is al dente, remove the chard and save the macaroni in a wire colander. Squeeze water from the chard with a towel (it will be very hot) and cut into small bits.
  4. Stir macaroni into cheese sauce and mix. Pour half of the mixture into the prepared casserole. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup of Edam and then the chard. Follow with remaining cheese sauce and spread flat. Place the tomato slices on top and sprinkle oregano.
  5. In another pot, melt 3 tbsp olive oil and pour in panko. Stir in ½ cup Gouda. Sprinkle the crumbs over the casserole and bake until they are golden, between 30 and 40 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes and serve with a pretty parsley sprig. The tomatoes tend to slide around but try to get a slice!

Photo Credit: Author's Personal Work.

Bio: Aside from school and working part-time as an Assistant Chef, Bridget Sandorford is the resident Culinary Schools blogger where recently she’s been researching Washington DC culinary colleges as well as Orlando culinary colleges. Her passion for food has followed her research into many different areas, such as nutrition, fitness, organic foods, gardening, and cooking on a budget. She lives outside of Charleston, South Carolina.

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