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Old 05-16-2012, 09:41 AM   #1
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Creamy macaroni and cheese for 150

I have a crazy idea, and I'm not sure if it will work. Need some advice.

I have been charged with cooking macaroni and cheese for 150 people (maybe more). Baked is going to dry out on me and then taste nasty, plus it's too much trouble in that quantity and way too expensive.

Here's my plan: I am going to pre-cook the macaroni al dente and bag it. The night of the banquet, I was thinking about using cheese sauce (like you'd get in those shells and cheese box mixes NOT THE POWDER JUNK but the liquid sauce), heating that up and then just before the banquet mixing that with the pasta in a couple of 19 quart roasters to heat it up, have the pasta finish cooking a bit, and serving it straight out of the roasters to keep it warm.

Has anyone else ever done anything like this? I LOVE those prepackaged shells and cheese dishes, so I'm no purist when it comes to cooking and eating. No Julia Child nonsense about fresh ingredients please ...

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Old 05-18-2012, 01:51 AM   #2
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I'm curious as to where you will get a large supply of the "liquid cheese". Couldn't you make a cheese sauce and do the same thing?
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Old 05-18-2012, 02:51 AM   #3
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yeah, the cheese sauce is the key. what are you planning on using?

also, i kinda like the crispy and crunchy edges, top, and corners. are you planning on keeping it mostly very moist with no crust?

with the method you've mentioned, you'd have to bake it at really high temp, like the 700 degrees of a pizza ovento get a crust without overcooking it.
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Old 05-18-2012, 03:16 AM   #4
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Never tried the packages but it should work. Personally I would have just made a very cheesy sauce, mixed it with the cooked macaroni. Put it into ovenproof dishes, topped with seasoned bread crumbs and grated cheese for a crunchy topping and just baked them for 30 mins before serving. That way the unbaked pasta can be made the day before and refrigerated till needed.
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Old 05-18-2012, 03:32 AM   #5
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I would go with the traditional baked mac and cheese, if you have the oven to bake it in.

Be careful of cooking the pasta al dente, the partially cooked pasta may absorb a great deal of liquid from your sauce.

Also you will need to be careful with bagging large quantities of precooked pasta, you may end up with one giant noodle.

I would begin experimenting before the banquet and try various ways of doing this. Better that your family gets tired of mac and cheese than having 150 grumpy diners on your case!

Good luck and keep us posted!
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Old 05-18-2012, 07:02 AM   #6
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NO BAKING ... there is no time!

and no oven onsite. I'll be transporting this from a half hour away. I've got serve this out of a roaster or a slow cooker.

We cook the spaghetti ahead of time for our spaghetti supper (band fundraiser) and put it in quart size ziplock bags for reheating, so pre-cooking the pasta doesn't really concern me.

The cheese sauce I was planning to use comes in 10 pound cans at Wal-Mart. It's like cheese whiz. The consistency seems very close to the packs in the "Velveeta Shells and Cheese" box.

We can't sit around my house eating mac anc cheese every night to try this out ... we are both former Nutri-system success stories and we don't eat pasta much, especially not smothered in cheese!

Just wondered if anyone else had ever tried this. I'm going to check the can today at Wal-Mart and see if they've been kind enough to put a recipe on there!
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Old 05-18-2012, 01:41 PM   #7
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After reading your last post Tonia, there's no reason to think your plan wouldn't work.

Good luck and welcome to DC. We're all itching to tell you how to make a fantastic homemade cheese sauce for future personal reference.
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Old 05-18-2012, 01:44 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonia39 View Post
and no oven onsite. I'll be transporting this from a half hour away. I've got serve this out of a roaster or a slow cooker.

We cook the spaghetti ahead of time for our spaghetti supper (band fundraiser) and put it in quart size ziplock bags for reheating, so pre-cooking the pasta doesn't really concern me.

The cheese sauce I was planning to use comes in 10 pound cans at Wal-Mart. It's like cheese whiz. The consistency seems very close to the packs in the "Velveeta Shells and Cheese" box.

We can't sit around my house eating mac anc cheese every night to try this out ... we are both former Nutri-system success stories and we don't eat pasta much, especially not smothered in cheese!

Just wondered if anyone else had ever tried this. I'm going to check the can today at Wal-Mart and see if they've been kind enough to put a recipe on there!
Is this a fundraising dinner? I ask because if I were paying for mac and cheese, I'd expect homemade sauce.
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