How did you spend your 4th of July? I was tempted to head into the city to view the fireworks, but I spent a low-key day at my in-laws house. It was definitely the better choice, because we ended up seeing the fireworks outside of the kids’ bedroom window that night anyway!
Sean and Michael rode their scooters and played touch football with Reggie and me.
After lunch, the kids put on their swim trunks and ran around in the sprinkler before we went home.
It was sweet to see the kids interacting with their grandparents. (It was especially cute when Reggie’s father tried to ride Michael’s scooter.) I also really appreciate how my in-laws have constantly made me feel like a part of their family. My father-in-law usually does most of the cooking at their home, so I often ask him what I can bring when we come over. For Father’s Day, I had made cabbage, baked macaroni and cheese and barbecue meatloaf. For the Fourth, Reggie was grilling, so the meat was covered. (I will share my hamburger recipe on another post. Inspired by the hamburgers that my friend Jeni makes for her German husband, they are moist and delicious!) Anyway, my father-in-law and mother-in-law had enjoyed the cabbage and the mac and cheese from Father’s Day so much that it was requested again.
My father-in-law makes me laugh, because he thinks that I live this glamorous life – hobnobbing with celebrities and such. When my husband mentioned that my baked macaroni and cheese recipe was a variation of one that was made by Shaunie O’Neal (Shaq’s ex-wife), he assumed that she had given it to me at a blogger event. Nothing could be less true. I just found it in the June 2011 edition of Ebony magazine (page 120). Some people have issues with celebrities sharing recipes and such. Personally, I could care less where a recipe originates…as long as the resulting food is tasty. This one is. Everyone who has tasted it has enjoyed it. Reggie isn’t even a big mac and cheese fan and he loves it. Even Sean likes it! As my husband and father-in-law noted, “Shaq is a big dude. I’m sure that Shaunie does know how to cook!”
Here’s my updated version of Shaunie’s recipe. I just added more cheese and consolidated a couple of steps so that I wouldn’t have to wash extra dishes!
Baked Macaroni and Cheese Recipe
Adapted from June 2011 issue of Ebony
• 2 tbsps butter (1 tbsp to butter casserole dish, 1 tbsp to dot mac & cheese)
• 1 tbsp vegetable oil
• 1 1b elbow macaroni
• 1 stick butter (room temperature)
• 2 cups shredded mild Cheddar cheese
• 2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
• 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
• 1 pint half-and-half
• 2 lightly beaten large eggs
• Seasoned salt and black pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 2 ½ quart baking dish with 1 tablespoon of butter.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over a high flame. When the water is boiled, add the vegetable oil and elbow macaroni. Follow the directions on the macaroni box in order to cook the macaroni until it just becomes tender (approximately 7 minutes). Drain the macaroni in a strainer. (Don’t rinse!)
3. While the macaroni is cooking, mix all three shredded cheeses together in a medium bowl.
4. Return the cooked macaroni to the empty large pot. Stir in the stick of butter, the half-and-half, eggs, salt, pepper and 4 cups of the cheese mixture.
5. Pour the mixture into the baking dish. Sprinkle the last cup of cheese and “dot” the last tablespoon of butter on top.
6. Bake the macaroni and cheese until it bubbles around the edges (approximately 35 minutes).