Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Waffling Leftovers: Mac and Cheese

Hopefully by now you know the deal.  I love to take leftovers and re-heat them in a non-traditional way: my waffle iron.  Hence, my "Waffling Leftovers" series was born, where each week I ask the question, "Will it waffle?", when referring to some kind of basic leftover.

After last week's quasi-success with the chorizo wrapped pesto pasta and my earlier success with leftover lasagna, it was time to take on another pasta dish, this one, a classic: mac and cheese.

Will it waffle?  Yes, but, like the pesto pasta, it takes a little finesse, requiring some kind of crusting, the right size chunk, and, the right temperature to start.  I don't have the photo evidence of my first few attempts, but, I assure you, they had no structural integrity and were quite the mess.  Here we have my subsequent attempts, and eventual, success.
Corn Flakes + Mac and Cheese.
  1. Leftover mac and cheese (thick slab, cold, and solid)
  2. Cornflakes (crushed)
You need to start with a thick, cold brick of leftover mac and cheese.  Too thin of a slice, and it falls apart.  Start with it warm, or even room temperature, and it falls apart.

So, do not do as pictured above!  Instead, take a huge slab of the most unappealing solid mass of mac and cheese, and go from there.  Believe me.  I tried many other ways, and, they all fail.
Crusted "patty".
  1. Crush cornflakes.
  2. Coat mac and cheese in crusted cornflakes.
  3. WAFFLE (aka, insert into waffle iron).
I tried a number of techniques, but I definitely recommend crusting.  I used crushed cornflakes, but I'm sure breadcrumbs would also work.  Without the crust, it didn't get quite as crispy on the outside, and broke apart easily.
Waffled Jumble.
This version started with the mac and cheese pictured above (you know, where I tell you not to do that?  This is why).  It wasn't thick enough, or chilled enough.

It got beautifully crispy on the outside, but had no structural integrity, and totally fell apart.  Tasty, but it was basically just like regular mac and cheese, with a few more crunchy bits than normal.
 Success! Leftover Mac and Cheese with Cornflake Crust Waffle.
This version used a thick solid mass.  It held together perfectly.  It stayed creamy and moist on the inside, crispy on the outside.  Totally delicious, and a complete success.

Both Ojan and I agreed that this is better than just reheating mac and cheese in any other way (toaster oven, microwave, stovetop, mixing in fresh milk or cheese, etc).

Next time, I think I'd also do a cheese sauce to drizzle over it, like a fondue-syrup!
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