Making the 'World's Best Mac and Cheese' at Home Is Easier Than You Think

iStock
iStock

Many people's experience cooking mac and cheese is limited to pasta from a box and cheese powder from the enclosed packet. But settling for the pre-packaged stuff isn't the only way to enjoy crave-worthy mac and cheese at home. This recipe shared on Martha Stewart's website proves that you don't need a culinary degree to make some of the best mac and cheese of your life.

This recipe was originally published in Kurt Beecher Dammeier's cookbook Pure Flavor. To start cooking it, you'll need 1/4 cup of grated Gruyere cheese, 1/4 cup of grated cheddar, 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of chipotle-chile powder, butter or oil for greasing the baking dish, 6 ounces of the short pasta of your choice, and 2 cups of Beecher's Flagship Cheese Sauce. The recipe for the cheese sauce includes jack and cheddar, bringing the cheese total up to three. It also provides the mac and cheese with its all-important creaminess.

Once your ingredients are assembled, grease an 8-inch baking dish, preheat your oven to 350°F, and bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and take it off the heat about two minutes sooner than the recommended cooking time. Strain the pasta, rinse under cold water, and strain out any excess water.

When the pasta is cool, stir it with the cheese sauce and add it to the baking dish. Top it with the grated cheeses and chile powder and bake uncovered for about 20 minutes. Once the top has browned slightly, pull it out of the oven and allow it to sit for about five minutes before digging in.

If you're teaching yourself how to cook at home, memorizing a few super-simple staple recipes is a good place to start. After mastering mac, try this pasta sauce recipe from Italian cooking icon Marcella Hazan that takes only three ingredients and less than an hour to make.

[h/t Martha Stewart]

KFC's New Firelog Makes Your House Smell Like Fried Chicken

KFC
KFC

The classic yule log has received updates from Star Wars, Nick Offerman, and Lil Bub over the years. This holiday season, why not stoke your fireplace with a log from the folks at KFC? As KRON reports, the fast food chain has produced its own firelog that releases the scent of Kentucky fried chicken when ignited.

The KFC 11 Herbs and Spices log is the best way to fill your house with delectable fried chicken smells without ordering takeout. Made in collaboration with Enviro-Log, it contains 100 percent-recycled materials and burns for up to three hours. KFC warns buyers that burning the log "may result in a craving for fried chicken," and that it "may attract bears or neighbors who are hungry." Despite the mouthwatering aroma, the KFC firelog is not safe to eat.

KFC and Christmas may seem like an odd pairing, but it's an annual holiday tradition in other parts of the world. In Japan, KFC has been a Christmastime staple for decades, with customers placing orders for buckets of "Christmas chicken" months ahead of the holiday.

The KFC log went on sale for $19 on Thursday, December 14, and it's already sold out from the online store, but keep checking back to see if they've restocked them.

It likely won't be the last scented novelty product we see from the brand: KFC has previously released a candle, nail polish, and sunscreen all made to smell like its famous fried bird.

[h/t KRON]

Where to Score Free Treats For National Cupcake Day

iStock.com/RuthBlack
iStock.com/RuthBlack

December is a magical time of year, and not just because of all the winter holidays. A few days on the calendar this month cater to those of us with a sweet tooth, and we can’t say we’re complaining. National Cookie Day fell on December 4, followed by National Brownie Day on December 8, and we still have National Cupcake Day to look forward to tomorrow, December 15. Because if you’re already planning to indulge in Christmas cookies and cake, why not go all out?

The icing on the cake is that a few bakeries across the country will be handing out free cupcakes tomorrow. Sprinkles Cupcakes will be giving away a limited edition strawberry cupcake with rainbow sprinkles to the first 100 visitors at each of its bakeries, which are located in California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Illinois, Florida, New York, and Washington, D.C. The bakery will also be doing “impromptu cupcake drop-offs” around New York City tomorrow.

Baked by Melissa also promises customers a free cupcake of their choosing at any of its 14 outlets in the New York City region, according to Metro. The company will also post information about a cupcake giveaway to its Instagram page tomorrow, and you can participate by tagging a friend in the comments. Two winners will receive a “Superstar” pack of 50 cupcakes.

If you happen to live in Cleveland, LaBella Cupcakes is taking a unique approach to the holiday and launching a scavenger hunt at 10 a.m. tomorrow. It will take participants to 10 historic locations around the city, and the person who solves the clues the fastest will take home a dozen free cupcakes. Check out the company's Instagram and Facebook pages for more details. 

There’s also a chance one of your local, non-chain bakeries will be hosting a promotion, so it’s worth visiting their website or social media pages to see if there are some freebies you can take advantage of. 

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