All manner of cheeses are found in the 99c only Store. California Monterey Jack, European Swiss, Netherlands Tilberg, Austrian "Alps," American style cheddar and mozzarella have been found in the deli cold case by The 99 Cent Chef. Not that all these show up every time a visit is made - but at least once a month the Chef lucks out and finds a good deal. The Chef always picks up a few packages to freeze and use at a later time. If you are melting the cheese, freezing does no harm. While he is no "affineur," the fromage purchased in 99c only Stores has served the Chef well indeed, from taco truck shrimp quesadillas to rainy day grilled cheese sandwiches, omelets to pastas and of course, oven baked macaroni and cheese. The Chef kicks up this ultimate comfort entree a notch by blending three different cheeses. Adding an intense European Swiss, or Tilberg, gives a typical mac and cheese extra bite. So always peruse the deli case for cheese deals, but beware of "vegetable oil" based cheese -- even The 99 Chef Chef has standards!
16 oz. package 99.99 cent elbow macaroni (substitute rigatoni or penne tube pasta to impress)
8 oz. each of 99.99 cent cheddar, swiss, and mozzarella (or any type you can find)
2 tablespoons flour
2 1/2 cups milk (whole or 2%)
1/2 cup 99.99 cent white wine (or pasta water)
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard or 1 tsp. of dried mustard
pepper to taste (cheese has enough salt already)
Extra ingredient -- top with one cup of 99.99 cent bread crumbs
Set aside about a 1/2 cup of extra cheese as topping. In a pot, heat flour and slowly whisk in milk then add cheese, stirring until melted, about 15 minutes. In another pot, boil macaroni 5-8 minutes until al dente; drain and set aside. In a large casserole dish mix macaroni and melted cheese mixture and sprinkle extra cheese over dish. Bake uncovered for 20 - 30 minutes at 350 degrees until top is golden brown (cooked covered half the time for a more creamy version). Remove from oven when done and allow to stand for 5 minutes as sauce thickens. *If too dry, make a split down the middle and pour in a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of milk.
Next up is a festive holiday video " Eggnog and Trimming the Tree". The Chef invites you to sample his homemade spiked concoction. Using fresh ingredients and airline bottles of booze, this budget mixologist sacrifices his sobriety to bring you a fresh cocktail recipe, segueing into a tipsy tree trimming.