Posts Tagged ‘mac and cheese’

Urban Plates

Posted: 1st November 2019 by doomthings in The Foodening
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Montgomery Mall Food Court, Bethesda Maryland

Urban Plates is a cafeteria-style “good food fast” place perfect for a food court setting.  The staff are delightful and the line is quick!

Macaroni and Cheese

The texture of the cheese reminded me of the mac and cheese my mom used to make.  It feels creamy with a hint of flour base with the tang of extra sharp cheddar.  The cheese-to-pasta ratio is a little high than other mac and cheese dishes in this blog, but I personally have no issues with that!

What’s Up

It may not be as creamy as Panera Bread’s Vermont cheddar mac but the taste of home and delicious cheddar tang is excellent. Their mac and cheese is actually a side, not a main dish, but works all by itself nonetheless.

Pret A Manger

Posted: 14th September 2019 by doomthings in The Foodening
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Delaware House Travel Plaza, Newark, DE

The travel plazas up and down route 95 on the east coast are great! They can be accessed from either direction, have clean bathrooms, gas stations, and a plethora of food options. This is where I came across Pret A Manger.

Hot Chocolate

It was chocolate water and with that bitter cocoa feel like Starbucks hot chocolate but without actual flavor.  Needs salt.

I found at the end of the drink that they didn’t stir all the chocolate in, from the mound of chocolate goo at the bottom, so perhaps it was actually better? Lesson learned, always re-stir your hot chocolate!

Spinach and Tomato Mac and Cheese

It was super creamy, made with small tube pasta, whole grape tomatoes, and lines of spinach.  Very flavorful. I destroyed it before I could take a picture, soooo, here’s the empty box.

What’s Up

Because the hot chocolate wasn’t stirred up all the way, the jury is still out on whether it would still taste like chocolate water. The Mac and cheese, however, was delicious and I look forward to coming across another Pret A Manger cuz that is definitely what I’ll be ordering!

Newk’s Eatery

Posted: 14th September 2019 by doomthings in The Foodening
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Sterling, Virginia

This place is a chain that has a very similar model to Panera Bread, but with an updated fresh look and apparently a bunch of complimentary toppings, which we didn’t use. The one we went to had just opened, so one of the staff handed out menus while we waited in line to order. That may or may not continue to be a thing in the future.

I made the mistake of getting both a grilled cheese and macaroni and cheese.  But they had a two-fer deal (like Panera Bread) so I was doomed at the start. Now I have the tummy rumblin’s.  But FOR SCIENCE!

Pimiento Cheese Sandwich

It was basically a grilled cheese, but with pimiento cheese and a slice of tomato sandwiched (PUN!) between two very Panera Bread-like slices of sourdough.

It was flavorful, but very greasy. So much so that it dripped out of the sandwich by itself, and sometimes with some dripping cheese as well. Honestly, the downfall of this sandwich is it has a little too much cheese, if there even is such a thing. Even as a cheese fiend, I know when my body has had enough cheese. I will fight you.

5 Cheese Mac and Cheese

Very creamy but has that slight chemically taste similar to other chain style restaurants.  Also a little on the greasy side, but still hit the spot.

What’s up

I probably wouldn’t eat the sandwich again.  It’s not bad, and is interesting, but the greasiness unsettled my innards and they don’t stand out.  The mac and cheese, on the other hand, won me over with it’s creaminess.

I love macaroni and cheese.  Probably too much.  It’s my go-to dinner when my husband is on travel (well, that and Cheerios) and I still will eat the boxed stuff.  So to counter the inevitable rise in my cholesterol, I embarked on a mission to find a mac and cheese I could eat more frequently, without the infusion of cheese into my bloodstream.  That led to using cauliflower, which I always have a craving for because my husband doesn’t like it.  This pureed cauliflower cheese sauce was a perfect way to feed my craving and eat my favorite food all at once.

Mac and Cauliflower Cheese Bake | doomthings

Ingredients (adapted from Runner’s World):

  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cups cauliflower florets
  • 2-3 cups broccoli florets
  • 8 oz pasta of choice (elbows or shells are the best)
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese (cheddar, Gruyère, Emmental, or a mix)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard (I just used regular spicy brown mustard)
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs


  1. Cook cauliflower in boiling water for up to 25 minutes or until tender.
  2. Cook pasta for 5 minutes, drain, and place in greased 9in-square baking dish.
  3. Warm vegetable/chicken stock with bay leaves on medium-low heat for 5 minutes, then remove bay leaves.
  4. Process cauliflower and stock in a food processor with cheese, oil, mustard, and nutmeg.  (Work in batches if you have to).
  5. Pour sauce over pasta evenly in the dish and mix in broccoli.
  6. Top with parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees F.

I will be making this again, not only because it was yum (and I didn’t feel like I had just downed a pound a cheese), but because I didn’t use all of the stock and I think if I had, it would have been creamier.  The texture reminded me a little of soft grits.  This could have been due to not boiling the cauliflower long enough, using less stock, or not pureeing it enough.  Less creamy aside, the flavor was very good even without the use of cream charger.  I mixed in some of the parmesan to the sauce which gave it an extra flavor kick.    Also, it makes a good leftover. +10 planning