Burgers & Mac n' Cheese

I absolutely love Cook's Illustrated magazine. If you enjoy cooking, this is THE subscription magazine to get. They don't have any advertisements, so it is 100% devoted to food. Sign up here: The Best Cooking Magazine You'll Ever Find. Ever . They also run a PBS show called "America's Test Kitchen." Add it to your Tivo now.

Anyway, they shared a recipe for Stove Top Mac & Cheese that utilized cheddar and evaporated milk that worked out pretty decently. I built on their foundation and added some roasted garlic, truffle oil and then topped it with flavorful sea salt.

If you haven't stepped outside regular iodized salt, you need to check out all of the amazing alternatives. Grey salt, coral salt, smoked salt, chardonnay salt, Fleur de Sel, truffle salt. The list could go on and on and each is amazing in its own right.

Anyway, here are the ingredients for the mac&cheese (4-6 servings, depending on how bad your Monday was):

  • 1 Can of Evaporated milk
  • 10 oz grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 head of roasted garlic: (slice off the top of the garlic head, drizzle with olive oil, wrap in tin foil and then roast in the oven at 300 degrees for an hour and a half or until the garlic is soft and golden
  • 1 box macaroni (I used mini-shells that I found at the dollar store, but elbow or bowtie work well too)
  • 1 teaspoon truffle oil (or as much as you're craving)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 egg
  • S&P
  1. Cook the pasta per the instructions on the box and drain (do not rinse). Place the macaroni back in the pot.
  2. In a bowl, combine the egg, milk, salt and pepper
  3. Over medium heat, melt 2 Tbsp of the butter into the pasta and then add in the egg/milk mixture.
  4. Stir in the cheese until incorporated.
  5. Mix in the roasted garlic.
  6. Add truffle oil (always add this at the last moment before serving) to taste and adjust S&P as necessary.
You can also add any of the following ingredients to "spice things up":

  • Hot sauce
  • Dry Mustard
  • Fresh herbs (thyme, sage and chives all work nicely)
  • chopped mushrooms
  • steamed broccoli florets
  • sun dried tomatoes
  • cooked and chopped bacon
  • sauteed shallots
  • additional cheeses: Parmeggiano-Reggiano, Fontina, Gruyere, Pecorino, etc.
The reason this recipe uses condensed milk versus regular whole milk is because it allows for the cheese to melt with a less "grainy" consistency. If you were doing a baked mac&cheese, you will find it's better to start with a bechamel sauce. More on that in a future post.

Here's what I did for the burgers:

  • ground beef, separated into ice-cream scoop's worth of little balls (like meatballs)
  • american cheese
  • thinly-sliced onions
  • potato rolls (in my case, we didn't have any at the market, so I simply used dinner rolls
  1. Warm a skillet over medium-low heat.
  2. Place the "meatballs" in the skillet and then top with onions and pat down to form patties (see picture below).
  3. When they have been in the pan for 4.5 minutes (or just until they start to get cooked on the bottom), flip them over so that the meat is resting in a sea of onions, then set a piece of cheese (or 3) on the meat, place the buns (sliced, top over the bottom) on the top and let cook for another 3 minutes or so.
  4. Once they appear done, simply pull the top of the bun off and then slide the onions, burger, cheese and bottom bun into a full burger form. The cheesy goodness that has accumulated will seep into the bun and render it moist and delicious.
Some helpful hints to keep in mind ...
  • I was consuming some "adult beverages" whilst cooking this meal. Thus, I wasn't paying as much attention to the burgers as I should have been. If your pan is too hot, the burgers can get dried out. The idea is too almost "steam" them in the pan. They turn out amazingly tender and moist this way. And because they are so small, they cook quickly.
  • Let the ground beef sit out for a little while to get to room temperature. This makes the fat in the beef melt deliciously into the burger.
  • The best bread to use is the following: Martin's Potato Rolls. That's right, they have the website on "Potato Rolls." You know they're legit.
The way that the grill will caramelize the onions while cooking the beef is oustandingly amazing. However, as much as these "at home version" members of the White Manna fan-club can be satisfying, nothing, and I mean NOTHING can compare to the real deal. So get your ass down to Hackensack for the ultimate experience in burgers.

Peace, love and grill grease,


  1. i think it's hysterical that you and I both cooked stuffed shells last week and mac and cheese this week!!! great minds. :) xo

  2. seriously my new fav comfort food ever!!!!! xoxo

  3. MMm, that sounds really yummy! Thanks for posting, I'm addicted to my friends blogs; it makes me feel like I'm hanging out with you!

  4. I heart mac and cheese but I am too lazy to make it from scratch. Have you ever had it from PaddyMac?