The NHL season has already begun but tonight, for the hockey fans out there, is the unofficial beginning of the real hockey viewing season as it’s the first Saturday night transmission of Hockey Night in Canada.
Regular readers will know that I’m a huge hockey fan and that my heart belongs to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
I’ll give you a moment to make the usual assortment of Leafs’ jokes.
Okay, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, I’m happy to announce that in honour of this season’s first HNIC broadcast, Peabody of Culinary Concoctions by Peabody and Mary of The Sour Dough have joined me in preparing a hockey fan’s meal to be enjoyed throughout the game.
Mary is in charge of Appetizers, I’m in charge of the Main and Peabody, of course, is in charge of Dessert.
This idea came about as a result of several different conversations between both Mary and Peabody and myself. Peabody, of course, is my soulmate in both baking and hockey. I never have to worry that she won’t understand when I gripe about why people don’t like to bake and she totally hears my pain when it comes to the Leafs.
Mary and I share an undying love for Steve Yzerman. Enough said.
So what am I bringing to the HNIC potluck? Good ol’ baked macaroni and cheese! On Saturday nights, when the hockey game is on, I do not want to be in the kitchen all night. I do not want to be cleaning up for hours. I do not want to be anywhere but in front of the television and baked macaroni and cheese is the perfect dish. You can make it earlier in the day and just heat it up when you’re ready to eat (first intermission, after Coach’s Corner).
Baked macaroni and cheese is a very easy dish. It essentially consists of a cheese sauce, macaroni and a breadcrumb topping. You can add anything you like to those basics from ham to mushrooms to tomatoes. I’m a bit of a mac and cheese purist so I don’t add anything to my dish but you are certainly welcome to experiment.
The recipe that I use originally comes from Fine Cooking. The only difference in my version is that I don’t use Tabasco or Worcestershire sauce, and I don’t use a sharp white cheddar, but rather a sharp yellow cheddar. I also bake the macaroni and cheese in smaller containers that I can freeze so that whenever I have the craving for mac and cheese I can just defrost and warm it in the oven.
Have a good game, everyone. Go Leafs Go!