Are you a mac and cheese lover? If so, you’re in for a treat! This comprehensive guide will explore the beloved OK Cafe Mac and Cheese recipe.
This indulgent dish is a favorite among kids and adults, thanks to its rich and creamy texture, three-cheese blend, and a secret ingredient that sets it apart.
Whether you want to recreate this recipe at home or learn more about its origins and preparation, this guide has covered you.
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Mac and Cheese is a timeless classic that brings comfort and joy to countless people worldwide.
The OK Cafe Mac and Cheese recipe takes this beloved dish to a new level, combining three delicious cheeses and a unique twist: ranch salad dressing mix.
The result is a creamy, flavorful, and utterly satisfying mac and cheese that will leave you craving more.
In this guide, we will delve into the details of this iconic recipe, including its history, ingredients, step-by-step instructions, and tips for achieving the perfect mac and cheese every time.
Whether you’re a seasoned home cook or a beginner in the kitchen, this guide will provide you with all the information you need to create a mac and cheese masterpiece.
The OK Cafe Mac and Cheese recipe is known for its rich and creamy texture, thanks to combining different cheeses: sharp cheddar, Monterey Jack, and Parmesan.
These cheeses melt together beautifully to create a velvety sauce that coats the macaroni perfectly.
The ranch salad dressing mix adds a unique flavor that separates this mac and cheese.
- Serves: 6
- Hands-On Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour and 0 minutes
- 8 ounces of elbow macaroni
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 tablespoon dry ranch salad dressing mix
- 10 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 5 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, grated
- 5 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
The OK Cafe Mac and Cheese recipe has its roots in the iconic OK Cafe in Atlanta, Georgia. This beloved Southern restaurant has been serving classic comfort food since 1987, and mac and cheese is one of their most popular dishes.
The exact origins of the recipe have yet to be widely known, but it has become a staple on the OK Cafe menu over the years.
With its three-cheese blend and the addition of ranch salad dressing mix, the OK Cafe Mac and Cheese stands out as a unique and flavorful rendition of this classic dish.
You’ll need critical ingredients to recreate the OK Cafe Mac and Cheese at home. Let’s look at each component and explore possible substitutions if needed.
The foundation of any mac and cheese recipe is the pasta and the OK Cafe Mac and Cheese calls for elbow macaroni.
This variety of pasta is perfect for capturing the cheesy sauce in its nooks and crannies. If you don’t have elbow macaroni, substitute it with other small pasta shapes like shells, cavatappi, or penne.
Eggs bind the mac and cheese together and give it a creamy texture. They also add richness to the dish.
If you have an egg allergy or prefer an egg-free version, you can omit the eggs from the recipe. However, remember that the final result may be slightly less creamy.
The combination of whole milk, half and half, and heavy cream gives the OK Cafe Mac and Cheese its luscious and velvety texture.
If you’re looking for a lighter version, you can use low-fat milk or substitute the heavy cream with additional half and half.
The show’s star in the OK Cafe Mac and Cheese is undoubtedly the cheese.
The recipe calls for a blend of sharp cheddar, Monterey Jack, and Parmesan cheeses.
These three cheeses bring the dish a perfect balance of flavor and meltability. If you prefer a milder taste, use mild cheddar or reduce the amount of cayenne pepper.
The secret ingredient in the OK Cafe Mac and Cheese is the dry ranch salad dressing mix.
This unexpected addition adds a tangy and herby flavor profile that complements the richness of the cheeses.
If you don’t have ranch salad dressing mix, you can create your blend using herbs like dill, parsley, garlic powder, and onion powder.
Now that we’ve covered the ingredients let’s dive into the step-by-step instructions for making the OK Cafe Mac and Cheese.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cook the macaroni according to package directions, then drain and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs. Add the whole milk, half and half, heavy cream, chopped fresh parsley, sugar, cayenne pepper, sea salt, and dry ranch salad dressing mix. Mix until well blended.
- Add the cooked macaroni, sharp cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, and grated Parmesan cheese to the egg mixture. Mix until fully incorporated.
- Pour the mac and cheese mixture into a large baking dish.
- Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Serve the OK Cafe Mac and Cheese warm, and enjoy!
Creating the perfect mac and cheese requires a few tips and tricks to elevate your dish to the next level.
Here are some expert suggestions to consider when making the OK Cafe Mac and Cheese:
- Don’t overcook the pasta: Cook the macaroni until it is al dente, as it will continue to cook in the oven. Overcooked pasta can become mushy and affect the texture of the final dish.
- Grate your cheese: Pre-packaged grated cheese often contains additives that can affect the melting properties. For the best results, grate your cheese from blocks of sharp cheddar, Monterey Jack, and Parmesan.
- Experiment with additional seasonings: While the OK Cafe Mac and Cheese recipe is delicious, you can add your personal touch by incorporating other herbs. Consider spices like paprika, garlic powder, or mustard powder to enhance the flavor profile.
- Customize with mix-ins: If you’re feeling adventurous, add mix-ins to your mac and cheese. Popular options include cooked bacon, sautéed onions, diced tomatoes, or even chopped jalapeños for a spicy kick.
- Let it rest before serving: Allow the mac and cheese to rest for a few minutes after removing it from the oven. This will help the flavors meld together, and the sauce will thicken slightly.
The OK Cafe Mac and Cheese is undeniably indulgent, but knowing the nutritional information is always good.
Here’s an approximate breakdown per serving:
- Calories: 661
- Fat: 43 grams
- Protein: 36 grams
- Carbohydrates: 32 grams
- Fiber: 1 gram
- Cholesterol: 193 milligrams
- Sodium: 1,232 milligrams
These values may vary depending on the brands and ingredients used. Adjustments can be made to suit dietary restrictions or preferences.
The OK Cafe Mac and Cheese has garnered rave reviews from restaurant-goers and home cooks alike.
Its creamy texture, flavorful cheese blend, and the addition of ranch dressing mix make it a standout dish.
Here are some reviews and variations to consider:
- “This mac and cheese recipe is a game-changer! The combination of cheeses and the ranch dressing mix takes it to a new level of deliciousness.” – Sarah, OK Cafe regular.
- “I’ve made this mac and cheese several times, and it’s always a hit. Sometimes I like to add a sprinkle of crispy breadcrumbs on top for an extra crunch.” – Mark, home cook.
- Spicy Mac and Cheese: Add diced jalapeños or a dash of hot sauce for a spicy twist.
- Bacon Lover’s Mac and Cheese: Fry up some bacon and crumble it into the mac and cheese for a smoky and savory flavor.
- Veggie Mac and Cheese: Add sautéed mushrooms, spinach, or roasted red peppers to incorporate more vegetables into the dish.
You’ll enjoy exploring other famous recipes if you’re a mac and cheese enthusiast. Here are some noteworthy recipes from different sources:
- Famous Dave’s Mac and Cheese: A mouthwatering mac and cheese recipe from the renowned Famous Dave’s restaurant chain.
- Howard Johnson Mac and Cheese: A nostalgic recipe that pays homage to the classic Howard Johnson’s mac and cheese.
- Mary Mac’s Mac and Cheese: Experience the Southern comfort of Mary Mac’s famous mac and cheese.
- Rocky Carlos Mac and Cheese: A deliciously cheesy recipe inspired by the famous Rocky Carlos restaurant.
- San Giorgio Mac and Cheese: Enjoy a classic mac and cheese recipe featuring San Giorgio pasta.
- Sylvia’s Mac and Cheese: Indulge in Sylvia’s soulful mac and cheese recipe straight from her renowned Harlem restaurant.
- Ukrop’s Mac and Cheese: Discover Ukrop’s famous mac and cheese, a beloved dish from the iconic Richmond grocery store.
- 6 Cheese Mac and Cheese: Elevate your mac and cheese game with this six-cheese blend recipe.
- Bubba Gump Shrimp Mac and Cheese: Combine the best of both worlds with this seafood-inspired mac and cheese recipe from Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
- MF DOOM Mac and Cheese: A unique twist on mac and cheese inspired by the legendary rapper MF DOOM.
- Anthony’s Mac and Cheese: Try Anthony’s flavorful mac and cheese recipe, bursting with cheesy goodness.
- Firehouse Mac and Cheese: Heat things with this fiery mac and cheese recipe inspired by firehouse cooking.
In conclusion, the OK Cafe Mac and Cheese recipe is a true gem among mac and cheese lovers.
Its creamy texture, three-cheese blend, and the unexpected addition of ranch salad dressing make it a must-try dish.
Whether you’re recreating this recipe at home or exploring other famous mac and cheese variations, you’re in for a treat.
So, gather your ingredients, follow the step-by-step instructions, and indulge in the ultimate comfort food experience with OK Cafe Mac and Cheese.