How to Make Macaroni & Cheese Without a Recipe

Ah, macaroni and cheese. How do we love thee? Let us count the ways: We love you from a box, preferably in SpongeBob or superhero shapes. We love Grandma’s homemade version that she plunked down on the Thanksgiving table, right next to the green bean c…

Ah, macaroni and cheese. How do we love thee? Let us count the ways: We love you from a box, preferably in SpongeBob or superhero shapes. We love Grandma's homemade version that she plunked down on the Thanksgiving table, right next to the green bean casserole. And don't tell me I'm the only one with a weak spot for the Velveeta version where you squeeze neon-orange goo out of a silver packet onto your shells, best consumed while watching The Magic Schoolbus. Haters may hate—that stuff was (and, by all accounts, still is) delicious.

Let me back up: For as long as I can remember, macaroni and cheese was my birthday dinner. My mother made Martha Stewart's version, and I would always sneak some of the butter-drenched croutons before we all sat down to dig in. Over the years, I adapted it to whatever whims and ingredients I had on hand and even started to make baked mac and cheese. Blue cheese and bacon? Sure. Greens and peas? That seems healthy. A topping of crumbled Cheetos? Yes, I did—and yes, it was just as good as you imagine.

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Every Good Holiday Party Needs Latkes

I am known for throwing overly ambitious dinner parties. Sometimes they work out really well—usually when my guests are smart and bring lots of beer and a hefty salad. Sometimes they do not, and I’m pretty sure everyone ends up going throug…

I am known for throwing overly ambitious dinner parties. Sometimes they work out really well—usually when my guests are smart and bring lots of beer and a hefty salad. Sometimes they do not, and I’m pretty sure everyone ends up going through McDonald’s drive-thru when they leave my house.

My problem is that my imagination often outpaces my organization skills, which, I'll be honest, were never really that strong to begin with. 

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38 Sweet Potato Recipes That Bring All the Fall Feels

Sweet potatoes: they’re the tubers (well, really the morning glory) that never fail you. They go to bat in recipes both savory and sweet, transitioning seamlessly from airy soufflés to stick-to-your-rib chilis to toasty waffles (seriously, give them a …

Sweet potatoes: they're the tubers (well, really the morning glory) that never fail you. They go to bat in recipes both savory and sweet, transitioning seamlessly from airy soufflés to stick-to-your-rib chilis to toasty waffles (seriously, give them a go). Hearty, versatile, and colorful, sweet potatoes never fail to bring cheer and are just what you need to get through the wintry slush.

You probably have one or two in your pantry right now, lingering, ever hopeful, and ready to be your next dinner. Or dessert. Or breakfast! If you don't, now's the time to stock up, because we've got 38 recipes to keep in your back pocket—sweet, savory, and in-between—all winter long.

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34 Cream Cheese Recipes That Go Beyond Cheesecake

I often forget about cream cheese until I need it: A forlorn, toasted bagel begs for some schmear. A craving for cheesecake hits—and hits hard. A last-minute party demands a savory, creamy dip. Or it’s someone’s birthday who loves carrot cake (which, i…

I often forget about cream cheese until I need it: A forlorn, toasted bagel begs for some schmear. A craving for cheesecake hits—and hits hard. A last-minute party demands a savory, creamy dip. Or it's someone's birthday who loves carrot cake (which, in my experience, actually means that they love cream cheese frosting). It's then that I search my fridge for the telltale foil-wrapped bricks, building blocks for any tangy, rich dish worth its salt (or sugar).

Recently, however, as I was putting cream cheese on the shopping list, I started wondering: what exactly is cream cheese, anyway? Is it cheese? How is cream involved? And why is it so dang delicious? So I decided to investigate—and rounded up a few (okay, 34) of my favorite ways to use cream cheese (both sweet and savory), in the process.

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How to Brine Meat—& Why You Should Bother

Have you ever suffered the travesty that is a dry, tasteless chicken breast? Or tried to cut into a pork chop, only to be rewarded with a bicep workout and a rumbling stomach? Or chewed your way through a turkey that tastes like it might’ve been made o…

Have you ever suffered the travesty that is a dry, tasteless chicken breast? Or tried to cut into a pork chop, only to be rewarded with a bicep workout and a rumbling stomach? Or chewed your way through a turkey that tastes like it might've been made out of sand? We have, too. It was unpleasant. Thankfully, it never has to happen again—just harness the power of science, and you can brine your way to consistently better meat. Brining meat should happen at least 12 hours in advance of when you want to cook the meat and can be done with water, salt, and sugar or a dry brine using a variety of herbs and spices. Here's why it works, and how to use our brine recipes for everything from a Thanksgiving turkey to everyday cuts of meat.

Why Do You Brine Before Cooking?

Brining was originally used for food preservation in the pre-refrigeration era. However, there are two solid reasons why you should brine your meat in the 21st-century: flavor and texture. Brining infuses the meat with savory, finger-lickin' flavors, all while tenderizing it to butter-soft texture. So how does it work?

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Everything You Need to Know About Tangy, Floral Loquats

I have this thing for picking things off trees and eating them. The fruit calls to me. I can spot the first fig ripening on a tree or find a wee wild strawberry growing under a carpet of green.

I have this thing for picking things off trees and eating them. The fruit calls to me. I can spot the first fig ripening on a tree or find a wee wild strawberry growing under a carpet of green.

Photo by Catherine Lamb

So when I caught a glimmer of orange in a tree while biking around my hometown of Charleston, you’re damn right I screeched to a halt right then and there to investigate.

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What Food Was *Actually* Served at the First Thanksgiving

A few years ago, I made my inner history nerd unbelievably giddy and spent a few weeks digging in to one question: What was actually eaten at the first Thanksgiving? The results were surprising (no turkey?!), illuminating, and just plain curious. So le…

A few years ago, I made my inner history nerd unbelievably giddy and spent a few weeks digging in to one question: What was actually eaten at the first Thanksgiving? The results were surprising (no turkey?!), illuminating, and just plain curious. So leading up to November, I thought I'd give you something to chew on besides what's on your table. First, let's set the scene:

The modern Thanksgiving holiday is based off a festival shared by the pilgrims and the Wampanoag Native American tribe at Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts, in 1621. The feast purportedly celebrated the colonists’ first successful harvest in the New World. While modern Thanksgiving always lands on the fourth Thursday in November, the original went down sometime earlier in autumn, closer to harvest time.

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Our 31 Coziest Fall Pasta Recipes

The moment fall is declared, I immediately begin to crave pasta—and only pasta—for every meal. There’s something about the holy union of carbohydrates, creamy sauces, and earthy autumnal vegetables (hey squash, hello mushrooms, good to see you cauliflo…

The moment fall is declared, I immediately begin to crave pasta—and only pasta—for every meal. There's something about the holy union of carbohydrates, creamy sauces, and earthy autumnal vegetables (hey squash, hello mushrooms, good to see you cauliflower) interspersed with zingy cheese and sausage and subtle threads of nutmeg that make autumn the ideal season for pasta consumption.

Fall pasta dishes are just cozy, which I know is a much-overused term, but if the word cozy were ever to be manifested as a pasta, it would for sure be a cool-weather one, full of bubbly cheeses and vegetables and a few woody herbs. Possibly a brassica or two. No matter what they contain, fall pasta dishes must be warm, they must be hearty, and, above all, they must be deeply satisfying.

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How to Make Compote With Any Fruit You Have

Here at Food52, we love recipes—but do we always use them? Of course not. Because once you realize you don’t always need a recipe, you’ll make your favorite dishes a lot more often.
Today: Transform your season’s harvest into a simple, versa…

Here at Food52, we love recipes—but do we always use them? Of course not. Because once you realize you don't always need a recipe, you'll make your favorite dishes a lot more often.

Today: Transform your season's harvest into a simple, versatile compote, without fancy canning equipment—and without a recipe.

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A Highly Useful Guide to Storing Cheese

When it comes to cheese, sometimes our eyes are bigger than our stomachs. Ideally, you shouldn’t buy more cheese than you can consume in a few days. However, few of us have a strong enough will to resist the jewel-like beauties of the cheese aisle, des…

When it comes to cheese, sometimes our eyes are bigger than our stomachs. Ideally, you shouldn't buy more cheese than you can consume in a few days. However, few of us have a strong enough will to resist the jewel-like beauties of the cheese aisle, despite their often hefty price tag. One thing's for sure: If you're dropping a bundle on a bunch of cheeses, you better make sure to keep them as fresh as possible for as long as possible. 

The best method for storing cheese is exceptionally simple, but you'll want to keep a few tips in mind, depending on what type of cheese you're storing—from a pungent blue to a creamy Camembert. 

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