Macaroni and Mulled Cider: Woodbury Magazine Shares Favorite Holiday Recipes

Baked mac and cheese
Woodbury Magazine staff and board members share favorite holiday recipes.

Baked Mac and Cheese 
“This dish is the ultimate comfort food. Noodles. Cheese. And then more cheese. It’s the perfect Saturday night dinner after a day of winter fun. I make it in the morning before we head out for the ski slopes. When we walk in the door at the end of the day, I preheat the oven. It always warms up my family.” —Stacey Robertson, editorial advisory board member

  • 12 oz. large elbow macaroni
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbsp. flour
  • 3 cups hot (not boiling) milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 Tbsp. dry mustard
  • 14 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 6 oz. mild white cheese, such as Jack or Gouda, shredded
  • 3 oz. sharp blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cup dry bread crumbs such as Panko
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Cook pasta in a pot of rapidly boiling salted water until not quite tender. Drain and set aside. Preheat oven to 375 F°. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a heavy nonstick pan and sprinkle with flour. Cook for 2 minutes while stirring. Remove from heat and add the milk and bay leaf. Cook, stirring, over medium high heat until the sauce thickens, about 5 to 7 minutes. If there are lumps, remove the bay leaf and whisk. Remove from heat and season with salt, pepper, paprika and dry mustard. Reserve 3 ounces of cheddar, 3 ounces of Jack or Gouda, and 2 tablespoons of Parmesan. To the sauce, stir in remaining amounts of cheeses. Mix in onion and garlic, and set aside. In a small frying pan, heat 3 tablespoons of butter and combine with breadcrumbs. Set aside. In the bottom of a deep casserole dish, sprinkle 1 or 2 tablespoons of reserved cheeses. Next, layer 1/3 of the cooked macaroni noodles, then 1/3 of the cheese sauce and repeat these layers two more times, ending with the cheese sauce. Sprinkle remaining shredded cheeses on top. Finish with a layer of breadcrumbs. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the top is crispy and browned in spots.

Mulled Cider
“Mulled drinks—that are warmed and spiced—have existed in northern Europe since the Middle Ages, perfect for thawing out in front of the hearth on a frigid night. I make Norwegian eplegløgg (mulled apple cider) in a nod to my family’s heritage.” —Jennifer Pitterle, editor

  • 1/2 gallon apple cider (nonalcoholic)
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. star anise
  • 2 Tbsp. whole cloves
  • 6 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 cup fresh cranberries

Add the ingredients to a large pot on the stove, and cook on medium-high heat until it reaches a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 to 60 minutes. Serve warm. (If you prefer to steep the spices instead, put them in a teabag or filter before adding them to the pot.)