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Recipe of the day:macaroni and cheese

With macaroni and cheese, feel free to experiment

With macaroni and cheese, feel free to experiment

July 16, 2009|By JUDY STARK/St. Petersburg Times

WHO: Ebonie Aice, 33, a stylist at Simply Raw salon on Busch Boulevard, Tampa.

WHAT: Macaroni and cheese.

ABOUT THE RECIPE: "It's very rich," Aice says. "I only make it on special occasions," along with other favorites like oxtails and candied yams. "It's for those occasions when you're not watching your weight or your figure. But it's good! I want you to eat it!" Family members suffer from high blood pressure, so she avoids cooking with a lot of salt. "I'm conscious of that part, but calories? No."

Aice created the recipe by experimenting, "adding a little bit of this and that." The recipe gets a big thumbs-up from son Darryl, 7, and fiance Anthony Davis, who played offensive tackle for the Buccaneers and the St. Louis Rams.

TIPS FOR OTHERS: "Make it to your liking. ... I taste and test and eat as I go."

For some ingredients, "I don't measure," she says. If you prefer a sharper taste, use more sharp cheddar; if you like it milder, use more of the milder cheddar. The recipe calls for three 8-ounce packages of shredded cheese. If you love cheese, add another (Aice likes the Four-Cheese Blend).

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CAN'T COOK WITHOUT: Lawry's Seasoned Salt. "I love that stuff." This is a mix of salt, sugar, spices and herbs, including paprika, turmeric, onion and garlic.

THE COOK SAYS: "You have to love what you do. Don't be afraid to experiment; there's nothing wrong with that. If I've got some chopped-up ham, I'll put it in there. I'll try what I have around."

When Ebonie Aice makes her delicious macaroni and cheese dish, it is more art than science. She created the recipe through trial and error, and she doesn't always measure all the ingredients. The result, however, is always a hit with her family.

EBONIE AICE'S MACARONI AND CHEESE



1 box (16 ounces) elbow macaroni
4 tablespoons butter (half a stick), cut into small pieces
4 eggs
2 cups (16 ounces) cottage cheese
2 cups (16 ounces) sour cream
2 cups (8 ounces)shredded sharp cheddar cheese
4 cups (16 ounces) shredded mild cheddar cheese
1 can (5 ounces) evaporated milk
Salt and pepper, to taste
Pinch of Lawry's Seasoned Salt, optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cook the macaroni according to package directions. Drain and return to the pot. Add the butter, stirring to melt.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs and mix with the cottage cheese, sour cream, cheeses, milk and seasonings. Fold in the buttered macaroni. Pour into a 9- by 13-inch baking dish and cover with aluminum foil.

Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake 10 minutes more to let the top get crispy. Makes 8 servings.

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