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  #1  
Old 09/18/08, 04:34 PM
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Mac and Cheese Out Overnight?

Ok folks, I need your advice. I found a recipe that my mother's ex-husband's mother used to make for macaroni and cheese. It was always the best I had ever had. The thing is, it says to let it set out overnight on the counter before serving.

The recipe has milk and cheese in it, wouldn't it spoil or at least go a little off? I would ask the original cook, but I haven't talked to their family in 5 years, and I honestly don't even know if she is still alive. I also don't know if she would welcome a call from me.

Would this be alright to set out or should I leave it in the fridge overnight instead?

Here's the recipe, in case it makes a difference, or in case anyone else wants to try it. It really is the best I have ever had.

1 lb elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
1 cup water
3 tbs flour
4 tbs butter or margarine
3 or 4 cups of milk
8 oz meunster cheese
12 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese

In a large pot make a thin white sauce with the water and flour. Turn the stove to medium low and melt in the butter or margarine. Stir the milk in and add salt and pepper to taste. Melt the cheeses in completely, then stir in the cooked macaroni. Place in a 350 degree oven for 45-60 minutes topped with buttered bread crumbs. The top will be lightly browned when it is done. Set out overnight and serve the following afternoon.


What do you think?

Kayleigh

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  #2  
Old 09/18/08, 04:42 PM
 
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Oh boy, I'm the biggest non-snob when it comes to leaving food out! As long as it doesn't having anything growing on it or smell bad, go ahead and take a bite. In the days before refrigeration, I'm sure that people drank day old milk. And this milk is cooked.

But if you are uncomfortable with it, I doubt it would affect the flavor much to refrigerate it. Sounds like you might want to set it out to let it get to room temp before serving though - or just heat slightly.

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  #3  
Old 09/18/08, 04:57 PM
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Have you tried tasting it shortly after it's cooled down a bit out of the oven?

If it tastes as good, why leave it setting out?

Overnight: 8 or so hours

Next afternoon: another 6 to 8 hours

That means 14 to 16 hours. Does that time really help the flavor that much?

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  #4  
Old 09/18/08, 04:58 PM
 
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I don't think it would hurt it. Cheese does not ruin by leaving it out, and since the milk is mixed with the cheese I don't think it would sour. After all cheese is made from milk. I'd say go for it.

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Old 09/18/08, 05:02 PM
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I don't think it would hurt it, necessarily, but I can't see what it would do for it, either. I think I'd make it, and skip the sitting time.

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Old 09/18/08, 05:13 PM
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I can't see what would be enhanced but I think I would let it stand in the fridge overnight. My grandmother gave me a similar recipe but she even quit leaving it stand out overnight and the only reason that she could ever give me was that it made the cheese mixture a bit more 'nippy' but over time she decided if she added a dab of sour cream to her cheese mixture it still had sufficient nip.

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Old 09/18/08, 05:14 PM
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Well I cooked it not long ago, and divided it into two bowls before it went into the oven. I have been nibbling on the first bowl these last few minutes. The taste is almost right, but not quite as "sharp" as I remember.

I'll probably let the rest set in the fridge instead of the counter. There is always the chance one of the animals would get into it during the night, and I want it all for myself.

Kayleigh

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Old 09/18/08, 05:24 PM
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I would never, ever feed my family food that had set out overnight. Sorry, but I'm a fanatic about that.

Digestive distress from bacteria growth in a perfect food medium is not fun.

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  #9  
Old 09/18/08, 05:32 PM
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The taste is almost right, but not quite as "sharp" as I remember.

Kayleigh
There's a chance that the extra "sharpness" is minor spoilage; kind of walking that tightrope between yum and an all-night stay in the bathroom.
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  #10  
Old 09/18/08, 06:23 PM
 
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I like the "add a little sour cream" suggestion - that would probably give it that extra tang without the risk.

My husband is also an absolute fanatic about food spoilage - with good reason, he has enough stomach troubles without risking anything that might be not-on-the-safe-side.

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Old 09/18/08, 07:01 PM
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I wouldn't do it for fear of botulin poisoning. One of the first things we learned at the cooking academy was about food poisoning and botulism. All cooked starchy foods, and that includes pastas, potatoes, rice, beans, etc., and even cooked garlic or mushrooms, are highly susceptible to botulin bacteria if left out at room temperature once they've cooled after cooking.

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Old 09/18/08, 07:12 PM
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I tend to be somewhat more relaxed than most about foods left out, my ex of 19 years was (is) a tropical ecologist, so he spends months at a time working in remote jungle villages around the globe where refrigeration is not an option, so I learned from him what is safe or not to leave out and for how long.

In all my years, I've had food poisoning only once, and that was from shrimp I had in a restaurant (knock on wood ).

I'm pretty picky about some things (mostly meat), but vegetable/cheese dishes tend to be just fine...obviously within reason.

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Old 09/18/08, 07:35 PM
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Small quantities of bacteria on food doesn't have to make you immediately sick. It can accumulate and be harboured in the kidneys, liver and gut over a period of years and gradually lower the immune system. Then when you get older is when you start having serious digestive or renal complications, stomach and colon cancer, etc., or else start having serious reactions to foods that have minor bacterial growth on them.

Just saying ..... better to be safe now than be sorry later.

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  #14  
Old 09/18/08, 07:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by naturelover View Post
Small quantities of bacteria on food doesn't have to make you immediately sick. It can accumulate and be harboured in the kidneys, liver and gut over a period of years and gradually lower the immune system. Then when you get older is when you start having serious digestive or renal complications, stomach and colon cancer, etc., or else start having serious reactions to foods that have minor bacterial growth on them.
I tend to be one of those who will eat anything if it doesn't smell obviously spoiled, but something like this could change my mind. Would you happen to know a source that substantiates this?
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Old 09/18/08, 07:51 PM
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I'd be interested in reading more about this too.

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Old 09/18/08, 07:59 PM
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If that mac and cheese spends more than 4 hours in the temp range between 41 and 165 degrees, throw it away. Don't taste it. Don't let anyone else taste it. Especially pasta or rice as Rose2005 said. I can get the actual info from the ServSafe book if you would like. I think your mothers ex husbands mother is trying to kill you.

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  #17  
Old 09/18/08, 08:15 PM
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Maria and Tiempo, you asked "Would you happen to know a source that substantiates this?" Sorry, no I don't, although I'm sure the information can be sourced through research on internet these days. I guess you could start researching with listeriosis, the listeria bacteria is one of those that can harbour in the body for over 10 months before it starts making you sick. Researching that may lead you to links to other bacteria that harbour for years.

That information about food bacterias was drilled into our heads when we were learning about pediatric and geriatric nutritional requirements. It's a common mistake for people to think that the worst offenders for growing bacteria are meats, eggs, dairy products, but the fact is that ALL consumables, even the freshest fruits and vegetables, already have bacteria on them that are just waiting for the right growing conditions. And people forget that those bacteria are in the air, not just on surfaces, and that they're 'looking' for a hospitable surface to grow on.

All I'm saying is play it safe for your future and the future of your families. Refrigerate your food. Do some research about food bacterias and you'll never leave your food sitting out on the counter again.

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  #18  
Old 09/18/08, 09:06 PM
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People, don't worry. It has been in the fridge. The only reason I asked was because I had eaten it many times as a child and survived, but never knew the recipe until I recently found a copy. I'm the only one who can actually eat it anyways, my husband and daughter are lactose intolerant.

Kayleigh

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Old 09/18/08, 09:12 PM
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Please send me any extra by PM or email. I love mac and cheese.

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  #20  
Old 09/18/08, 09:15 PM
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Very interesting. Would it be safe to eat after heating it up in the microwave?

As kids we always ate things like spaghetti that had sat out of the fridge overnight. We heated it up first.....never thought about the mushrooms on pizza though.

Thanks guys for the enlightenment.

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