The Mac-nificent Seven

Hello everybody! I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! I know I did, and I made something great for one of my Friendsgiving gatherings which gave me great ideas for this post! This recipe is one that I really wish I would have made again for actual Thanksgiving, but Christmas is just around the corner so I’ll have more opportunities. I’ve been craving mac and cheese and wanting to experiment with gluten-free noodles at the same time, so I decided to test this dish out on a bunch of unsuspecting people at my friend’s Friendsgiving dinner party! Normally, I try and come up with a movie first, but since I settled on a food beforehand, and a very generic food at that, I didn’t know what to pair it with. A friend suggested “Mac and Me” Mac and Cheese, apparently a knock-off of E.T. and a cult classic. However, it wasn’t enough of a classic for my local movie rental place to have it, so I spent my time in the store perusing the “M”s looking for anything that would make sense, or at the very least, sound good paired with mac and cheese. The Magnificent Seven was there, a movie that I knew nothing about, but it seemed like a classic that most should see, and so I figured I could be pun-ny with it and do that. Here goes!

The Food:

I’ve only tried a few macaroni from scratch recipes in my life. I don’t want to say that I prefer the box, but as a carb loving college student, you really can’t go wrong with the box. I’ve made a fancy mac before that ended up being way too rich (it’s a recipe from Giada on Food Network), it had about 5 different cheeses in it and didn’t really rub everyone the right way. And then I’ve made a simple mac using Velveeta, cheddar and a roux base. The second is the one that I would stick with most often because of how easy it is, but nothing beats the ease of the box. Until now!

I absolutely love creamy mac and cheese. You know, the kind you get from fried chicken places and cafeterias (like Furr’s or Luby’s). I never knew how to execute that style though. Everything that I’ve cooked in the past has been semi-creamy but not how I like it. I found a recipe for this gluten-free mac here. Since I was going to a potluck, though, I doubled it the best I could, but I’ll post the original measurements below. Here’s what you need:

3 cups uncooked gluten free pasta (I used the Quinoa brand)

2 1/4 cup milk (I used whole milk to make it extra creamy)

2 1/4 cup water

1 tsp. salt

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Pepper to taste

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Put your noodles, milk, water and salt in a pot, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover and lower to a simmer until pasta is cooked, but still firm (al dente) and the sauce is slightly thicker. Add in your cheese slowly and fold in until fully melted and incorporated throughout.

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This is when I really started to taste and add salt and pepper. Of course, I ran out of salt completely and used seasoned salt for this. Just add seasonings until it’s good for you. Serve hot from the stove top, or do what I did and put in a dish to bake at 350 for about 10-15 minutes, with extra cheese on top, of course!

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The Critique:

Tasting this before I transferred it to my dish to bake in the oven, it was absolutely perfect. The recipe says to serve it hot from the stove, and from what I experienced this weekend, that’s really the way to go. Since I had to take this over to a dinner party, I figured baking and taking would be the easiest. Baking it dried it up a bit, but it still tasted great. Then sitting on the countertop patiently awaiting dinner time, it cooled to a room temperature. Still really good, but it was knocked down a couple of notches from its original awesomeness. Of course, the other guests didn’t know any different so they all had good things to say about it. I know the truth though, and this is definitely meant to be served straight from the stove top. Also, the gluten-free noodles stick to the pan really easily, so constantly stir while it’s coming to a boil. The flavor was good, almost just like the taste of whole wheat noodles if you’ve ever tried those. All in all, definitely trying this again, with maybe some tweaks to the seasoning. I’ve heard mustard powder adds a great tang, which I like that in my creamy mac and cheese, but seasoned salt was actually a great way to go.

The Movie:

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The movie I chose was 1960’s The Magnificent Seven directed my John Sturges. It’s a western about a Mexican farming village that is being tormented by a group of Mexican bandits that often raid them for food. Starving and scared for their crops, three elders from the village travel toward a nearby town to find help. They come across a gunmen who agrees to help them and soon assembles a group of seven others who will travel to the village and watch over them until the threat is gone.

The Critique:

I did not realize this movie was a western from the 60s. I was thinking it would be somewhere along the lines of Tombstone and have a cast that I knew and liked. I was wrong, but it was still very good. I was surprised because the plot seemed very progressive to me for the time period being shown. In the beginning of the movie, there was a big racial issue that kind of set the mood for what kind of a town these gunmen are coming from. The townsmen refused to bury a body in the cemetery because the dead man was Indian. And yet, these seven guys are willing to help this Mexican village, no questions asked. I just thought that was really kind of cool. The bunch that call themselves the Magnificent Seven are just some really laid back and forward-thinking fellows.

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I was also surprised at how graphically violent the movie got in the last big battle. You saw hatchets in the backs of men and blood everywhere. Now, it wasn’t gross or anything, in fact it really wasn’t bad at all and added some realism where there wasn’t a whole lot. It was like every time one of seven shot at someone, they never missed, so it was nice to see some injuries in the end. And, this wouldn’t have surprised me in a movie today, but just the fact that this is an older movie it caught me off guard.

I won’t lie, it took me two days to finish this movie. I honestly thought that older movies generally had a shorter run time than movies today. I was very wrong. This movie was two full hours long, and I don’t think I mentally prepared myself for it. The content was great, it really was, but there are scenes that definitely could have been skipped. I think that might be one of the major differences in movies from then and now. For one, more action now. Not saying that this wasn’t fun to watch, it had a good amount of action. Another thing is just that, pointless lulling scenes have no place in today’s movies. This particular director really should have cut some 3-5 minute scenes that were dragging into a quick and simple 30 second- 1 minute explanation of what’s about to happen. That’s just me though.

All in all, this movie threw me some curveballs that I was thankful for. I thought that I knew what this movie was all about and it proved me wrong. It was a very good movie, and a classic that everyone should see!

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Check in soon to see what’s in store!

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About Leah Hatcher

My name is Leah Hatcher, I am an Electronic Media major at Texas State University and a self-declared movie buff. However, there is a surprising amount of movies I haven't seen, and worse, an embarrassing amount of good movies I have yet to see. So that's what this blog is all about. I'll watch a movie and make a new dish, whether it's a recipe I stumble upon or just something I come up with on my own, and critique them both. I'll share the recipe, too, of course! Now, I know there are some who might not trust someone critiquing their own food, so I have another key-player in this blog: my co-host, my boyfriend who will be sure to be brutally honest in order to make my critiques more "trustworthy". So, without further ado, enjoy the show!
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