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Recipe: Spicy Macaroni & Cheese

Serves 6-8 as main dish (or up to 14 as a side)


1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 slices white bread, cut into 1/2-inch squares
Kosher salt

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1 tablespoon unsalted butter
8 ounces Cheddar cheese, shredded
8 ounces Colby cheese, shredded
8 ounces pepper Jack cheese, shredded
2 cups elbow pasta, cooked until almost al dente


2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/4 cup sour cream
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup grated Vidalia or sweet onion
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup half-and-half

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1. Make the croutons. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the bread cubes and toast until light golden, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and season with a pinch of salt. Set aside.
2. Prepare the pasta. Butter the bottom and sides of a 13×9-inch casserole dish. Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, toss together the Cheddar, Colby and Jack cheeses. Put the cooked pasta in a large bowl and add two-thirds of the blended cheese. Set aside.
3. Make the custard. Put the following ingredients in another large bowl, whisking between each addition to combine: flour, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, mustard, nutmeg, sour cream, egg, onion, heavy cream, and half-and-half. Pour the custard over the pasta and cheese blend. Toss to combine.
4. Bake the casserole. Pour the macaroni and cheese mixture into the prepared baking dish. Cover with the remaining shredded cheese blend. Bake uncovered until the cheese is almost set and the top is just beginning to brown, about 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the croutons on top. Return to the oven and bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes more.