Saturday, September 25, 2010

Warm Cheesy Goodness!

I've always loved macaroni and cheese - even the Kraft kind. I can remember my childhood babysitter, Marie, making it for my brother and myself quite often. 

As I got older I started adding red pepper flakes to it right before eating. Delicious and spicy I tell ya! 

Then one day I decided I wanted to try making macaroni and cheese from scratch - and bake it! Ever since that day, I can't get enough of the tasty baked mac 'n cheese that I seem to make it every few months. I've switched it up a few times with different cheeses or substituted crushed cheddar goldfish crackers for the breadcrumb topping.  

Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe
-6 tbls butter - set 2 tbls aside to toss with pasta
-4 tbls flour
-2 C milk (I use skim because that's what I have on hand, but you can use whatever)
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp pepper
-8 oz shredded cheddar cheese - set 2 aside for cheese sauce
-4 oz shredded jack cheese
-4 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
-4 oz shredded havariti cheese (I've also used gouda before! You could use as many or as few types of cheese for this, just make sure it's a total of 20 oz of shredded cheese)
-1/4 C breadcrumbs 
-1 box of elbow macaroni noodles 

1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease baking dish with butter (When using a whole box of macaroni I usually use a 9X13 pan.) 
2. Fill the pot for your pasta about 3/4 of the way full with water and start to bring it to a boil. Once boiling add the pasta and cook for 5 minutes until al dente. Once 5 minutes are up, drain and toss with the reserved butter. (Start the other steps while water is boiling and pasta is cooking, but don't cook more than 5 min because you're putting it in the oven later!)
3. Melt 4 tbls butter over low heat.
4. Add 4 tbls flour. Stir to combine and cook about 3 minutes - stirring consistently. 
5. Increase heat to medium heat. Whisk in milk little by little and cook until thickened (about 4-5 minutes but maybe longer).
6. Remove from heat then add salt, pepper and the reserved cheddar cheese.
7. Add the cooked, drained, buttered pasta to the cheese sauce and stir to combine.
8. Put half of the saucy macaroni mixture into the grease baking dish and cover with half of the shredded cheese.
9. Repeat with the rest of the saucy macaroni mixture and the rest of the shredded cheese.
10. Sprinkled breadcrumbs on top.
11. Bake for about 45 minutes and let sit 5 minutes before serving. 

I usually serve this with some kind of green like a nice garden salad or steamed broccoli.

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