|A creamy baked macaroni and cheese that uses a combination of cheddar and Velveeta and a buttery roux.|
Baked Macaroni and CheeseOkay, you probably wouldn't want to eat this every day, but what I mean by that is that this is my 'regular' mac and cheese recipe, as opposed to my special occasion mac and cheese, which is excellent, but very rich, loaded with eggs, butter with cheese. I finally got around to makin' this one, and it, on the other hand, is a little, well, more reasonable, and what you could serve any day of the week.
I don't like the gloppy, stringy texture of cheddar in macaroni and cheese on it's own, but I love the flavor of it. But combine that cheddar with a bit of Velveeta - yeah, that's right, Velveeta, the southern staple - and put that into a white sauce, and it makes a fantastic cheese base for the macaroni that is just right and cheesy. No need for additional salt generally, but be sure to take a taste before it goes into the oven and adjust as needed.
I know the kids love the 'box' and I don't deny having made more than a few of those myself in my lifetime - I even have a casserole using boxed mac and cheese here that is very yummy - but every once in awhile put away the 'box' and give this a try. It comes together pretty quick, and is creamy, homey, comforting, and just downright cheesy wonderful goodness, I'm tellin' ya!
A Facebook reader suggested adding a topping of crushed saltines before baking, then top with slices of butter in the last few minutes. I think that sounds fantastic, so thanks for that suggestion!
Recipe: Everyday Macaroni and Cheese©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 30 min | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings
- 1/2 pound of elbow macaroni (about 2 cups uncooked)
- 1/2 of a medium onion, finely chopped, optional
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour
- 2-1/2 cups of milk
- 6 turns of the pepper mill
- 1/4 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama)
- 6 ounces of Velveeta cheese, cubed
- 6 ounces of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- Crushed saltine crackers, optional
- Butter, cut up into thin slices, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 2 quart casserole dish with non-stick spray; set aside. Cook the elbow macaroni in very generously salted boiling water according to lowest recommended time on package directions. Drain, rinse with hot water & set aside.
Melt the butter over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add the onion and saute until soft. Stir in the flour and cook over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes to cook it through; slowly add in the milk, stirring constantly until fully incorporated. Season with the pepper and Cajun seasoning; add the Velveeta. Stir over a medium low heat until blended. Add the shredded cheddar and stir until well blended. Add the macaroni to the saucepan and stir.
Pour into the prepared casserole and if desired, sprinkle with crushed saltines. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes, adding the slices of butter scattered over the top of the saltines (if using) the last 15 minutes of baking. Remove and let set for 5 minutes before serving.
Variation: Can also be finished on the stovetop. After adding the macaroni to the sauce, cook and stir over medium low heat for about 5 minutes, adding the additional milk as needed, until it reaches the desired consistency.
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