Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Southern Style Big Batch Super Creamy Special Occasion Macaroni and Cheese

This big batch, super creamy macaroni and cheese, made with cheddar, monterey jack, and velveeta, is insanely decadent, buttery, gooey, and over the top cheesy, perfect for those special occasions.
This big batch, super creamy macaroni and cheese, made with cheddar, monterey jack, and velveeta, is insanely decadent, buttery, gooey, and over the top cheesy, perfect for those special occasions.

Southern Style Big Batch Super Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

This is not a mac and cheese you want to serve once a week but more say for company, pot lucks, special occasions, birthdays, events, or holidays ... and even though it's not quite the holidays, I so wanted to make it to share with you, so you could add it to your holiday menu. Oh the sacrifice!

This recipe makes a huge, 8 quart casserole dish perfect for the holidays, but also can be easily halved, which will still feed plenty of folks, or you can make the full recipe in two 4-quart casserole dishes too. As with all macaroni and cheese, serve this hot, right out of the oven if you possibly can. To reheat a full casserole, stir in a little extra milk before heating, otherwise, individual servings warm very nicely in the microwave, so when you go for that second serving, warm it in the microwave and you'll be happy happy.

The one thing I want to emphasis is that you must follow this recipe exactly and make no substitutes, at least the first time you make it. After that, you'll have a baseline to make your own changes.
  1. Use only the original version of Velveeta brand processed cheese - no generics, no lower fat varieties.
  2. Use whole milk.
  3. Use real, pure butter - not margarine, not a butter substitute - and I highly recommend Land O'Lakes brand especially.
  4. Use only block cheese that you shred yourself, since pre-shredded cheese has fillers and stablizers in it that likely will affect the outcome of the recipe, and use sharp cheddar, not mild.
If you make substitutes or changes, your results will not be the same, and yes, that means you have to use a processed cheese like Velveeta, if you want the super creamy result you see here. Block American cheese purchased from the deli would also work, although I prefer Velveeta. Don't try to make this with all cheddar or you will have a clotted mess.

I know it seems overly decadent with all that butter and cheese, so yes, there is a reason this is called no calorie left behind, special occasion macaroni and cheese y'all, but remember, it is a big batch recipe, meant to feed a crowd so have plenty of folks to share it with and you'll have plenty to share.

Here's how to make it.

Butter or spray a large pot or casserole pan with non-stick cooking spray; set aside. For the full recipe you'll need a large Dutch oven or pan that will hold 8 quarts; for a half recipe use a 4-quart dish, or you can make two 4-quart dish with the full recipe. Boil noodles, rinse, drain and set aside.


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Shred the cheddar and jack cheeses, stir together and set aside.


Meanwhile, pour 2 cups of milk into a large saucepan and warm over medium low heat. Cut up the Velveeta into chunks, add to the saucepan and cook over medium low heat until all of the cheese has melted. Remove from the heat and set aside. Crack the eggs into a separate bowl and lightly whisk. Scoop out some of the cheese sauce and slowly add that to the eggs to temper them, continuously whisking as you add the liquid to the eggs. Once well tempered, add the eggs to the cheese sauce and whisk together until well mixed.


Add half of the elbow noodles to the baking pan and season lightly with salt, pepper and Cajun seasoning.


Slice thin layers of butter and spread them around on top of the noodles. I use unsalted butter.


Sprinkle 1/2 of the cheddar/jack cheese combo over the noodles.


Ladle 1/2 of the Velveeta cheese sauce over that.


Repeat the layers of noodles, seasoning, butter, cheddar/jack cheese, and Velveeta sauce.


Bake at 375 degrees F, uncovered for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until bubbly and lightly browned on top.

Here are some marvelous reviews this macaroni
and cheese has received! Thank y'all so much!!
Steven W: I have been making mac and cheese for years and it has always been a disaster! I made it for my clients over Thanksgiving! You have saved my life. ALL HAIL DEEP SOUTH DISH! I own a catering company in Maryland and I use your recipes all the time. What a life saver! Thank you!

Karen F: I have to tell you that I tried your macaroni and cheese for thanksgiving, and it was a huge success. I have never been able to master mac and cheese, but I am the queen now.

Wendy H: Made your wonderful Holiday Mac and Cheese! My family raved about it! Also made your wonderful buttermilk biscuits!

Angel H. I made your Mac-n-cheese for Thanksgiving! It was amazing and will be the go to recipe from now on!
If you're looking for something a little less rich, more for every day, check out my Everyday Macaroni and Cheese.





Recipe: Mary's Southern Style Big Batch Super Creamy Special Occasion Macaroni and Cheese

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 20 min |Bake time: 35 min | Yield: About 24 servings

Ingredients
  • 2 pounds of medium cut elbow macaroni
  • 1 pound of sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 pound of Monterey jack cheese
  • 2 pound block of original Velveeta brand cheese
  • 2-1/2 cups of whole milk
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • Kosher salt, freshly cracked pepper and Cajun seasoning, to taste
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) of pure butter
Instructions

Butter or spray a large baking dish or casserole pan with non-stick cooking spray; set aside. For the full recipe you'll need a large pan that will hold 8 quarts; for a half pan use a 4 quart dish. Boil noodles, rinse, drain and set aside. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Shred the cheddar and jack cheeses, stir together and set aside. Meanwhile, pour the milk into a large saucepan and warm over medium low heat. Cut up the Velveeta into chunks, add to the saucepan and cook over medium low heat until all of the cheese has melted, stirring often. Add additional milk if needed to thin. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Crack the eggs into a separate bowl and lightly whisk. Scoop out some of the hot cheese sauce and slowly add that to the eggs to temper them, continuously whisking as you add the liquid to the eggs. Once well combined, add the eggs to the cheese sauce and quickly whisk together until well mixed. Tempering prevents the eggs from scrambling in the hot cheese sauce.

Add half of the elbow noodles to the baking pan and season lightly with salt, pepper and Cajun seasoning. Slice thin layers of butter and spread them around on top of the noodles. Sprinkle 1/2 of the cheddar/jack cheese combo over the noodles. Ladle 1/2 of the Velveeta cheese sauce over that. Repeat the layers of noodles, seasoning, butter, cheddar/jack cheese, and Velveeta sauce.

Cook at 375 degrees F, uncovered for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until bubbly and lightly browned on top.


Cook's Notes: This is a big batch, 8-quart recipe, meant to feed a holiday crowd, but it also halves very nicely. Size matters with your pasta noodles also, so look for a medium cut elbow, not too small, not too large or jumbo. Do not make substitutes, use low or reduced fat products, margarine, or a generic brand processed cheese. I use Velveeta brand processed cheese, sharp cheddar (not mild), whole milk and Land O'Lakes brand pure unsalted butter. Do not substitute pre-shredded cheeses as they contain fillers and stablizers that will affect the results. Do not use all cheddar/monterey as sauce will curdle and will not be creamy without the Velveeta.

Make Ahead Tips: I do not recommend assembling this dish ahead as the pasta tends to absorb the sauce, giving a dry result after baking. What I do is to prepare the macaroni ahead, rinse and drain well, then store in a sealed container in the refrigerator. I also shred the cheese ahead, loosely bag and refrigerate. The cheese sauce may also be made ahead and rewarmed on low, however I find it just as quick to make that when I assemble and bake the casserole.

Source: http://deepsouthdish.com

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©Deep South Dish
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