Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Everyday Baked Macaroni and Cheese

A creamy baked macaroni and cheese that uses a combination of cheddar and Velveeta and a buttery roux.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Okay, 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!


For more of my favorite mac and cheese recipes, visit my page on Pinterest!



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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

Ingredients
  • 1/2 pound standard (small) elbow macaroni (about 2 cups uncooked)
  • 1/4 cup finely minced onion, optional
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • li>2-1/2 cups milk

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper mill
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama)
  • 6 ounces Velveeta cheese, cubed
  • 6 ounces shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • Instructions

    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 and 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 and cheddar; stir over a medium low heat until blended. Stir in elbows.

    Transfer to prepared casserole and ibake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

    Cook's Notes: Total time will depend on your oven. Remember you are only warming everything through so you may need only 20 minutes, while a different oven may need 30. Crush 3/4 of a bag of saltines or butter crackers (like Ritz) and stir in 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Sprinkle over top before baking.

    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.

    Source: http://deepsouthdish.com

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    ©Deep South Dish
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    Posted by on July 28, 2009

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