I have to confess, I love cheese and I love pasta. Always have, always will. When I was probably 10 years old I made the macaroni and cheese recipe on the back of the macaroni package, and I’ve been hooked ever since. I have tried different recipes, that use a variety of expensive and yummy cheeses, but always go back to my classic. I’ve experimented with additions to this recipe also, most of which are good, but the plain classic is always delicious!
I had three cheddar brats in my freezer from the summer that needed to be used up last night. My first plan was chili dogs (I know, gross, right….yet somehow….delicious….) My hot dog buns had seen better days though so I needed another use for the dogs. I like my mac n’ cheese just plain and cheesy, with a salad or some broccoli or something, but Kyle doesn’t consider it dinner unless it has meat. I’ve started adding ham to it to keep him happy, but since I had the dogs, thought I’d throw them in instead.
When I was 10 and first started making this recipe, I thought it took HOURS to cook, so only made it when bribed by my parents. I have come to realize it really doesn’t take that long, so make it more often.
Here’s the recipe:
1/4 c. butter
3 T. flour
1/8 t. dry mustard
1/8 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper
2 c. milk
2 c. grated cheese
2 c. uncooked macaroni noodles
(I’ve made this recipe enough that I don’t really follow the recipe….I measure the 3 T. of flour, then just add the salt, pepper and mustard til it looks good. I actually like to add a little more mustard than 1/8 t. Usually more like 1 t.)
1.Cook macaroni according to package directions in sauce pan.
2.Melt butter, blend in flour, dry mustard, salt and pepper. Cook until smooth. (I usually use a little dish and measure the flour, mustard, salt and pepper before I get started. That way I can just dump it in and don’t have to worry about the butter burning while I’m trying to measure ingredients.)
3. Gradually add milk. Cook and stir until mixture boils. Boil 1 minute. Gradually stir in cheese. Stir until smooth. Add pasta. Mix lightly. Bake in casserole dish at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
This recipe makes an 8×8 dish. I usually double it for a 9×13.
*Add chopped hot dogs or diced ham
*Add cooked, chopped bacon and caramelized onions (So good!)
*Use different cheeses. (I usually use medium cheddar, but sharp is good, or you can use half cheddar and half parmesan.)
*Use whole wheat macaroni
*I was on a kick last year of pureeing veggies and adding them to sauces, since Kyle doesn’t really like vegetables, but after having bright pink spaghetti sauce from beets, and many sauces that looked like pesto, but certainly didn’t taste like it, from spinach, I had to give up on that plan. The only one I’ve found I can get away with is sweet potatoes. You can add some pureed sweet potatoes to this recipe and you can’t even tell. Just stir it in when you add the cheese and it adds to the creaminess.
*Add bread crumbs, crushed crackers, crushed chips, or cheese to the top. (I always add grated cheddar to the top, then after baking, I broil for a few minutes until it gets nice and crunchy. That’s my favorite part!)
This may have been the left overs for breakfast this morning! Hey! Don’t judge! It was delicious! Yes, it may be on a paper plate….I don’t have a dishwasher, so I have to cut back where I can!