Baked Mac and Cheese
I have a few mac and cheese recipes that I use. I have one for holidays, one where I add bacon or ham to it, and another where I add veggies. Sometimes I just make it on the stove and serve it, and other times I like to bake it in the oven. The recipe I used last night is pretty simple and straight to the point. I didn’t add any bacon or veggies. I didn’t even use an egg for my baked mac and cheese. But believe me, this is still creamy and delicious.
Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe
– 1 lb of Pasta Shells (or elbow macaroni noodles)
– 1 package of shredded Cheddar Cheese (I used mild cheddar), reserve just a little to sprinkle on top
– 1/2 package of shredded Mozzarella Cheese (or whatever type you prefer), reserve 1/2 cup to sprinkle on top
– 4 tablespoons of Butter
– 4 tablespoons of flour
– 2 cups of Milk
– 1 teaspoon Salt (or to taste)
– 1 teaspoon Pepper (or to taste)
– 4 dashes of Dry Mustard
– 4 dashes of Paprika
– 1/4 cup Italian Bread Crumbs, optional
Start out by cooking pasta shells according to package directions. I let them cook in the boiling water for about 8 minutes. It’s ok if they are not completely done because they will cook some more when they go into the oven. While the pasta is cooking, melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a pot. Once butter is melted, add 4 tablespoons of flour and stir constantly until well mixed. Add 2 cups of milk and allow to heat up for a few minutes. Once milk is hot, add in 2 cups of cheddar cheese and 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese. You can use whatever types of cheese you like. I used cheddar and mozzarella because that’s what I had in my fridge, and because my family tends to like milder cheeses. I personally think sharp cheddar cheese and colby jack make a nice mac and cheese. Or even Gruyere, extra sharp cheddar cheese, and a tiny bit of blue cheese mixed in. It makes an excellent grown up mac and cheese. After you add in the cheese, you’ll want to use a whisk and stir the cheese into the milk until it’s completely melted. This may take a few minutes. You’ll know when it’s done because it will be nice and creamy. Just like that, you have a great cheese sauce.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Drain the pasta and pour the pasta into the pot with the cheese sauce. Mix the pasta and the cheese sauce to make sure all the pasta is covered. Then pour
it into a greased 13×9 baking dish. Sprinkle cheddar cheese and mozzarella cheese on top. I like to sprinkle some Italian bread crumbs on top as well. It gives the mac and cheese some nice texture after it’s been baked. Cover the dish with some foil and bake for 15 minutes. Uncover dish and bake for an additional 15 minutes. The cheese on top should be completely melted, and you should have deliciously creamy mac and cheese.
This recipe is so easy and you can add stuff to it to personalize it. For instance, you can mix in some crumbled bacon or even sprinkle some bacon on top. Or you can mix in some broccoli to make broccoli mac and cheese. You can serve this with some strips of grilled chicken on top. Feel free to play around with it and make it the way you like. This recipe is really a starting place, and you can take the dish wherever you want. Get creative. And most importantly, enjoy it.