Tuesday, January 31, 2012

We Heart Macaroni And Cheese

I've been on the prowl for a macaroni and cheese recipe for awhile now.
Does that make me sound cool and spy-like?

Random side story:
One of my Christmas presents from my parents was a pair of Isotoner gloves because I'm a genius
and lost one of them last winter.
I had them on in the van while I was taking the girls to the bus stop one morning.
I handed Gianna something, and she said, 
Oh, momma!  You have spy gloves on!  You make me nervous!
You make us laugh all the time.  Your smooth dance moves and made-up songs make it hard to
discipline you sometimes.  God gave you to me just so I wouldn't miss your daddy too much when he's away (because you're twins, you know).
Love you!

How did a recipe post get all weepy and sentimental?
That's just how this mind works.
(dangerous and spylike  ->  spies  ->  my gloves and Gianna's comments  ->
she's just like her daddy  ->  I start getting teary)

So back to the food stuff.

A few weeks ago, my sister sent me an email about a recipe exchange.  I'm sorry if I sent this to you, and it was confusing.  I didn't try to wrap my mind around the math of it all.  I just followed the directions, and all of a sudden all these recipes were flooding my inbox.  I don't know about you, but I do not get excited or happy about making the exact same thing every week.  All that to say, I got a macaroni and cheese recipe that sounded like something my girls would love: creamy, cheesy, and not too sharp in taste.

I made it, and we all loved it - except for Bill, but he's not a macaroni and cheese lover like all of us girls are.  This recipe makes a HUGE batch.  I'm thinking of halving the recipe next time.  My friend did the other night, and she said it made a lot for her and her husband so I think it'll be the perfect amount.  Many thanks to Grace Gerdin for this fantastic recipe.  I don't know her in real life, but I think her sweet niece (or her momma) is our connection!

When I made this, I omitted the hot sauce because of our picky eaters.  I was also out of breadcrumbs so I used crushed Ritz crackers instead, and they were just as tasty.
Childhood Favorite Boxed Mac & Cheese
Photo by: D. Sharon Pruitt
1 lb elbow mac, or whatever macaroni you prefer 
1/2 cup butter 
1/2 cup flour 
4 cups milk 
4 cups shredded white cheddar cheese 
1/2 tsp pepper 
1/2 tsp hot sauce 
2 tsp salt
 Cook macaroni, drain and rinse.
While the macaroni is cooking - melt 1/2 cup butter over low heat, whisk in flour until smooth.
Whisk one minute, then whisk in milk over medium heat, whisking constantly until thick (this can take 10 or more minutes).
When thickened - add cheese, salt, pepper and hot sauce.
Stir until cheese is melted and add pasta.
Add to a 13x9 greased baking dish.
Add topping.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until bubbly. 
*Make sure you have your cheese grated before you are whisking - don't want the milk/flour mixture to burn!  She usually has all her ingredients in bowls ready to go for this one so she doesn't have to worry about burning the milk/flour mixture.  This is VERY cheesy.  You can 1/2 the recipe and still use 1 pound of pasta and it still tastes good, but really cheesy is the way they like it! 

TOPPING (optional) 
1-1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs  
3 tbs melted butter 
Combine the two and sprinkle on top.

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