Dee’s take on Nana’s Baked Mac ‘n Cheese

Since I date a vegetarian, macaroni and cheese has become one of my tastiest dishes and a guaranteed hit with the boyfriend. It’s quick, simple, delicious and I never need to reference a cookbook when assembling it. True, it’s not the healthiest option, but pair it with a salad and you can kind of justify it.

I made this for New Year’s Eve din-din at home, paired with some Trader Joe’s baby back ribs (for me), a salad and some cornbread. We had a fun time just hanging out at home, detonating poppers & banging on pots and pans.

My recipe comes from my Nana, who taught me how to make baked macaroni about a year ago.

Ingredients:

-butter, 4 TBSP
– half & half, 1 cup
-flour, 4 TBSP
– milk (1% – whole milk), 3 cups
-elbow macaroni (1 box)
-1 stick of cheddar cheese (or you can use different cheeses to make a more “gourmet-style” three or four-cheese macaroni)
-salt (to taste)
-breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup or so

1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Immediately add the flour and begin stirring until it is incorporated into the butter.

2. Add the milk and the half & half and whisk until mixed together. As the milk heats up, grate the cheese into the milk mixture. You can also buy pre-shredded cheese or a four-cheese blend and slowly add it in, whisking every minute or so.

3. Meanwhile, boil the macaroni for about 6-7 minutes (or until al dente) and drain and pour into a Pyrex 13 x 9 baking dish or casserole pan.

4. Once the roux is thick and the cheese is melted, pour it directly over the pasta in the casserole dish.

5. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and casually arrange small cubes of chopped butter over the bread crumbs.

6. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, or until bubbly.

7. Take your cholesterol medication.

YUM.

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5 thoughts on “Dee’s take on Nana’s Baked Mac ‘n Cheese

    • Oops! Left that out by mistake, but just edited it. You use “4s” of everything: 4 tbsp of butter, 4 tbsp of flour, 4 cups of milk/half & half. Hope this helps! It’s a delicious recipe.

      • In honor of the traditional ‘New Years Resolution’ I am going to try lightening it up:
        Fat Free Half n Half
        Nonfat Milk
        Brummel & Brown Spread
        Reduced Fat Celtic Sharp Cheddar (Trader Joes…good stuff!)
        Whole Wheat Macaroni
        Whole Wheat Breadcrumbs

        Wish me luck!!!

      • That sounds great! You may want to up it to 1% milk, only because the roux needs SOME fat, and I think fat free milk, while okay with cereal, never tastes good in recipes. Let me know how it works out. I’m so curious.

  1. Reporting back on ‘reduced fat mac’

    I made it last night with the following substitutions:
    1 Cup Fat Free Half n Half
    3 Cups Nonfat Milk
    2 TBLSP Butter
    4 TBLSP White Whole Wheat Flour (Trader Joes brand)
    Reduced Fat Celtic Sharp Cheddar (Trader Joes…good stuff!)
    High Fiber Macaroni (Trader Joes brand)
    Pop Chips (crushed) instead of breadcrumbs

    At first I thought the sauce wasn’t thick enough but after baking, it had absorbed nicely into the pasta. I used the Pop Chips cuz realized late in the game that I didn’t have breadcrumbs…they provided a lovely crunch 🙂
    Thumbs up to lightened up!

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