Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Creamy Baked Macaroni and Cheese

It has occurred to me that I have not yet posted a SINGLE macaroni and cheese recipe on this blog, even though I named the blog after mac and cheese! I've even made macaroni and cheese since starting the blog, just haven't added the recipe for some bizarro reason.

As implied by the title, I love macaroni and cheese. Love it. My level of adoration is a little embarrassing, seeing as I'm almost 27 years old, but whatever. Macaroni and cheese is too perfect not to love. Over the years I have tried a multitude of recipes and have a couple of favorites. The one I'm posting here is a slight alteration of one from AllRecipes and is one of the best I've ever had. This is a baked mac and cheese. Usually baked macaroni and cheese is not very creamy, but this one most certainly is, thanks to the entire brick of cream cheese that you stir into the sauce. It's also very rich and cheesy (more than twice as much cheese as pasta will do that!), and just... good. Reheats great, too. If you love saucy, cheesy, creamy macaroni and cheese, I suggest you give this one a try.

Story time: People are so fond of this mac and cheese that I often bring it to potlucks, and I always bake it in the same Fiesta dish. We actually call it the mac and cheese bowl because it's the main thing I use it for. Anyway, few months ago, we brought this mac and cheese to a potluck at some friends' house and ended up leaving the leftovers there when we had to leave early. A couple of days later, we were back at their house and when I peeked in their fridge, I found my mac and cheese bowl inexplicably half full even though it had almost all been eaten up. Magically replenishing mac and cheese bowl? Sadly, no. They just loved it enough that they made some themselves!

Quick note: Excess heat makes cheddar cheese get gritty. To make sure your mac and cheese is smooth and wonderful, be sure to add the cheddar cheese to the sauce when the pot is off of the burner and the sauce is no longer boiling. The cheese will also get gritty if you bake it too long, so just bake it long enough to make the topping golden.

Creamy Baked Macaroni and Cheese

8 oz macaroni
1 t salt for water
1/4 C butter
3 T flour
2 C milk
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1 T dijon mustard
8 oz cream cheese
12 oz shredded medium cheddar

Topping:
4 oz shredded medium cheddar
2 T melted butter
1 C cornflakes, crushed
1 t dried parsley

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease a 2 quart baking dish. Boil pasta in large pot with 1 t salt. In a medium sauce pan, make a roux with the butter and flour. Let cook while stirring for a minute or two. Stir in milk a little at a time, making sure sauce is smooth after each addition. Add salt, pepper and mustard, then stir in cream cheese until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in cheddar cheese. Pour into prepared baking dish and sprinkle with remaining cheese. In a small bowl, stir together butter and crushed cornflakes and sprinkle on top of casserole. Bake for about 20 minutes or JUST until topping is golden, then sprinkle with parsley. You can leave off the topping and just do the extra cheese and parsley if you want.

Yield: about 12 servings as a side dish

4 comments:

  1. I am just gonna have to make mac n cheese for me and my girls someday. It never gets made around here because my hubby is such a cheese hater! The closest we get around here is the cheapo box stuff sometimes for their lunch. But a homemade batch of creamy mac n cheese would be so divine!

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  2. Your husband doesn't like cheese?! I saw that he doesn't like sour cream, too. That's so sad :( When I was growing up, my (older and more opinionated) brother hated cheese so I very rarely got macaroni and cheese. The blue box was the first thing I learned to "cook" at the age of about 7. Back then I was much more concerned with following the directions in recipes and would carefully measure out the water, milk, and butter, then stand in front of the stove stirring the boiling macaroni the entire time it cooked so it would turn out perfectly :D Don't mess with my mac and cheese!

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  3. I make a mac and cheese with cream cheese in it too! It makes it so rich and creamy. And mustard and cheese were made for each other. I can see why they made more of this. Thanks for all your comments today! Some posts don't have comments because I lost them when I moved from blogger to Wordpress. Have a great weekend!

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  4. Hi Reeni, nice to see you over here! My blog is much, much less spectacular than yours (and my few photos are atrocious), but I'm glad you found a recipe that looks good to you. Is your mac and cheese recipe on your blog? I'll need to look it up and try it out, trying new macaroni and cheese recipes is one of my reasons for living :D

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