Well, here it is folks! I have been asked a zillion times for my recipe for Baked Mac and Cheese. But since this is one of those recipes I just throw together, no measuring cups or spoons, I never could give it out. So tonight I took the time to measure everything and write it out step by step for you.
The husband hates the term “comfort food”. I don’t know why he takes such offense to it, but he does. He’s weird like that. So, hopefully he isn’t reading this because this is comfort food. Like eating pure heaven in your fuzzy slippers and jammies snuggled by a fire on a cold snowy night type comfort food. It’s that good. Ask my kids, they’ll vouch for me.
It is creamy and cheesy with a crisp topping. It is a great side dish. I always make a beef tenderloin for Christmas Eve and this is the perfect accompanyment. It isn’t overly salty, although you might think it would be, and it is not super thick and heavy. I remember my mother in law always ate this with a hot dog and a big spoonful of piccalilli. It was one of her favoriite meals.
I hope you give it a try. I do want to make one note, do NOT use pre-sliced American cheese! It does weird things to the texture and burns on the top. I always use Land o’ Lakes white American off the block from the deli. Trust me on this one.
Disclaimer: This is not health food. Just sayin.
Baked Macaroni and Cheese
1 box casserole elbow macaroni, cooked al dente (this can be made with any shape, but casserole elbows are the best, pictured are small shells)
1/3 c. butter
1 c. fat free half and half (or light cream, or 2% milk)
1 tsp salt (you may still need additional salt, but I like to be able to season to taste afterward)
6 oz. american cheesse (or 8-10 slices, plus 6 slices for the top)
1/4 c. unseasoned breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper to taste
Dried parsley (if desired)
1. Place rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 425F.
2. In a large pot prepare pasta, al dente and drain. Do not rinse! Just let it sit to the side (preferably in the sink in a colander).
3. In a cup or small bowl, whisk egg and set aside.
4. Place pot back on the burner, on medium heat melt butter, milk, cheese and salt together until it becomes creamy.
5. Add pasta back into cheese mixture (it may stick together, just pry it out). Mix until well incorporated, then while continuing to stir, add egg and continue to stir until all mixted together.
5. Pour pasta into a 9×13 glass baking dish and top with remaining slices of cheese, sprinkle with bread crumbs, sprinkle with pepper and dried parsley (if desired).
6. Bake for 8-10 minutes until browned on top.
Let cool and enjoy!