How do you make delicious homemade mac n cheese?

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Old 03-06-10, 03:05 PM
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How do you make delicious homemade mac n cheese?

Just had some for lunch at our store deli. Great big succulant elbow noodles and this cheddar? sauce that also had some of this little crunchy(for lack of a better word) sprinkling on it. I love that stuff. Feels different in your mouth than the K brand.

The homemade stuff has a courser texture, but I like that for a change. I have been making the store bought stuff and have noticed something I have never noticed when I used to eat it. (I just started up eating it again after giving it a rest for a while) It tastes fairly good, but there is this odor of a barnyard in it - and I can also taste that somewhat also. Have any of you noticed that? If you haven't, hold it up to your nose and take a healthy wiff once. I'm not kidding. It has like a hay in the haymow taste and smell.

So how do you go about making your own? And what is that kind of orange or brown crunchy sprinkly stuff garnished on it?
 
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Old 03-06-10, 04:28 PM
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Mostaccioli pasta, cook til al dente, layer in a buttered baking dish, pasta, dripped in tomato sauce (not heavy, maybe 6 teaspoons per layer), small splashes of milk, shredded cheddar, chunks of butter/margarine, repeat to depth of pan. Finish with a heavy layer of cheese...leave some pasta tips exposed.

Bake at 350 til the cheese starts to brown. Not your normal mac and chs...but man..the next day it is even better!

EDIT: oh forgot to add..sprinkle pepper on each layer as well
 

Last edited by Gunguy45; 03-06-10 at 04:45 PM.
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Old 03-06-10, 04:31 PM
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I use a Rachael Ray recipe, Fake Baked Hot Ham Mac & Cheese. I use regular ham vs. hot ham because of a 6 year old in the house. If I'm feeling like we need it healthier, I use a whole grain pasta and it is very good. Using Panko bread crumbs works well too.

Ingredients
1 pound cavatappi, corkscrew pasta with lines or, macaroni with line in any short cut
Salt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive, divided
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
Black pepper
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole or 2 percent milk
1/2 pound sliced capocollo, hot ham, halve then slice into thin ribbons
1 box frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and excess liquid squeezed out
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, a few large handfuls, divided
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, ground or freshly grated, eyeball it
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, a couple pinches
1 pound ball fresh mozzarella -- buy a piece wrapped, not packed in water, then cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup plain or Italian bread crumbs
A generous handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
Directions
Preheat broiler.

Place a large pot of water over high heat and bring to a boil. Add the pasta, salt water and cook to al dente, with a bite.

While the water is coming up to a boil for the pasta, heat a medium, deep skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon EVOO, 1 turn of the pan, and the butter. When butter melts into the oil, add onions and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes then dust the onions with flour and continue to cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in milk. Gently bring milk to a bubble, allow the milk to thicken a bit, then stir in the capocola, spinach and 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano. Season sauce with nutmeg and cayenne and remove from the heat. Taste and add a little salt, if you like.

Combine the cooked pasta and the cubed mozzarella with the sauce, stir to coat completely by turning over and over. Transfer dressed pasta to a baking dish.

To make the breadcrumb topping, combine the breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons of EVOO and the remaining 1/2 cup Parmigiano. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the top to cover the pasta from edge to edge. Transfer the baking dish under the broiler and broil until golden brown and crispy. Garnish with chopped parsley. What a gut-buster!

Yum-o!
 
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Old 03-06-10, 05:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Melissa_E View Post
I use a Rachael Ray recipe, Fake Baked Hot Ham Mac & Cheese. I use regular ham vs. hot ham because of a 6 year old in the house. If I'm feeling like we need it healthier, I use a whole grain pasta and it is very good. Using Panko bread crumbs works well too.

Ingredients
1 pound cavatappi, corkscrew pasta with lines or, macaroni with line in any short cut
Salt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive, divided
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
Black pepper
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole or 2 percent milk
1/2 pound sliced capocollo, hot ham, halve then slice into thin ribbons
1 box frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and excess liquid squeezed out
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, a few large handfuls, divided
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, ground or freshly grated, eyeball it
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, a couple pinches
1 pound ball fresh mozzarella -- buy a piece wrapped, not packed in water, then cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup plain or Italian bread crumbs
A generous handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
Directions
Preheat broiler.

Place a large pot of water over high heat and bring to a boil. Add the pasta, salt water and cook to al dente, with a bite.

While the water is coming up to a boil for the pasta, heat a medium, deep skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon EVOO, 1 turn of the pan, and the butter. When butter melts into the oil, add onions and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes then dust the onions with flour and continue to cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in milk. Gently bring milk to a bubble, allow the milk to thicken a bit, then stir in the capocola, spinach and 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano. Season sauce with nutmeg and cayenne and remove from the heat. Taste and add a little salt, if you like.

Combine the cooked pasta and the cubed mozzarella with the sauce, stir to coat completely by turning over and over. Transfer dressed pasta to a baking dish.

To make the breadcrumb topping, combine the breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons of EVOO and the remaining 1/2 cup Parmigiano. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the top to cover the pasta from edge to edge. Transfer the baking dish under the broiler and broil until golden brown and crispy. Garnish with chopped parsley. What a gut-buster!

Yum-o!
Oh my! Did I forget to tell you I am not a chef, nor chef for a hobby? Yipes! The printer is down, and I'll need to fill my notebook on all this. Maybe Shadeladie will see this and decide to try it out, and let me know how it is.

I am hoping someone gives me the plain simple deli-type formula (of maybe 4 or 6 ingredients?) and that's about it, so that it makes plain mac and cheese - and not some dish containing it, that is some souped-up or gourmet version. My idea of souped up mac n cheese is throwing in 2 cans of tuna.
 
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Old 03-06-10, 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Gunguy45 View Post
Mostaccioli pasta, cook til al dente, ........
Hmmm. Again. Some gourmet version.
Not quite as complex though, as Melissa's. Need better detailed how-to instructions.
 
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Old 03-06-10, 08:45 PM
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Rigg's homeade mac and cheese

Elbow mac (or any kind of short noodle) cooked Al dente (or just underdone)

In a separate pan melt a little butter and shredded cheddar cheese in some half and half, constantly stirring so it doesn't stick or glob up. Your heat should be on low. You can use about a cup of cheddar and a quarter cup of half and half. Be sure the half and half is hot (not boiling) before adding the cheese so that it melts rather quickly. You want it to be the consistency of elmer's glue so add half and half or cheese to get that while you are cooking it. (you can also use milk instead of half and half.

Place the noodles in a big mixing bowl and pour in the cheese mixture, add a few pinches of salt, and stir coating the noodles. At this point you can add more cheese (regular shredded cheddar, and/or any type of cheese you wish) you can also add anything else you desire like crumbled up bacon, ham, vegetables, whatever.

Now once that is all mixed up to your liking, you will pour it all into a big baking dish. Before it goes into a preheated oven at 400 degrees, you want to do this....

take a can of bread crumbs and some Parmesan cheese. with two parts of bread crumbs and one part of cheese, you want to put that in a bowl and add a stick of melted butter. mix it all up and then crumble it onto the top of the noodles in the baking dish. this is the crunchy topping you like so much.

Put that into the oven and let cook for about 15 minutes or until the top is brown and crunchy.

Simple and delicious!
 
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Old 03-06-10, 08:56 PM
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If you are not a chef, just buy Stouffers macaroni & cheese.

If you want to cook, go to cooks dot com and search for a macaroni & cheese recipe. There will be many (100+) different ones, so can chose one easy enough for your interest.

The "crumbles" on the top could be panco bread crumbs (soft crumbs that will toast up crispy) or just some onion flavored bread crumbs. I have relatives in Wisconsin that throw in some cheese curds (not deep fried) or pieces of string cheese as an extra cheese element in addition to what the recipe calls for. A little tabasco also is a good addition.

Dick
 
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Old 03-06-10, 09:17 PM
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Bring water to a boil.
Open blue box.
Remove foil packet <----Very important!
Pour in Mac.
Cook until soft and drain.
While pan is still hot add milk, butter, foil packet, and the secret ingredient: The extra slice of cheese. (I like American )
When all melted, add Mac back and mix.
Salt to taste.
 
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Old 03-06-10, 10:21 PM
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My ultra simple is make a white sauce (flour or cornstarch) melt in grated cheese, add cooked macaroni, season to taste.
 
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Old 03-07-10, 07:37 AM
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Well, I always think simple is best, so I make it just like Ray. and I've also used Tolyn's method when in a hurry.

Nothing personal, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't like Melissa's recipe, so maybe someone else will give it a try and let you know.
 
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Old 03-07-10, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Tolyn Ironhand View Post
Bring water to a boil.
Open blue box.
Remove foil packet <----Very important!
Pour in Mac.
Cook until soft and drain.
While pan is still hot add milk, butter, foil packet, and the secret ingredient: The extra slice of cheese. (I like American )
When all melted, add Mac back and mix.
Salt to taste.

Ha! So you buy the deluxe in that sqatty box and then add a slice of cheese. LOL. Let's hear now what you do to store bought pizzas while we are at it.
 
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Old 03-07-10, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
My ultra simple is make a white sauce (flour or cornstarch) melt in grated cheese, add cooked macaroni, season to taste.
Gimme 5! That's what we're talkin about! Okay - today I buy the grated cheese on sale later. I have the coupon I cut out today. I'm kind of afraid to use the flour that has been in my fridge for the last 15 years (no joke), so I guess I will get a new smallest pouch I can find.

Do you need to add milk to the flour and cheese to make the white sauce? Otherwise what is to keep it from turning to dough, and burning? Or is it water you add? All of the above? None of the above?

Were you the one that was going to try to make "city chicken"?
 
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Old 03-07-10, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Shadeladie View Post
Well, I always think simple is best, so I make it just like Ray. and I've also used Tolyn's method when in a hurry.
Exactly. After all, we Americans today have too much other more important things to do, than slave at the stove. Like being here.

Nothing personal, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't like Melissa's recipe, so maybe someone else will give it a try and let you know.
I sure hope SOMEBODY tries that recipe of hers after all the work she went through.
 
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Old 03-07-10, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Concretemasonry View Post
If you are not a chef, just buy Stouffers macaroni & cheese.
Sure. And I could go out and eat and make it REAL easy.

I actually like to putz at the stove for a few minutes. Gives me a sense of being in control of something I am doing for myself. Making tv dinners, and such stuff, makes me feel kinda lazy.

In the past - hmmm......I wonder how many tons of Stouffer's Lasagna, the 21 oz size, I have downed myself in one sitting.

If you want to cook, go to cooks dot com and search for a macaroni & cheese recipe. There will be many (100+) different ones, so can chose one easy enough for your interest.
But the idea of why me and others come to this message board is so we can interact with those who have done.....who have the experience and know how, of what we ask - saving us time from doing research.

The "crumbles" on the top could be panco bread crumbs (soft crumbs that will toast up crispy)....
I asked a computer friend I know if he heard of such crumbs I described, and he said what you did! So I now bet that is them!

.... or just some onion flavored bread crumbs. I have relatives in Wisconsin that throw in some cheese curds (not deep fried) or pieces of string cheese as an extra cheese element in addition to what the recipe calls for.
Ah yes, good ol Wisconsin and their cheese. But it amazes me how, being in Wisconsin, even by cheese plants, that they don't exactly give away those things.

A little tabasco also is a good addition.
Ya........maybe on raw oysters!
 
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Old 03-07-10, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by riggstad View Post
Elbow mac (or any kind of short noodle) cooked Al dente (or just underdone)

In a separate pan melt a little butter and shredded cheddar cheese in some half and half, constantly stirring so it doesn't stick or glob up. Your heat should be on low. You can use about a cup of cheddar and a quarter cup of half and half. Be sure the half and half is hot (not boiling) before adding the cheese so that it melts rather quickly. You want it to be the consistency of elmer's glue so add half and half or cheese to get that while you are cooking it. (you can also use milk instead of half and half.

Place the noodles in a big mixing bowl and pour in the cheese mixture, add a few pinches of salt, and stir coating the noodles. At this point you can add more cheese (regular shredded cheddar, and/or any type of cheese you wish) you can also add anything else you desire like crumbled up bacon, ham, vegetables, whatever.

Now once that is all mixed up to your liking, you will pour it all into a big baking dish. Before it goes into a preheated oven at 400 degrees, you want to do this....

take a can of bread crumbs and some Parmesan cheese. with two parts of bread crumbs and one part of cheese, you want to put that in a bowl and add a stick of melted butter. mix it all up and then crumble it onto the top of the noodles in the baking dish. this is the crunchy topping you like so much.

Put that into the oven and let cook for about 15 minutes or until the top is brown and crunchy.

Simple and delicious!
I have been reading all posts in reverse. Just saw this. I believe this is the winner(of what I had in mind). This is I believe THE way it is done. We will record this recipe and go for it.

Now, I wonder how many small kids have ever had real mac n cheese like this, rather than the store bought? And I wonder if they would like it - or, prefer the store bought, until maybe they got to be an adult, where they'd maybe learn to like such stuff as - beets, avacodo, lima beans, black olives, liver, mushrooms and shrimp......even Lutefisk for some. (Stuff I all hated as a kid)
 
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Old 03-07-10, 02:59 PM
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Lurefisk is still on my bad list. I have a gag reflex and cannot enter a building with Lutefisk in it. - And I am mainly Norwegian.

I do pay $22.00 for lunch once a month (If I reserve early enough, which is rare since the limit is 350 people) to get fresh, never frozen, flown in Cod that is served baked with butter, red potatoes, flat bread and Akavit(sp?). It is a classic "white on white" meal. I have been on the waiting list for membership in the group (Norske Torske Klubben) for over a year and am getting close. The cod is not at all like Lutefisk or fried cod on a Friday night at the Elks or VFW.

I still reach for the Stouffers mac & cheese and go to the microwave and add the tabasco and Panco crumbs before the last cook (uncovered).

If it is good, it probably is worth the effort.

Dick
 
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Old 03-07-10, 03:10 PM
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Yeah..lets see..dried fish soaked in lye....oh yeah thats on my favorites list...lol.

I had some stuff in Iceland that was probably the same thing...uhhhhhh..no thanks.
 
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Old 03-07-10, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Shadeladie View Post
Nothing personal, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't like Melissa's recipe, so maybe someone else will give it a try and let you know.
I wouldn't have suggested it if it wasn't a family favorite. My six year old and husband ask for it by name. I saw it on one of Rachael Ray's episodes and started drooling immediately. I do use fresh spinach vs. frozen, it is an extra step to let it cook down.
 
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Old 03-07-10, 05:18 PM
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Melissa...I want to try it...if I can get the ingredients...might be tough out here.
 
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Old 03-07-10, 06:32 PM
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Gun guy -

Just go to a good Italian grocery the next time you are in Phoenix. Most keep very well.

The pasta shape is not absolute. The the ratio of area to weight is important to get the absorption.

There are some close substitutes for Copocolla. Google for them. There may be some Spanish substitutes since some of the best (and most expensive) preserved ham in the world comes from Spain.

The fresh Mozzarella could be a challenge, but Buffalo Mozzarella could be substituted.

With all those ingredients, a little close substitution will not be noticed appreciably.

Dick
 
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Old 03-08-10, 07:13 AM
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My kids (I have 4) love my mac and cheese. But It has to be just cheddar only. My wife loves it when I use the other cheese like blue, gorgonzola, feta, etc...

BTW, if you don't already know, Country Crock sells a premade mac and cheese in a tub. It's like their margarine tubs and you can find it in the deli isle or the dairy isle of a supermarket.

This stuff is soooo rich and just plain fantastic. It's simple as well. just cut the film off put the lid back on and microwave for 6 minutes. Really good and easy stuff.
 
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Old 03-08-10, 07:57 AM
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Three cheers for the Gorgonzola !!! I will try it next time I make or doctor up mac & cheese.

I do add a little bit on my white sauce "take and bake" pizza from Papa Murphy's. (probably a regional brand)

Dick
 
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Old 03-30-10, 05:03 PM
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Super easy

I have 4 kids who love this mac & cheese and it's super easy and fast to whip up. Probably not the healthiest thing out there, but who wants healthy mac & chz? I boil elbow pasta til al dente & drain. While the pasta is cooking I open a box of velveeta cheese and chop it into about half inch cubes. After the pasta is drained but still warm, I put the pot back on the stove on low and and the chz and some milk until you get the consistency you like. I usually also add grated parmesan. When all the cheese is melted I spray a 13 x 9 pan really well w/ Pam & then pour in the mac & cheese. Then I sprinkle on some shredded cheddar along with some Panko bread crumbs tossed in a little melted butter and put it under the broiler until the cheese melts and the bread crumbs toast up. Yum.
 
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Old 04-02-10, 03:41 PM
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That sounds easy enough. I know right where to find these recipes.

Right now though, suddenly, I am being all mac'ed out. I have been eating lots of the store brand stuff. Then I have altered it by boiling up giant elbow noodles instead. Then for some odd reason - ever since I started this thread, the deli I eat at, suddenly is having that homemade mac and cheese more often.
 
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Old 04-03-10, 10:56 AM
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Stage 1 is set. Last night I went out and bought that soft store-brand brick cheese. Maybe tonight I will try it. I might try it stovetop only at first, without doing the baking part. I'm kind of lazy.
 
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Old 04-09-10, 07:30 PM
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I made it, a number of days ago. Good enough, just like that. But I may try going all the way with the baking part and sprinkling that stuff ontop, one of these days.
 
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Old 04-21-10, 03:14 PM
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If you use the blue box, one method I did to get about 80 grams of protein in the bowl is Boil the pasta, add the cheese, 2 hardboiled eggs, adn one can of drained tuna. Add mayonnaise to taste and stir.
 
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Old 04-22-10, 04:46 PM
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Got this low fat mac and cheese recipe from Pillsbury.com. INGREDIENTS
Casserole
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni (8 oz)
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
2 cups fat-free (skim) milk
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion or 2 teaspoons dried minced onion
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups shredded reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese (8 oz)
Topping
2 tablespoons Progresso® plain bread crumbs
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons olive or vegetable oil
DIRECTIONS
1. In 3-quart saucepan, cook and drain macaroni as directed on package. Return to saucepan; stir in sour cream. Cover to keep warm.
2. Meanwhile, heat oven to 350°F. Spray 8-inch square (2-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. In 2-quart saucepan, stir milk, onion, flour, mustard, seasoned salt, red pepper and black pepper with wire whisk until smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils and thickens. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese until melted.
3. Add cheese sauce to cooked macaroni mixture; mix well. Spoon into baking dish. In small bowl, mix topping ingredients until crumbly. Sprinkle over casserole.
4. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until edges are bubbly.
High Altitude (3500-6500 ft): Bake 25 to 30 minutes.

High Altitude (3500-6500 ft):
Bake 25 to 30 minutes.
 
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Old 04-22-10, 05:41 PM
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I hate to tell ya, but -#1, there is no way I am ambitious enough to make my way through half that recipe. (Thanks for going through the effort though, trying to help me - maybe someone else here will take you up on it).

And #2, I have had so much mac n cheese lately, that I think I am starting to get tired of it. Now my boss is givng me left-overs from their meals, since all 3 of their kids have moved out. Yum. What a cook his wife is. Tonight I will eat another 1/2 pint of delicious dip and chips for an appetizer, and then polish off that dish he gave me.
 
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Old 04-23-10, 04:42 PM
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No problem, I get emails from Pillsbury. All I did was copy and paste it here.
 
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Old 08-29-10, 12:54 PM
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Coincidence, or........?

Have you heard where Kraft either is or has come out with their bake-in-the-oven, homestyle mac n cheese - includes package of crumbs to sprinkle on top? Wonder if the powers that be popped in on this website/thread?

They refer to such dishes as "comfort food". I wonder what the exact definition of comfort food is. I feel pretty comfortable eating lots of various food, actually. I like to eat, and sometimes have a bad habit of swallowing the food almost whole, when I am hungry and the food is absolutely delicious.
 
 

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