A few weeks ago, I picked up my friend Marcella's daughter Neeysa from school and made them homemade mac & cheese. Of course, I decided that night - it also happened to be a Monday - that this should be a new segment for us. But I was so busy running between the stove top and the kitchen table where Neeysa was doing her homework and totally forgot to take pictures or be prepared in any way to write a post about it.
So tonight, I'm writing to you from my Grandma's kitchen! Say HI to my Grandma!!!
It's strange (and a little difficult) to cook in a new kitchen. But Grandma had everything I needed to make her a homemade mac & cheese. I had to hunt for a whisk for a little while and I had to google how many cups of dry macaroni was in a pound of pasta.
But it all worked out in the end.
Here's how it goes....
In a pot, melt the butter and add the flour until it's smooth.
Then add in salt, pepper, and garlic powder. The recipe says add salt and pepper to taste. And while I can appreciate that everyone is different, I kind of wish that there were amounts listed. I halved the recipe, so I would guess that about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper should do. Of course, I didn't put nearly that much in.
After your spices are added, slowly add in the milk.
Stir constantly until thickened. You'll be able to tell when it's right.... Don't ask me how - I just waited until I thought it looked right.
|You can tell when it's thickened up because it'll kind of look like this|
|Look at how it coats the whisk|
Then you add shredded cheddar a bit at a time and stir until it's all melted together.
It's actually kind of glorious.
|Ahhhh - glorious cheese sauce. I could put you on pasta, toast, potatoes - straight into my mouth|
Add in some cooked macaroni and stir until it's all coated.
Oh - and PS. I bought the cheap no-name brand of macaroni and I'll NEVER do it again. Ever. It all stuck together in a clump and made me mad.
After the glorious cheese sauce and pasta are all mixed together, pour it into a oven-safe dish.
Crush up some Ritz crackers into crumbs (I used Grandma's handy little mini-chopper. I have one of these at home and was delighted when I found hers!). Then add in one tablespoon of butter and mix until combined.
Top the cheesy pasta with the Ritz cracker and butter mixture.
Pop it in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, until the topping is browned and the cheese is bubbling.
Our thoughts? It was really good! Quick and easy and not overly complicated. The cheese sauce was smooth and creamy. Although it did need more salt (but keep in mind I only threw in a dash or so).
It was a perfect way to kick of the segment and is the very first mac and cheese I've ever made from scratch! (Did I mention that?)
This is the Cane Girl - signing off.
Macaroni & Cheese Casserole
1 pound macaroni pasta
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon onion powder
Salt & pepper to taste
5 cups milk (whole or 2%)
4 cups (16 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
15 Ritz crackers, crushed into crumbs
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cook the pasta to al dente according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk until smooth.
- Add the salt, pepper, and onion powder.
- Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly.
- Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens and begins to boil.
- Add the cheese a bit at a time and stir until melted.
- Stir in the cooked pasta until well-coated.
- Pour the pasta-cheese mixture into a 9x13 baking dish.
- Combine the Ritz crumbs and butter. Sprinkle over top of the pasta-cheese mixture.
- Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until bubbling and the top is golden.
- Let stand for about 10 minutes and serve.