Cooks struggling to make a side dish that can satisfy the whole family would be hard pressed to find anyone who can turn down macaroni and cheese. This popular dish can satisfy even the pickiest kids and adults, and with so many box varieties available, even the busiest households can always make time for some mac and cheese.
However, home chefs may find themselves wanting to get more creative with the traditional macaroni and cheese recipe without alienating their family’s taste buds. Or, cooks may prefer making the popular side dish with real cheeses, rather than the processed powders typically available in boxed macaroni and cheese varieties. The macaroni and cheese recipe below provides a relatively easy alternative to the typical powdered cheese meals available at local grocery stores, and the taste will be enough of a hit to break families from the boxed mac and cheese habit forever.
Hearty Baked Macaroni and Cheese Recipe
- ¼ cup butter
- ½ cup flour
- 3 cups milk
- 1 ½ cups cheese, shredded, grated, or chunked (see below)
- ½ teaspoon seasoned salt
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon dry mustard
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ½ cup bread crumbs
- 8 ounces macaroni, cooked and drained
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat
- Gradually blend in flour and stir repeatedly
- Add milk. Continue stirring to ensure that the milk does not scald
- Add seasonings and stir mixture until thickened
- Add 1 ½ cup of the shredded, grated, or cubed cheese of your choice (see below)
- Cook macaroni in large saucepan and drain when tender
- Return macaroni to saucepan. Pour cheese sauce over macaroni and stir well
- Pour the macaroni and cheese mixture into an 11 X 7 baking dish and sprinkle bread crumbs on top
- Bake for 15 minutes. Serve warm.
This recipe should yield 6-8 servings.
Beyond Everyday Macaroni and Cheese
Most macaroni and cheese recipes typically call for shredded cheddar, but creative cooks should feel free to experiment in this area based on budget and family tastes. Gouda, Colby, Monterey jack, or gorgonzola cheeses can give the traditional macaroni and cheese recipe a nice “kick” that can be a welcome departure from cheddar.
And cooks looking for something to do with that leftover ham or roast beef can cube or shred those meats into this macaroni and cheese dish, turning an ever-popular side into a hearty main dish for all.
Macaroni and cheese doesn’t have to conjure up thoughts of boxes filled with powdered fake cheese. With a few simple ingredients and very little effort, cooks can create an original macaroni and cheese dish that makes for an exciting side dish or a unique meal centerpiece.
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