Baked Mac and Cheese

Mac n cheese oh how I love thee. I have to admit, I went through a funk when I couldn’t bring myself to eat it anymore. I was sick of it. How on earth could someone get sick of warm cheesey goodness? Maybe an alien had taken over my body. I’ve been using that excuse for a lot of things lately.

This is a perfect cold rainy day dish that requires minimal effort. I’ve gone through several phases in making this, changing the toppings, keeping it simple or adding a new ingredient. There are tons of possibilities. You can try out different cheeses, use one or several. Try out different toppings or none at all. Toss in some sausage, veggies, bacon or all of it.

For years I made this topped off with crushed plain chips but now I use plain bread crumbs. Either is fine or you can go without. Until sometime over this last year, I always made this as a straight mac n cheese. No extra ingredients. One day Josh asked for sausage pieces thrown in. I thought, okay that’s weird but whatever. I didn’t want to chance my serving being ruined so I cooked up some breakfast sausage and put it one area of the dish. Honestly, it wasn’t bad at all but not something I’d do all the time. Then I got it in my head last Fall that I must try bacon mac n cheese. Oooh so good, but again, not something I’d do all the time. If you love bacon, do it. Try it at least once but remember that you can never go wrong with a basic mac n cheese.

Baked Mac and Cheese

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Main Course
Keyword: Cheese, Pasta

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 - 3 Cups pasta
  • 3 1/2 - 4 Cups sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 Tb unsalted butter
  • 2 Tb all purpose flour
  • 1 Cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350F°. Shred your cheese and set aside. If you don't have the means to shred, you can cut up blocks of cheese into small chunks with a knife. 
  • Cook pasta according to the box directions.
  • While your pasta cooks, melt your butter in a double boiler. Toss in the flour and combine. Add about half of your milk, stir. Toss in a handful of cheese, stir well. It will take a bit to melt, be patient but continue to stir. Add in the rest of your milk, stir again. Toss in the remainder of your cheese. Stir until you get a nice and smooth creamy texture. Add salt and pepper, stir again. Reduce your heat to low, continuing to stir occasionally.
  • If you are adding extra ingredients: lighter ingredients, such as bacon or small veggies, add into your cheese mixture now. If you are adding heavier items such as sausage, hold off and mix it in during the next step.
  • Prepare your baking dish, spray with oil. I usually use a 1 1/2qt dish. Fill your dish up half way with pasta and all of your cheese. Mix pasta and cheese well. *Add in sausage now, if doing so. Add remaining pasta as desired.
  • Top off your mac n cheese with extra shredded cheese, crushed chips or bread crumbs. Cook for about 30-35 minutes.

Notes

An original recipe from Baked by Rachel

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One Response to “Baked Mac and Cheese”

  1. #
    1
    John D. — February 24, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    Looks really terrific, yum! But always leave off the bread crumbs/chips… those two things will totally ruin a great mac & cheese. This has been a public service announcement from the Society for the Preservation of Mac & Cheese Worldwide. =)

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