Favorite Mac and Cheese

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It’s getting colder and grayer – I knew we would be paying for all those gorgeous, blue sky days.  Seriously, I do love fall…it’s just that I know what will be coming next…the dreaded season that starts with “w.” Why can’t winter just be around during the week, you know, and then every weekend, we get a different season. I probably would grow fond of winter then. It’s like how my favorite day used to be Friday because the next day would be Saturday, and I did not like Sunday much (even though it’s still the weekend) because the next day would be Monday. Does that make sense? :)

One thing I do love about colder weather though is that it totally calls for comfort foods. They rank pretty close up there along with hot cocoa and snuggling under the comforter. I think most of us would agree that one of the top quintessential comfort foods is mac and cheese. I mean what’s not to love? Pasta coated with all that warm, cheesy mixture…do I really need to say any more? Enjoy!

{Adapted from the Macaroni and Cheese recipe in The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook}
1 (1-pound) package dried elbow macaroni
½ cup unsalted butter
½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne
4 cups whole milk
8 ounces Colby Jack cheese, shredded
8 ounces extra sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add a generous amount of salt in the water. Add the dried macaroni and boil for 12 minutes until tender but firm. Drain and remove to a 9″ x 13″ baking dish. In the same pot (which is now empty), melt the butter over medium-low to medium heat. Whisk in flour, mustard powder, garlic powder, and cayenne until smooth. Continue to cook for 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Gradually whisk in milk, increase heat to medium-high, and continue to cook and whisk constantly until mixture is thick and starting to bubble under the surface. Reduce heat to medium and stir in cheese until it melts. Turn off heat and stir in the cooked macaroni until evenly combined. Then, pour the macaroni mixture back into the 9″ x 13″ baking dish and bake, uncovered, for 30 to 35 minutes until bubbly. If you would like the top browned, turn on the broiler for an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Let the dish rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. 

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{Stovetop version}
Increase flour by 2 tablespoons to a total of ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons
Increase mustard powder and garlic powder slightly (but truly it’s up to personal preference) – I would up them to a slightly heaped teaspoon each
Increase cayenne powder slightly as well – hence, a slightly heaped ¼ teaspoon

The other ingredients and the entire cooking process remain the same, except the final baking step is omitted. The dish is done once you stir in the macaroni.

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One Reply to “Favorite Mac and Cheese”

  1. Great mind think alike! I also made mac & cheese for dinner last night. My kids love mac & cheese ;o)

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