Shaping Macaroni Noodles By Hand
Equipment: rolling pin or pasta roller and a thin dowel like a wooden skewer or even a chop stick.
You can shape the macaroni by hand by following these steps:
- Roll the pasta dough out out very thinly
- Cut the dough into a grid of 1cm by 1cm squares
- Take each square and roll is around your thin dowel, pressing the ends together to close it into a tube
- Gently slide it off the dowel onto a flat floured surface in a single layer so it doesnt stick
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Southern Baked Macaroni And Cheese Recipe
The easiest, most delicious Southern Baked Macaroni and Cheese recipe! A simple combination of milk, cheese, butter, pasta and eggs is finished with bread crumbs for an easy side dish that pairs beautifully with just about any meal from a summer barbecue picnic to a Thanksgiving feast. Enjoy this comfort food all year long!
Few dishes rival macaroni and cheese when it comes to popular sides. Whether you like it with elbow pasta or rotini, cheddar or Velveeta, this versatile and easy recipe is a crowd-pleasing option for any occasion!
To Bake Or Not To Bake:
You dont have to bake the mac and cheese in this recipe. Everything gets fully cooked and is essentially ready to eat after the cheese and noodles are added. However, I love the extra gooeyness that comes when the cheese is baked and I think baking it adds a level of sophistication you just dont get without.
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Tips For The Best Baked Mac And Cheese
- Shred your own cheese. I know its so much easier to buy pre-shredded cheese, but its actually coated in an anti-caking substance which messes with how nicely it melts.
- Do not overcook the pasta. In fact, its best to slightly undercook the pasta by about a minute. Also, allow the pasta to cool slightly before mixing with the bubbly cheese sauce.
- Time permitting, allow the milk and half-and-half to come to room temperature before very slowly whisking into the roux.
- Use your favorite cheese. I used classics like mozzarella, cheddar, parmesan, and Gruyere. Pepper Jack cheese, crumbled feta, or even dollops of goat cheese would taste fantastic.
- Macaroni and cheese is traditionally made with elbow macaroni, but any short pasta will work.
The Best Cheeses For Baked Mac And Cheese
As I mentioned above, the secret to creamy baked mac and cheese is Velveeta cheese! This American cheese just melts smoother than other cheeses and gives the sauce that creamy mouthfeel that we’re all looking for. I’ve found that an equal ratio of cheddar cheese and Velveeta cheese yields the best of both worlds — a smooth, creamy mac and cheese with plenty of rich, sharp cheddar flavor.
If you like a combination of other cheeses, you can feel free to replace some of the cheddar with other good melting cheeses. Try Gruyere, Pepper Jack or Monterey Jack, gouda, smoked gouda, Swiss, or mozzarella. The options are endless, so pick your favorites!
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Tips For The Best Baked Macaroni And Cheese Recipe
- Boil the pasta in very well-salted water. The salt in the water seasons the noodles, adding flavor to the dish.
- Cook the pasta just until it’s al dente — almost tender, but still firm to the bite. You don’t want to completely cook the noodles until they’re tender, because they will continue baking in the oven.
- Allow the cheese, butter, milk, sour cream and eggs to come to room temperature before adding them to the recipe. They will blend together smoothly if they’re not cold.
- Start with blocks of cheese that you grate yourself at home, rather than using bags of pre-shredded cheese from the store. The pre-shredded cheese includes stabilizers and other ingredients to prevent the cheese from clumping, which inhibits its ability to melt smoothly in the dish.
- If you prefer a crispier, darker brown top on your mac and cheese, place the dish under the broiler during the final minute or two of baking. Just be sure to keep a close eye on it so that the bread crumb topping doesn’t burn.
- Cooking for a smaller family? Cut all of the ingredients in half and bake the casserole in an 8-inch square dish.
Tips For The Best Baked Macaroni And Cheese
Grate your own cheese. Yes, it’s worth the extra time to take a block of cheese and grate your own. Shredded cheese is handy, but it’s often coated with a very fine powder to keep the shreds from sticking together in the bag. That powder coating also happens to keep the cheese from melting as well as it could. But freshly-grated cheese will melt like a dream.
Cook the pasta to al dente. Since the mac and cheese has to bake for a bit longer in the oven, you don’t want to risk the pasta turning to mush. Cook the pasta to al dente so that it finishes cooking to the perfect texture while the mac and cheese bakes.
Warm the milk. Don’t skip the step of warming milk before you add it to the flour and butter mixture. Cold milk with make the flour mixture seize and turn clumpy. It will be difficult to get it smooth again before the next step.
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How To Make Homemade Macaroni And Cheese:
- Boil the noodles. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water really well. Add the noodles and cook until just before al dente. The noodles need to have some bite so they dont turn to mush while baking in the sauce later.
- Make the cheese sauce. The cheese sauce is made by mixing flour and seasonings into melted butter. Whisk in some milk and cook until nice and thick. Once removed from the heat, add in the cheese and cream cheese.
- Bake. This helps the cheese bake into the macaroni noodles. A couple minutes under the broiler gives a nice crisp cheese topping.
What You Need To Make Baked Mac And Cheese:
Really simple ingredients in this one, and lots of room to adapt the recipe to make it your own. For this macaroni and cheese recipe, youll need:
- Elbow Macaroni other shapes will work, as will whole wheat pasta. We havent tested this with a grain-free pasta, but it would probably work. Of course, the texture would be slightly different.
- 1 pound of shredded cheese we like extra sharp cheddar, but you can use many types of cheese. We always recommend shredding your own cheese fo the best texture , but pre-grated will work in a pinch.
- Flour this helps the mac and cheese thicken up.
- Ground mustard this is totally optional but it adds depth to the flavor. You can also use dijon mustard if you dont have ground mustard.
- Milk whole, 2%, skimtheyll all work
- Butter helps you get that golden brown top on the macaroni and cheese!
- Salt and Pepper always! You wont need a lot of salt since cheese is salty.
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How Do You Doctor Up Boxed Mac And Cheese
15 Easy Ways to Upgrade Boxed Mac & Cheese for Last-Minute Dinners Broccoli + Shredded Chicken. Bacon + Peas + Egg. Garlic + Pickled JalapeÃ±os. Mushrooms + Thyme + Grated GruyÃ¨re. Pesto + Sun-Dried Tomatoes. Kimchi + Bacon + Chopped Scallions. Cherry Tomatoes + Basil + Mozzarella. Spicy Italian Sausage + Onions + Marinara.
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Variations Of Crock Pot Mac And Cheese
- Pasta Shapes to mimic the classic recipe, I normally use elbow pasta. But any short-cut pasta works just as well! Medium shells, penne, rotini, etc. Just note that different pastas will have slightly different cook times, so use the recipe times as an approximate.
- Cooking Liquids like I mentioned above, I prefer the taste and consistency of chicken broth, evaporated milk and heavy cream. However, feel free to test out different proportions of those liquids, or try out different liquids. Just note that I can only vouch for this recipe as written.
- Cheeses As with most mac and cheese recipes, the types of cheese called for are not the only ones you can use. Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, Colby, Gruyere, sharp cheddar any and all!
- Seasonings feel free to add in additional seasonings that you love in your mac and cheese.
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Can Mac N Cheese Be Made Ahead
This is really best served immediately, but if you need to make it ahead, here is what I recommend:
If you need to buy yourself a little extra time, keep it warm in the oven on the lowest possible setting.
You *could* assemble it and keep it in the fridge or freezer, but I find the above method preferable because the macaroni will absorb a lot of the sauce as it sits.
Mac And Cheese Tip #: Its All About The Cheese
But you already knew that, right? Not all macaroni and cheese recipes are created equal. Our recipe is all about that cheesy triple threat combo! Our mac and cheese recipe gets a major flavor boost from Tillamook Farmstyle Thick Cut Triple Cheddar Shredded Cheese! A mouthwatering mixture of medium white cheddar cheese, sharp cheddar cheese and medium cheddar cheese, Tillamook Triple Cheddar Cheese makes ours the very best mac and cheese recipe out there!
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Easy Mac And Cheese Recipe Ingredients
- Elbow MacaroniReally, you can use any small pasta shape. However, macaroni is in the title so I usually stick with it.
- Butter For the roux thickening mixture and the panko breadcrumbs. You can use salted or unsalted butter.
- FlourTo thicken the cheese sauce. Its very important to use a small amount of flour and to cook it well, so the sauce isnt grainy in texture.
- Half & Half The base of the cheese sauce! In a pinch, you can use whole milk, but do not use low-fat milk.
- Sharp CheddarFreshly grated off the block. Pre-shredded cheeses often have preservatives or anti-caking chemicals that cause them not to melt as well.
- MuensterFreshly grated, for the same reason as above.
- Cream CheeseMac and Cheese with Cream Cheese has a much silkier texture than versions relying just on flour for thickening. Use full fat, please. Theres no need to use low-fat cream cheese, when you are also using two other cheeses and half & half. *wink*
- Garlic PowderFor that little extra something.
- Panko BreadcrumbsThe topper for the baked version.
- Salt & Pepper To taste.
How To Make Macaroni And Cheese
This recipe has 3 main parts:
Lets start with the pasta!
I like to use elbow macaroni for this recipe, because its traditional and I love the way the little hole in the middle fills up with creamy cheese sauce. YUM!
But you can use whatever type of pasta you like. Just be sure to boil it in lots of well-salted water , and undercook it slightly. Drain the noodles one minute before the directions on the box say. This will help your final product to be extra-creamy and delish!
Toss the macaroni in a little bit of butter while its still hot, to keep it from sticking together while you prepare the other components.
- Extra-sharp Cheddar
To me, these 3 cheeses, along with the spices in the cream sauce, combine for the perfect balance. But you can feel free to sub in any of your favorites!
I also think these would be great choices:
- American Cheese
Just to name a few!
Whatever you decide to use, do yourself a favor and grate it yourself. Dont buy the pre-shredded stuff! It contains additives that prevent it from melting smoothly. Its so much creamier when you take a few extra minutes to shred your own cheese. I run mine through the food processor and its done in seconds.
THE CREAMY SAUCE
Once your noodles are boiled and your cheese is shredded, its time to start the sauce.
Begin by making a roux . This sounds fancy but its just melted butter mixed with flour. It will thicken the sauce, give it body, and make it so velvety.
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Best Cheese For Baked Mac And Cheese
Dont be scared when using cheese for this recipe. I used three types of cheeses to grace every noodle of this dish. For the best flavor, I highly recommend adding a sharp cheddar to your baked mac and cheese. Just a warning though, dont use the pre-shredded bagged cheese as it has preservatives that make it drier compared to fresh-grated cheese.
Sharp cheddar cheese, mozzarella, jack cheese, are my top fave. Or you can also use pepper jack cheese, gouda, fontina, and Gruyere.
How Much Do I Love Kraft Mac And Cheese
I loveKraft Mac and Cheese . I will eat it hot, cold, leftover, for breakfast, and even massively expired, apparently:
And although it will taste fine if you just follow the instructions on the blue box, I always use four simple tricks to make it so much creamier and even more delicious! Trust me, once I show you how to make box Mac and Cheese better, you wont want to go back to the box instructions.
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How To Make Without An Oven
Tips For The Best Mac & Cheese
Freshly grated cheese dont use pre shredded. They have anti caking agents that can make the sauce grainy.
No bloated overcooked pasta Cool macaroni slightly and lightly coat in butter. This stops the macaroni from absorbing more liquid while baking, resulting in bloated overcooked pasta and less sauce.
To avoid lumps in your sauce, stir constantly as you slowly pour the milk in and keep stirring once the milk is all added. If necessary, switch to a whisk to get rid of stubborn little lumps!
Plenty of sauce Because I like my Mac and Cheese saucy, not dried up so you can cut it like cake!
Can you make Mac and Cheese ahead of time? Most recipes are not suitable for making ahead, but this recipe is! The best way is to cool pasta then toss with sauce and adding breadcrumb topping. Cool, refrigerate or freeze then bake on the day of .
How long can Mac and Cheese stay in the fridge? Unlike most, this Macaroni Cheese recipe is good for 3 to 5 days in the fridge. Most Mac and Cheese will not keep well because theres not enough sauce so it gets absorbed by the pasta and youre left with dry, sauceless pasta.
Freezing? Yes! Assemble, cool, do not bake, just freeze it. Thaw then on the day of, bake per Note 5 in the recipe.
Add ins? This recipe is great as it is, but theres tons of add-in options. Add shredded chicken, sautéed onion and bell peppers/capsicum, bacon, hot sauce , dried herbs of choice.
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Creamy Easy Baked Mac And Cheese
Ooey, gooey and oh-so-cheesy! This creamy, easy baked mac and cheese is the best mac and cheese recipe that you’ll ever taste. A made-from-scratch sauce with two different types of cheese creates the smoothest, richest, creamiest casserole. Kids and adults devour this old-fashioned, homemade side dish, which pairs nicely with everything from Thanksgiving turkey to Christmas ham, fried chicken, meatloaf, and pork chops.
Baked Macaroni And Cheese
No holiday meal should go without a casserole dish of Baked Macaroni and Cheese! This creamy mac and cheese is loaded with three types of cheese and topped with a crispy panko topping.
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Did you grow up eating stovetop or baked mac and cheese?
Or were you like me and grew up eating a little bit of both?
I dont know about you, but stovetop mac and cheese has always been the go-to for the average weeknight dinner. Its pretty quick and easy and can be on the table in under 30 minutes.
But the baked stuffthat was always for special occasions. Holidays, extended family dinners, celebrations thats when you pull out the baked mac and cheese.
I dont know if its the crispy topping that makes it seem fancy or just the extra step of baking it that makes me turn to it for holidays, but let me tell you something:
This particular Baked Macaroni and Cheese recipe makes me think I need to go for the baked version way more often.
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