As long as I can remember, my mother has been making this macaroni and cheese recipe. It is so infamous (and yes, that is the right word because it is devilishly good) amongst family and friends that she is often asked to bring it to events. Just last summer we were at a big backyard BBQ and all these people had brought large exotic salads, but my mother knew better and brought her mac ‘n’ cheese. Sure enough, I was standing in line to get some food and I overheard a couple of kids discussing what they were going to eat. Their little brother comes trotting back with a plate full of food and says “guys, don’t worry, they have macaroni and cheese too”. Its the ultimate comfort food for kids and adults alike. I take this to big get-togethers all the time and I’m never surprised how fast it is gone. Its also great dish to make ahead if you have company coming.
With its crunchy, crisp crust and cheesy gooey insides, just thinking about it is making me hungry for just a wee bite (Which is next to impossible. You’ll always go back for more with this stuff…if it’s still there)
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- 2-1/4 cups cheddar cheese, grated
- 2 cups elbow macaroni, cooked, drained
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- salt & pepper
- 12 Ritz or similar crackers, crushed (about ½ cup of crumbs)
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Boil salted water and cook enough macaroni to make 2 cups cooked. Drain and set aside. Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Melt the butter in large saucepan on medium heat. Add flour and whisk for a few minutes while it is cooking.
- When it has thickened, gradually whisk in the milk.
- Bring to boil and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
- Add in 2 cups of the cheese and whisk it in. Add in the dijon mustard and some freshly ground pepper. Give it a taste and season if needed.
- Add in the cooked macaroni and pour into a lightly greased 1-1/2-qt. baking dish.
- Sprinkle the top with crushed cracker crumbs.
- Sprinkle with the remaining ¼ of cheese.
- Bake it for 30-40 min until top is browned and everything is heated through.
Time to make a nice roux. Melt the butter in large saucepan on medium heat. Add flour and whisk for a few minutes while it is cooking.
When it has thickened, gradually whisk in the milk. Bring to boil and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
Add in 2 cups of the cheese and whisk it in.
Now its time for a little dijon mustard and some freshly ground pepper. Give it a taste and check for salt here. I tend to like mine just a little saltier than my mother makes it, but go by your own taste.
Toss the macaroni in with the glorious cheese sauce and give it all a final stir.
Pour into a lightly greased 1-1/2-qt. baking dish.
Sprinkle the top with crushed cracker crumbs. I like to use Ritz or saltines, but you can use any type of cracker that you like.
Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 of cheese. Now this is the time that you can set it aside to pop in the oven later. Otherwise, bake it for 30-40 min at 400°F until top is browned and everything is heated through.
Just think about all that cheese melting. Sooooo good.
This recipe is such a heart warmer, that my mom also packages it up to give to friends who need a pick-me-up, or to send home with a starving university student (Hi Sis!). These little foil baking dishes with lids are perfect because they can be frozen if you want to wait to make it later, and they go right into the oven. Simply tape a little note with the baking instructions and they’re good to go.
Serves 6 (one cup portions)