Helena Ricketts is a freelance writer currently living in Indiana who loves writing about cooking.
Homemade Mac & Cheese... the Easy Way!
There are a million and one recipes out there for homemade baked macaroni and cheese. What is the difference between the baked version and the version that you cook on top of your stove? A LOT. There is a huge difference between the two and taste is only the beginning.
Boxed macaroni and cheese has a lot of really bad ingredients. Things that you and I can't even pronounce unless we have a masters degree in chemistry. Look at the ingredients label on a box of this stuff the next time you are at the grocery store and you'll see exactly what I'm referring to.
This homemade version is quite different from what is inside the box that you purchase at the store. Four simple ingredients grace this little mix of heaven. Macaroni, extra sharp cheddar cheese, evaporated milk and pepper. That's it. You don't need Yellow no. 5 coloring or tratrazine to create happiness. What the heck is tratazine anyway?
Mac and cheese is supposed to be comfort food. It's supposed to be nourishing, stick to your ribs kinda food that makes you feel good when you eat it. It's not supposed to be processed junk food, which is exactly what has happened over the years with the development of artificial colors and flavorings. Powdered cheese is not real cheese anymore.
This recipe makes enough for a side serving for four people or enough for a meal for two. The top is browned and the inside is nice and creamy. I used whole grain Barilla macaroni for this batch but you can use the original white pasta and any shape will work just fine. Sometimes I use penne or spirals because I love the way the cheese sticks to it.
I hope you try this recipe and I also hope that you thoroughly enjoy it!
Happy, healthy eating!
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|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
1 hour 15 min
4 side dish or 2 main dish servings
Ingredients for Baked Mac and Cheese
- 1 1/2 cups pasta, whole grain or white
- 2 cups shredded extra sharp cheddar, shred a block yourself for stronger flavor
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup evaporated milk
How to Make Easy Homemade Baked Macaroni and Cheese
- Boil the pasta according to package directions. Any type of pasta will work for this recipe. I used whole grain but vegetable or white pasta will work too.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Put half of the cooked pasta into an oven safe dish.
- Cover the top of the pasta that is in the dish with half of the cheese.
- Add the second half of the cooked pasta to the dish on top of the layer of cheese.
- Now you'll add the rest of the cheese to the top of the second layer of cooked pasta.
- Pour the evaporated milk over the top of the pasta/cheese layers.
- Season to your liking with salt and pepper.
- Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil or use the oven safe lid for your pan.
- Put the macaroni and cheese into the oven and cook at 350 degrees for between 30 to 45 minutes until the cheese is melted and combined with the evaporated milk. The mac and cheese will look creamy and melty at this point.
- Return the dish to the oven, without the lid. You are wanting to allow the top to brown. It will take approximately 15 minutes for the top of the macaroni and cheese to turn a nice crispy brown.
- Once the top is browned, remove the mac and cheese from the oven and allow it to cool for a few minutes before dishing it out and devouring.
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Variations to Change it Up!
One of the greatest things about cooking from scratch is that you can omit or add anything that you want to the recipes that you are making. Don't like cheddar cheese? That's fine! You can change it up and use a nice colby or swiss.
One of the interesting things that can be done with this recipe is that it can easily be changed into a full meal by simply adding a vegetable if you are a vegetarian or a protein for those of you that love meat. Diced chicken or ground beef can quickly turn this into a nice cheesy casserole that would be great alongside a green salad. Go big with adding lobster meat, which just happens to be my personal favorite.
Broccoli, diced tofu or even spinach can turn this into an excellent meal for any vegetarian out there. By simply adding one more ingredient, homemade macaroni and cheese becomes a quick and easy meal that is just simply fantastic.
© 2014 Helena Ricketts