I know you've been waiting since yesterday for this macaroni and cheese recipe. You've been sitting at work, wondering "when will Mara be posting that recipe?" Yeah. Right.
I did promise that you'd get it though, and I'm not one to go back on a promise!
Once our guest list for our 4th of July party was confirmed, there was one thing that absolutely HAD to be on the menu, and that one thing was macaroni and cheese. We were having two small kids over, and one of them was Skylar who has been nicknamed the "Queen of Mac and Cheese". I asked her what she wanted to eat when she came over, and she said "mac and cheese." So, I had to make it.
I could've just gone with a boxed mix and they would've been ok with it, but I figured, if I'm going to do it, I might as well do it right. This included purchasing things I haven't bought in months: full-fat cheese, white pasta, bread crumbs, half and half. I perused a few recipes, and decided to just wing it.
To say it was good is an understatement. It came out more like a casserole and very stiff, which is great for us (you know, the grown-ups). A bit of warming up and some extra cheese sauce made it perfect for the kids. It's by far not your "health food item" but could easily be halved and made with much more health-conscious ingredients.
Better Than The Blue Box Mac and Cheese
* 2 lbs. macaroni, cooked al dente and kept hot
* 5 Tbsp. butter
* 1/2 c. flour
* 1-1/2 c. half and half
* 1/2 c. milk
* 2 c. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
* 2 c. monterrey jack/colby cheese, shredded
* 1/2 c. parmesan cheese
* 2 eggs, lightly beaten
* 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
* 1 c. sour cream
* salt and pepper to taste
* 1/4 c. bread crumbs
* 1 Tbsp. butter, melted
Heat oven to 375*
Melt the 5 Tbsp. butter over low heat in a fairly large saucepan. When the butter is melted, whisk in the flour and cook this mixture over low heat until light tan in color. Meanwhile, heat the half and half and milk either in the microwave or in another pot. Do not boil it! Once the milk is heated, whisk the milk mixture into the flour mixture and stir until smooth and thick. Add the garlic powder. Spoon about 1/4 cup of the hot milk/flour mixture into the lightly beaten eggs and stir well. Add this mixture to the pot and stir well. Begin adding the cheese one handful at a time, stirring well between each addition to ensure even melting. Add salt and pepper to taste, then pour the sauce over the cooked pasta. Stir well. Add the sour cream and stir again. Pour the pasta into a lightly greased 10x10 baking dish. Mix the bread crumbs with the melted Tbsp. of butter, then sprinkle this mixture atop the pasta. Bake until the edges are crispy, about 25 minutes. Serve and enjoy.
The addition of some broccoli or other vegetables, as well as some chicken, could make this a delicious dinner, but for us, it was a fantastic side dish. According to the Queen of Mac and Cheese herself, it got two thumbs and two thumb-toes up! I should've taken a picture of her trying to put her thumb-toes up... oh well. So yeah. Make this. Trust me, it's worth it!