This is my absolute very favorite macaroni and cheese recipe and I have a large collection of m/c recipes. Adapted from Southern Living. I don't make this very often because I could literally eat the whole thing and lick the dish clean.
- 1⁄2 cup butter or 1⁄2 cup margarine
- 1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon pepper, to taste
- 1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
- 1⁄4 teaspoon garlic granules
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 2 cups milk
- 2 (10 ounce) packages sharp cheddar cheese, shredded and divided (I use Cracker Barrel)
- 1 (10 ounce) package extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (I use Cracker Barrel)
- 1 (16 ounce) package elbow macaroni, cooked
- In a big skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat.
- Whisk the flour in gradually until the mixture is smooth.
- Cook and whisk continually for 2 minutes.
- Add in salt, pepper, cayenne, and garlic; stir to combine.
- Gradually whisk in half-and-half and milk.
- Cook and whisk continually for 8-10 minutes or until mixture is thickened.
- Add in half of the sharp cheddar cheese; stir.
- Add in all of the extra-sharp cheddar cheese; stir until smooth.
- Take skillet off stove burner.
- Mix together the cooked macaroni and cheese mixture; transfer to a greased 13x9 inch casserole dish.
- Sprinkle with the remaining sharp cheddar cheese.
- Bake in a 350° oven for 20 minutes (may need to bake longer for a crispy top).
Made this a few weeks ago ... sorry, just got around to the review. Made it for a potluck luncheon.
Turned out perfect. Two changes, I added a extra sharp WHITE cheddar, but that really didn't change the flavor, just the color. And, a few fresh bread crumbs as a topping. But again, it didn't change the flavor of the dish. Just a little crunchy topping.
It was creamy, easy and delicious. I honestly prefer mine NOT as creamy, but that is my personal recipe; however, I have found a creamier mac and cheese is preferred and this is very very good. I would make this any time. The first time I added some bacon, because my friend asked me too. That was equally as good.
There is only one thing I might try. Mom always added just a bit of mustard for a little tang. Next time I might try just a bit of mustard in the sauce.
But, a fantastic recipe and very easy to make.
NOTE: to new cooks ... make sure to use a quality cheese and shred it yourself. Pre-shredded have chemicals in it to prevent molding and for preserving. Fresh grating cheese is the key.
Also, when adding cheese to your sauce ... remove from the heat, and add a little at a time until creamy. Add to HOT HOT sauce and too much at once can cause it to separate and get grainy. And then don't bring back to a boil. It is already melted, keep on medium low heat.
This is the creamiest macaroni and cheese I have found. Many people said this was the best macaroni and cheese they had ever had. I followed the ingredients exactly except I excluded cayenne pepper because I had none on hand. I will definitely add it in the future. The first time I cooked it I did not thicken the sauce very long which I think added to the creaminess.
Made this for a bunch of hungry firefighters to go with roast beef sandwiches and they loved it. My only change was to use processed cheese loaf (Velveeta) for some of the cheddar to cut costs. This was creamy and held well while waiting for the dinner to begin. Will definitely make again!