Saturday, April 27, 2013

My Grandma's Baked Mac and Cheese

Every holiday or birthday when my Grandmother was still alive it was a tradition, she would ask us "What do you want me to make for "such and such" and without fail we would always answer "baked mac and cheese, baked mac and cheese!!"

You have to understand that her baked macaroni and cheese isn't like Stouffer's or Velveeta or some crap like that (I apologize if you like it, but seriously, my Grandma's mac and cheese is like something sent from the cheesy, starchy heavens).

She also cooked enough for an army, which is I suppose, where I get it from. If you Google baked mac and cheese you get many images of yummy looking dishes in "small" casserole dishes or even ramekins!

Pft, ramekins. That's for amateurs. When my Grandma made baked mac, she made it in a 7-8 qt. cast iron dutch oven. 3 POUNDS of pasta folks. That's how it's done....and let me tell you, she made the best damn mac and cheese ever. 

The worst thing about trying to get the recipe from a Grandma is that they never write anything down....or measure anything, have you noticed that?

"Oh, I just throw a little of this and a little of that until it tastes right!" 

Thanks Grandma....that's helpful to your 15 year old granddaughter who can't cook worth a damn....Luckily,  your now 29 year old granddaughter has learned a few things and figured out the secrets of the internet and finding recipes with all the components of your original recipe and how she remembers you making and thus, can now replicate your AMAZING mac and cheese for the masses!

Before I could replicate said amazingness however....I had to get the right baking dishes. So, I went on a shopping trip for a 7.5 qt cast iron dutch oven.

Like this, but red!

She is a thing of beauty, and makes juuuuust the right amount of ooey gooey mac and cheese. However, if you're a normal person, making normal proportions and not feeding an army of hungry people and wanting leftovers for over a week....a casserole dish will work just fine :)

I could just die of happiness, right here, right now.


1 (8 ounce) package macaroni

4 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1 cup cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded good quality
1/2 cup breadcrumbs, buttered


1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Cook and drain macaroni according to package directions; set aside.
3. In a large saucepan melt butter.
4. Add flour mixed with salt and pepper, using a whisk to stir until well blended.
5. Pour milk and cream in gradually; stirring constantly.
6. Bring to boiling point and boil 2 minutes (stirring constantly).
7. Reduce heat and cook (stirring constantly) 10 minutes.
8 .Add shredded cheddar little by little and simmer an additional 5 minutes, or until cheese melts.
9. Turn off flame.
10. Add macaroni to the saucepan and toss to coat with the cheese sauce.
11. Transfer macaroni to a buttered baking dish.
12. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
13. Bake 20 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Changes/Alterations: My only changes are that for my bread crumbs I use Panko bread crumbs which I toast with butter in a frying pan until golden brown before step 12. Also, while using cream makes it oh so deliciously creamy...holy heart attack waiting to happen! I replace the whole milk and cream with straight up 2% milk and it's still amazing. Yum! This recipe is for 4 servings. If you are like me, quadruple all ingredients to feed an army with leftovers. 


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