Baked Macaroni and Cheese

As I write this I am in a near food-induced coma from all of the macaroni and cheese I have eaten this weekend/week.

Skinny jeans be damned.

This weekend I put on my big-girl pants and decided to make my favorite food from scratch.

Behold, the baked macaroni and cheese and all of its cheesy glory.

Growing up, two lovely ladies by the name of Kraft and Velveeta  occupied my kitchen, and I have no shame in admitting that boxed mac and cheese is still something I eat on a regular basis (cough, once a week).

Therefore, making macaroni and cheese from scratch was a big deal for me. And in doing so, I learned an earth-shattering thing about myself.

I am not a good multi-tasker.

Where shall I begin?

1)  In the process of mincing an onion, I forgot about the boiling water  on the stove spilling over.

2) While dicing up cheese I also forgot about that same onion “charring” in its pan and smoking up the kitchen enough to set off the smoke alarm.

3) And while draining the pasta, I forgot that a napkin was lying ever so close to an “on” burner, ready to go up in flames.

I haven’t set foot in that kitchen since.

Roux

My “I Almost Set the House on Fire” Macaroni and Cheese 

Slightly adapted from allrecipes.com

8 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni

1 small minced onion

2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

Velveeta cheese (Block form, creamy form, shredded form, whatever, go crazy!)

2 1/2 cups milk

1/3 cup butter

2  tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tsp. dry mustard powder

1 tsp. paprika

1/2 tsp of both salt and pepper

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and lightly spray a 2 quart casserole dish with cooking oil. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add macaroni until al dente (8-10 minutes).

While the pasta is cooking, melt the 1/3 cup of butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the minced onion and cook until the onion softens and turns translucent, about 7 minutes.

Stir in the flour, pepper, salt,  dry mustard and paprika until incorporated, then slowly pour in the milk and bring to a simmer or light boil. Stir constantly until the milk has thickened, about 10 minutes. Take the roux (the milk/flour/butter mixture) off of the heat and stir in the Cheddar cheese  until melted. Put the macaroni in the casserole dish and  pour the cheese sauce over and top with Velveeta (I chose the block form of Velveeta and diced about a half a cup and topped it over the macaroni and cheese once in the casserole dish).

Bake for about 25 minutes until cheese has melted and the top is golden and bubbly.

Enjoy.

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