What Cheese Do I Use For Mac And Cheese
The only key here is to use cheese that melt really easily. You can change up the flavor profile quite easily by using any combination of: Parmesan, Cheddar, Pepperjack, Gouda, Fontina, Gruyere, Goat Cheese, or Brie. I always find its best to use 2-3 different kinds of cheese to really give it a great deep flavor.
How To Make Baked Mac And Cheese
Its a straightforward recipe, starting with a basic butter-flour roux that is used to thicken milk to make the cheese sauce. For first timers, I think the short video below will help give you the confidence that youve got this!
The simple trick to avoid lumps in the Mac and Cheese Sauce is to pour the milk in slowly while constantly stirring, then just switch to a whisk if needed to remove any stubborn lumps!
Creamiest Baked Mac & Cheese
Theres a few ways to make this better-than-average baked mac and cheese recipe. The first is undercooking the pasta so its slightly more al dente once you add the hot, creamy cheese sauce, the pasta will absorb the heat and continue to cook. Second is using way more cheese sauce than you think you need in order to prevent the cooked macaroni from drying out. And third, a combination of oven baking and broiling will result in a bubbling hot pasta dish with a crispy, crunchy topping.
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How To Freeze Cooked Macaroni And Cheese
Step 1: Cool Completely
Leaving your warm mac and cheese at room temperature for too long places it at risk for harmful bacterial growth. The safest way to cool your warm mac and cheese dish is by placing it in an ice bath.
Pour ice water into a flat pan or dish which is wider than the mac and cheese serving dish. Fill it only one-third of the way with water and a few ice cubes. Place your macaroni dish in the ice bath so that the base is surrounded by the ice water and cools down quickly.
Leave the dish in the ice bath for at least 5 minutes, until cool to touch or near room temperature. Dont ever place mac and cheese that is still warm in the freezer. The steam forms ice-crystals which will ruin the texture of the dish once thawed.
Step 2: Portion
If you are freezing the dish in its entirety, skip this step and go straight to step 3. Portion the mac and cheese into individual servings so that you do not have to defrost the entire batch at once and can take out just as much as you need at a time.
Step 3: Wrap and Seal
For smaller portions, scoop each portion into a resealable freezer bag. Lie the bag flat and press out all the air before sealing.
If you are freezing an entire casserole, make sure the dish you have baked your macaroni and cheese in is freezer-friendly. Cover the whole dish twice with cling film, making sure that all the corners are well-sealed and that no gaps are left open where air can enter.
Step 4: Foil Wrap
Step 5: Label and Freeze
Making Boiled Elbow Macaroni
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Tips For The Best Homemade Baked Mac And Cheese
- Use block cheese and shred, do not buy the pre-shredded cheese. The pre-shredded cheese is great for so many things but not macaroni and cheese. Its coated and wont melt properly. You need to shred it yourself for the best result.
- Cook your pasta to slightly less than al dente, about one minute shy is perfect. The reason is that this is baked mac and cheese so the pasta will continue to cook in the homemade cheese sauce in the oven. You dont want soggy macaroni.
- I used elbow pasta but really, any tubular past will work.
- This mac and cheese recipe starts with a roux. The roux is super important to getting the creamiest cheese sauce of your life. Here is what you need to look for:
- The roux is whisked together until bubbly and golden.
- Whisk in cold milk not warm to prevent the flour from clumping.
- Cook the roux until you see bubbles on the surface and then continue cooking for an additional 2 minutes before adding the cheese.
Prepare Yourselves For The Ultimate Creamy Baked Mac And Cheese
This one is a new addition to my Thanksgiving menu! But I feel like Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese is just the right thing to do. Its an EXCELLENT vegetarian option if you have guests coming that dont like turkey. And kids and adults will love every aspects of this mac and cheese.
The cheese sauce is uber cheesy and creamy. The buttered panko topping gives it that extra crunch youre looking for. The thyme bring it up another level so you can feel a tiny bit fancy. The cheeses used are easily found at any market so you dont have to search for any kinds of fancy cheese. And it makes for incredible leftovers if you are lucky enough to wind up with any! All in all, youre looking at the best Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese to grace your table. In fact, Id make it now so you can eat it in peace because come Thanksgiving, its gonna go fast.
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Don’t Forget About Leftovers
It’s rare to have any leftovers but on the off-chance you do, you can use cold mac n cheese to make a type of arancini, a traditional fried snack from Italy. Simply shape your leftover mac ‘n’ cheese into balls, dip in flour, egg and breadcrumbs then deep fry. You may just need to chop the pasta into slightly smaller portions first
Into toasties? Have your very own carb party and put the mac n cheese between two slices of bread and either pan fry or use a sandwich maker for a treat within a treat.
For little pasta pies that can be eaten with a salad or in a packed lunch, dollop cold leftover mac n cheese into individual muffin tin compartments and bake at 180°C/160°C/fan 350°F/Gas Mark 4 for around 20 minutes.
How To Make Cheese Sauce For Mac And Cheese
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How Can I Dress Up My Macaroni And Cheese
This baked macaroni and cheese may be the most versatile dish ever. Add in some red pepper for kick, any cheeses you like , add veggies like broccoli and chopped chicken and its a one-dish meal even. Or BACON. Hello. Yeah. Make some garlic bread crumbs for the top if you want some crunch and throw those on. Its really endless.
What Else Can I Add To My Macaroni Cheese
This recipe is for a simple, but amazing macaroni cheese. But as I mentioned before, I do often add extra bits and pieces to my cheesy pasta. Here are a few examples of ways you could jazz up this classic macaroni cheese recipe to make it a bit different:
sprinkle the top with pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds etc. for an extra crunchy topping add chopped sun-dried tomatoes, olives, and artichokes for a Mediterranean-inspired flavour stir through some roasted vegetables before baking for heaps of extra flavour throw some frozen veggies in to boil with the pasta to add nutrition with no extra effort blend up a tin of white beans and stir it through the white sauce for added protein try adding different cheeses blue cheese, crumbled feta, smoked cheddar, etc. bake your macaroni cheese across a couple of shallow dishes to maximise surface area for that crispy topping!
As you can see, there are all sorts of ways to personalise your dinner but this ultimate macaroni cheese recipe is definitely a good place to start!
- 1tspdried parsley,to garnish
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More About This Recipe
- When youre craving homemade mac and cheese, this southern baked version is a wonderful option. It takes just 15 minutes to prep and 45 minutes of hands-off time, which means you can do more of what you want and spend less time standing over the stove. Not a macaroni connoisseur but ready to learn all the ways to make mac and cheese? We did the heavy lifting, delving deep on the cheesy details, so you can learn all about it before you begin. Who knew there were so many ways to make it? And if this baked mac and cheese recipe isnt your style, weve got lots more mac and cheese recipes for you to search through!
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Variations Of Mac And Cheese
- Bacon if you love bacon, feel free to add some crispy, crumbled bacon to the topping, or even inside the mac and cheese as well!
- Stovetop if youd prefer not to bake this mac and cheese, you dont have to! Make sure you boil your pasta until al dente , and youll only need about 3 3 1/2 cups of cheese total. No need to layer the pasta and cheese, just add all the cheese to the sauce, then combine with the pasta.
- Different Toppings Im a huge fan of the cheese layer on top, since it gets nice and crispy, but we also love tossing 1 cup of panko with 2 Tbsp of melted butter and using that as a topping. 1 cup of crushed Ritz crackers with 2 Tbsp of butter work amazingly well too!
- Different Baking Times the recipe calls for a lower baking temperature and time, but most of the time I find myself adjusting that based on my familys tastes. I like to bake this mac and cheese at 350 F degrees for 30 minutes, then broil for 2-3 minutes to get that glorious cheesy crust.
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Cooking Tips For Baked Mac And Cheese
- Boiling the pasta cook the pasta less than you normally would. I like to boil my elbow pasta for between 4 and 5 minutes. The pasta will continue to cook in the oven, and you dont want it to get mushy.
- Use room temp liquids if you can cold liquids generally take longer to thicken than warmer ones. I usually set my milk and half and half out while the water for the pasta is coming up to a boil.
- The cheeses use your favorites! Our personal favorites are the cheddar and gruyere used in this recipe, but you can be very creative with the cheese selection here. Mozzarella, gouda, smoked gouda, swiss, monterey jack, colby jack, colby. There are plenty of reader comments down below the recipe that talk about the cheeses they used!
- Shred your own I know its a pain, and its SO tempting to use the pre-shredded cheese in the bags. But those bags of cheese contain a starchy substance that keeps the cheese from clumping which also prohibits it from melting as well as it should.
Upgrading Kraft Macaroni And Cheese
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Velveeta Shells And Cheese
The blue Kraft box may be the most well-known boxed mac and cheese product, but if you ate a lot of mac and cheese growing up, you probably had some Velveeta Shells and Cheese in your pantry from time to time as well. The original flavor is the most well-known, but the company has now expanded to include all kinds of flavors, like bacon, queso blanco, and even broccoli. But none of those add-ins can overpower the flavor and texture of the bright-yellow Velveeta.
It may come as a surprise, but Velveeta was once seen as a healthy product to feed to your family. Consumers loved the velvety texture of the highly processed cheese, but they also loved that it provided them with an inexpensive way to feed the people in their households. These days, we know better than to think these shells and âcheeseâ are healthy, but weâve never quite gotten over that silky smooth texture that makes every bite feel like a warm hug.
Do I Have To Bake This Mac And Cheese
If you want to skip the panko topping and just serve this as a stovetop mac and cheese. be my guest! Its still delicious!
PS are you thinking of putting this on your Thanksgiving menu? Check out the full Whats Gaby Cooking menu here along with the master prep schedule to keep things organized and on track!
And if you need more Thanksgiving Ideas check out this roundup of 80+ Thanksgiving Recipes and Ideas
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How Do You Make Baked Mac And Cheese
Okay here are the KEY steps to making the best mac and cheese.
Hack #: Sausage + Baby Spinach
As your pasta is cooking, heat up precooked sausages, such as chicken-basil, until warmed, according to package directions. Drain pasta, but dont rinse it. Add pasta back to the pot, and stir in a few handfuls of baby spinach. The residual heat from the pasta will wilt the spinach. Then add in the cheese sauce, according to package directions. Serve sausages on the side, or slice them and mix into the pasta.
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