Switch Out The Cheese
Instead of using the powdered cheese packet that comes with a box of mac and cheese, take an extra five minutes to make a homemade cheese sauce. You can use any type of cheese, but we prefer sharp Cheddar. For full instructions on how to make homemade cheese sauce, refer to this recipe. Alternatively, stick with the standard powdered cheese-butter-milk combination, but bolster the sauce with a few slices of American cheese or a handful of shredded Cheddar to make it extra cheesy.
Stovetop Mac And Cheese Vs Baked Mac And Cheese
Anyway you slice it, a homemade macaroni and cheese recipe is a good thing to have memorized. Theres no faster way to let your kids / spouse know that you love them than whipping up a batch. Or make it for yourself and call it self-care! Quick, comforting and delicious, this four-ingredient stovetop wonder is hands down the best mac and cheese weve ever eaten.
Now, were not saying that we cant appreciate a baked macaroni and cheese recipethe way the top cheese crust gets all bubbly is so enticingbut stovetop macaroni and cheese is way faster oven-baked, and it reminds us of our childhood love affair with a certain little blue box. For a satisfyingly quick mac and cheese fix, its all about this easy mac and cheese recipe.
What Can I Add To Mac And Cheese
You can use this base recipe as the starting point for so many different healthy and delicious variations. Heres just a partial list of add-ins, and how to get them into your dish without a fuss.
- Spinach: Stir raw baby spinach into the pasta immediately after draining, until wilted.
- Frozen peas: Pour frozen peas into the pasta cooking water just before you drain it.
- Carrots: Add small diced carrots to the boiling water along with the dry pasta.
- Mushrooms: Saute separately in a pan until tender, then stir into finished pasta.
- Bell peppers: Saute separately in a pan until tender. Add a pinch of Cajun spice for a twist, then stir into finished pasta.
- Cauliflower: Add small florets into the boiling water along with the dry pasta.
- Broccoli: Add small florets to the pasta water during the last two minutes before draining.
- Ham. Stir in cubed ham just before serving.
- Bacon. Sprinkle cooked bacon on top of finished mac and cheese.
- Tomato. Sprinkle raw chopped tomato on top of the finished dish.
- Basil. Cut fresh basil into ribbons, and sprinkle it on top of the finished dish.
- Chicken. Stir in hot cooked and cubed chicken to the finished dish for an Alfredo-like mac and cheese.
- Apples. Yes, apples! Try sprinkling cubed green apples on top at serving time.
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What Are The Best Toppings For Smoked Mac And Cheese
If you want to amp up the flavor of smoked mac and cheese, consider adding previously smoked meats like brisket, sausage, bacon, or pulled pork. For a vegetarian option, consider grilled red and green peppers or even jalapeños.
Adding fresh peas is a popular touch and a great way to get your kids some extra vegetables.
Breadcrumbs, panko, or crumbled crackers make a good topping as well. They will crisp up during cooking and add a crunchy texture to the dish.
How To Make Mac And Cheese Sauce
Step 1: Make Roux by this point, you already know the ins and outs of a roux and how to make it , so were going to skip to step 2.
Step 2: Whisk in Milk slowly add milk to the roux, whisking constantly so it doesnt burn. Continue to whisk for around 4-6 minutes, or until things begin to thicken.
Dont rush this process. we PROMISE things will thicken!
Step 3: Remove from Heat once things are thick, turn the heat off.
Step 4: Whisk in Shredded Cheese then, add shredded cheese, garlic, hot sauce, salt, and pepper and whisk until the cheese melts.
Give your cheese sauce a taste and add more hot sauce, as desired.
Step 5: Enjoy! mix mac and cheese sauce with macaroni noodles and serve immediately.
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Easy Stovetop Mac And Cheese
This Mac and Cheese is easy to make on the stovetop and its ready in just 15 minutes. Skip the box and make the good stuff!
This Mac and Cheese is easy to make on the stovetop and its ready in just 15 minutes. Skip the box and make the good stuff!
Its easy to make your own delicious mac and cheese at home in under 15 minutes. Boil your pasta in one pot and in another make a simple cheese sauce. The sauce starts with a traditional roux . Salt, white pepper, onion powder, and ground mustard are whisked in to add flavor. Milk is then poured in and as it comes to a simmer the roux slowly mixes in. The roux acts as a thickening agent and just as small bubbles appear for the simmer, your mixture should already be thickened. The heat is turned off, shredded cheese is stirred until melted, and then all that is left to do is stir in the drained al dente pasta from your other pot. Youll never use a boxed mix again!
Best Freezer Mac And Cheese
The way you prepare your mac and cheese also makes a difference. While you can successfully freeze any type of mac and cheese, preparing what’s called a “make ahead” mac and cheese may give you a better finished product that’s less grainy after you reheat your mac and cheese.
To prepare the make ahead mac and cheese, all you have to do is add some cream cheese into your cheese sauce mixture when you’re cooking it. You may also want to decrease the amount of flour a little bit, since the cream cheese will thicken it a little bit and reducing the flour will help prevent graininess when reheating.
Another helpful tip that comes from cooking instructor Linda Carucci in an interview with the Washington Post is to cook the pasta al dente if you’re planning to freeze it and reduce the amount of pasta you use. Carucci says that this can help prevent mushiness and dryness after freezing mac and cheese, since the pasta will be firmer and there will be less to absorb the cheese sauce.
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What Is A Mac And Cheese Roux And Why Do I Need It
A roux is essentially a way to thicken a sauce or liquid. You need a fat and a flour in order to make this thickening agent and then you need to heat it to activate it.
The reason why you dont want to skip the roux for this mac and cheese sauce recipe is that the roux is what helps make it thick and luscious.
Southern Baked Macaroni And Cheese
Since Ive been on YouTube, Ive shared many recipe for macaroni and cheese. Just a few days ago, I typed up the recipe for my Classic Macaroni and Cheese. In this post Im going to share my last installment of mac and cheese recipes, LOL Today we are making southern baked macaroni and cheese. What makes it different from any of my other macaroni and cheese recipes? The ingredients, and texture!
For my southern baked macaroni and cheese I use several cheeses. Also instead of using regular milk I use half & half, and evaporated milk. I have to be honest here, and tell you that this dish is super high in fat and calories . That is why I only make this dish a few times a year
Now I dont want to waste your time with my yapping, I want to see you get in that kitchen, and try this recipe out. Just keep in mind that this dish is not to be eaten every day!
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No Whining At The Dinner Table
Macaroni and cheese is always a safe bet. The kids never complain about having mac and cheese for dinner, which means we avoid dinner table whining .
We wanted to share our homemade version, which has become a family favorite. Its a baked mac and cheese recipe that is easy, cheesy and so delicious! Have you ever made homemade Macaroni and Cheese? If not, today needs to be the day!
This recipe makes for a great dinner idea through out the year, but we even use it frequently during the holidaysits a fantastic side dish at big family gatherings!
Making Instant Pot Mac And Cheese Ahead Of Time
Some recipes are great, and even better, when made ahead but mac and cheese just isnt one of them.
As the pasta sits, it absorbs more and more of the sauce, making the mac and cheese dry, and the noodles mushy.
In my opinion, this is a recipe that just tastes the best when made right before you eat it.
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Easy Homemade Mac And Cheese
This Easy Homemade Mac and Cheese Recipe is made with 8 ingredients in 15 minutes on the stovetop ! Time to ditch the boxed mac and cheese for this irresistibly creamy, smooth & cheesy homemade recipe!
I have six kids and a husband with a taste palate of a 12-year-old-boy, which means we eat a lot of mac and cheese in our house. A lot of mac and cheese.
So naturally I created this easy homemade mac and cheese recipe so that we could consume less of the boxed varieties. Because I really care about feeding my family healthy meals that they actually enjoy! And did I mention that they love mac and cheese?!
Once you taste this homemade mac and cheese you and your family will say “goodbye” to powdered cheese forever, and say “hello” to this creamy dreamy real-cheese version again and again!
This homemade mac and cheese recipe is made with only 8 ingredients in 15 minutes! That’s the same amount of time it takes to make the boxed varieties, but with no preservatives or artificial ingredients!
Tips To Make Homemade Mac And Cheese
- Cook your pasta al dente as the noodles cook extra in the sauce and you dont want them mushy.
- Dont forget to salt your pasta water.
- While not everyone agrees with rinsing the pasta after cooking, in this particular recipe it stops the noodles from cooking and the sauce is created with a texture that pairs perfectly with the rinsed noodles.
- A sharper cheddar cheese will add a stronger cheese flavor.
- Pre-shredded cheeses contain additives to keep it from sticking together which affects the way it melts. The sauce is best if you shred your own cheeses.
- Allowing the baked macaroni and cheese to rest for a few minutes after baking will thicken the sauce.
- Most importantly of allDo not over bake this recipe.
When cooking your macaroni noodles, cook them according to the package directions but you want them to be still firm. If your package says 6-8 minutes, just cook them 6 you get the idea. I choose not to top this baked macaroni casserole with a bread crumb mixture but if you really like bread crumbs on your macaroni and cheese, by all means, add some!
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The Basics: How To Make Homemade Stove Top Mac And Cheese
Were going to give you the step-by step version of how to do this because trust us: once you get the basic technique down, you can add homemade mac and cheese maker to your list of life skills, and it will never let you down again.
Start with two pots. One pot is for boiling your pasta, plain and simple. You already know how to do this. So were going to focus on the sauce pan. Go ahead and start heating your pasta water while you work on the sauce. With a little practice, you can get everything ready at the same time.
Add the butter to the bottom of your sauce pan and let it melt gently. Then sprinkle the flour over the butter, and use a whisk to turn the butter-flour mixture into a paste. Keep the heat on medium low and whisk. Youll notice small bubbles forming, and the paste starting to thicken. This only takes a couple of minutes. There! Youve made a roux.
Next, add your milk to the pan, and use that whisk to mix it in with the roux really well. For one hot second, its going to look like a mess. But before you know it, the thickening power of your roux is going to create a smooth, creamy-looking sauce.
At this stage, add a pinch of garlic powder and onion powder. Strictly speaking, this is optional. But it adds a nice extra dimension to the flavor of your sauce You may also add a half teaspoon of a good dijon mustard here to develop the flavor even more. Again, optional.
Pour your sauce over cooked noodles. Stir well, and enjoy.
What To Do With Leftover Mac And Cheese
Despite being mac and cheeses #1 fan, Ive never really loved the leftovers. Heating it in the microwave always left it clumpy and drynot my scene.
If youre still hankering for a creamy mac, reheat the leftovers on the stove top, adding a few extra splashes of half and half as it warms up. This should keep the sauce from being dry.
You can also pan fry leftovers! Melt some butter in a skillet and add a big scoop of leftover mac and cheese. Flatten it a bit with your spatula and let it brown and crisp on the bottom a bit before flipping and browning the other side. I love this method for those crispy browned bits!
Finally, you can use leftovers to make Fried Mac and Cheese Balls, which are delightful as an appetizer or entree!
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How To Make Homemade Mac And Cheese Step By Step Photos
Start by shredding an 8oz. block of sharp cheddar. Its very important to shred the cheese yourself instead of using pre-shredded cheese. For more information on that, see the section above the recipe titled Avoid Pre-Shredded Cheese.
Next, boil 8oz. of macaroni according to the box directions . Drain the macaroni in a colander.
You can start the cheese sauce either while the macaroni is boiling, or wait until its draining and just make it in the same pot to save on dishes. Add 3 Tbsp butter, 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour, and ½ tsp onion powder to the pot.
Place the pot over medium heat and allow the butter to melt. Whisk the butter, flour, and onion powder together as the mixture begins to get bubbly and frothy. Cook and whisk for about one minute after it becomes bubbly.
Whisk 2 cups of milk into the butter and flour roux. Continue whisking as the milk begins to heat .
Allow the milk to come up to a gentle simmer, at which point it will thicken to the consistency of heavy cream or gravy. Turn the burner off at this point.
Season the sauce with ½ tsp salt and ½ tsp hot sauce, or the seasonings of your choice .
Begin adding 8oz. shredded cheddar to the pot, one handful at a time, whisking until it is completely melted before adding more. If the sauce cools down too much to continue melting the cheese, you can put it over low heat briefly, but avoid allowing the sauce to simmer again. Overheating cheese sauces will cause them to break and become grainy and oily.
Making The Ultimate Macaroni And Cheese
The first thing that I did was to cook the macaroni in salted water according to the package directions. Once it was al dente, I drained the macaroni and rinsed it well with cold water.
Next, I melted part of the butter in a large pan and whisked in the flour. Then, I let the roux cook over medium heat for several minutes. After that, I whisked in the milk and cooked the mixture until it was thickened and bubbly.
I removed the pan from the heat, and added part of the Cheddar cheese, all of the Gruyère cheese, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
I whisked the mixture until all of the cheese had melted and it was creamy smooth.
I added the cooked macaroni to the cheese sauce, and stirred to combine everything. Then, I poured the macaroni into a large baking dish.
I topped it with additional Cheddar cheese. Finally, I sprinkled on the Panko bread crumbs that I had mixed with some melted butter. At this point, I refrigerated the macaroni and cheese because I was taking it to a family gathering the next day.
The next day, I baked the macaroni and cheese in a 375° F oven for about 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, it was hot and bubbly, and the top was golden brown. The Ultimate Make Ahead Macaroni and Cheese was out of this world. It was creamy, cheesy, and full of flavor. Yum!
If youd prefer a quicker Mac & cheese, check out Susans Easy Stove-Top Mac & Cheese. Its amazing.
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What Kind Of Cheese Is Best To Smoke For Smoked Mac And Cheese
The best cheese for smoked mac and cheese is cheddar. Cheddar has a mild flavor and melts easily.
Mild flavored cheeses like cheddar are ideal because they will take on the flavor of the smoke.
If you were to use a stronger flavored cheese, like Swiss cheese, the natural flavor of the cheese will compete with and limit the smoke flavor.
Cheddar also melts easily. Harder cheeses may dry out rather than melt, and cheeses like ricotta or cottage cheese don’t melt at all.
To ensure smoke flavor throughout the cheese, grate it before smoking. Pre-shredded cheese works well, too. The cheese may melt during the smoking process . It will melt again when you make the sauce.