Creamy White Cheddar Baked Macaroni And Cheese Casserole
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This baked macaroni and cheese casserole is easy homemade macaroni and cheese at its best! Gooey and cheesy with a layer of crushed potato chips on top for texture
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Tips For The Best Baked Jalapeo Popper Mac And Cheese
- Using block cheese is the way to go when youre making mac and cheese. The pre-shredded cheese is coated and wont melt properly. Grate it yourself for the best results.
- Cook your pasta to slightly less than al dente, about one minute shy is perfect thats about 7 minutes for macaroni.The reason is that this is baked mac and cheese so the pasta will continue to cook in the oven.
- I used elbow pasta but really, any tubular, short pasta will work.
- The roux is super important to getting the creamiest cheese sauce. Three things 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, stirring nearly constantly, until you see bubbles on the surface and then continue cooking for an additional 2 minutes before adding the cheese. This will keep the sauce from turning grainy.
Youll notice this recipe calls for two jalapeños. I removed the seeds and membranes before dicing which cuts down on the heat a bit. I mean, this is Jalapeño Popper Mac and Cheese so a little heat should be expected. If youre like whaaaat? Bring on the spicy! Keep the seeds and membranes intact and dice away OR add another jalapeño.
I further tame those spicy jalapeños by sautéing in butter. This also serves another purpose as it gives the cheese sauce amazing flavor. I add back in a little heat and lots of flavor by adding in some TABASCO® Sauce.
The Best Homemade Baked Mac And Cheese
The BEST Homemade Mac and Cheese of your LIFE. Outrageously cheesy, ultra creamy, and topped with a crunchy Panko-Parmesan topping, this mac and cheese recipe is most definitely a keeper. I used three different cheese and a homemade cheese sauce to take this macaroni and cheese recipe over the top. Love cheesy recipes? Make sure to try this Lazy Day Lasagna and Cheesy Kielbasa Rice and Broccoli Skillet next week for dinner!
This post is sponsored by Walmart and SheKnows Media.
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Bubbly Crispy Delicious Mac And Cheese
Macaroni and cheese casserole ranks high on my list of all-time favorite comfort foodsand I’m not alone. There’s just something about the taste of the homemade variety that has people longing for this dish and making it again and again. Store-bought has its place and is good in a pinch when you are strapped for time, but if you want to sink your teeth into something that is wholesome and satisfying, there’s just nothing that compares to a pan of macaroni and cheese made from scratch.
And no wonder. One can make a rich and creamy white sauce, adjust the seasonings so this casserole has tons of flavor, pile on the cheese, and top it all with breadcrumbs so it has a delightful crunch. And by the time it emerges from the oven, it’s golden, bubbling, crispy, and pretty much to die for.
This recipe doesn’t cut corners, and it’s strongly recommended that you don’t either. Take the time to make the white sauce and add the breadcrumbs. There’s a reason for each ingredient, and it’s well worth adding them all to get the best results. And no worriesthis still isn’t a difficult dish to make.
If you like hearty recipes, a pan of homemade macaroni and cheese is hard to beat. And plan to make lots because you’ll definitely want more than one serving.
It all starts with basic ingredients. But if you want to give your dish a little twist, cavatappi noodles are a nice change from traditional elbows.
Can I Make This Macaroni And Cheese Ahead And Bake It When Im Ready
Yes you sure can. Just let it cool down, put some plastic wrap right against the surface of the mac and cheese and stick it in the fridge. If you have a few minutes to bring it out and let it warm slightly before you bake it, do that. But if you cant, just bake it till the center is hot and the edges are bubbling.
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Mac And Cheese Ingredients
- Cheese: Sharp cheddar gives this baked mac and cheese tons of flavor. The addition of gruyere to the cheese sauce in this recipe is next level but of course whatever you have on and will work just do not use pre-shredded cheese.
- Macaroni: I use a traditional elbow macaroni but any short pasta will work. Shells are great choices! Cook al dente as the pasta cooks more as it bakes.
- Topping: The most perfect buttery crumb topping is one of my favorite parts of this recipe. Add in bacon, more parm, crushed crackers pretty much anything with crunch will work!
Creamy Baked Mac And Cheese
The Chunky Chef09/30/2019
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This baked mac and cheese is a family favorite recipe, loved by both children and adults. It uses a combination of cheeses, layered in the dish as well as melted into a rich and creamy cheese sauce, for the ultimate in cheesy deliciousness! Perfect for a comforting dinner or as a holiday side dish!
BAKED MAC AND CHEESE
Baked mac and cheese. Its nearly the universal comfort food, and there are SO many variations! In fact, I almost didnt post this recipe, as there are SOOOO many mac and cheese recipes available, and most people already have their favorite way of making it.
Of course, theres no right way or wrong way, so Im here sharing the way I like to make my mac and cheese .
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Homemade Baked Mac And Cheese
There is absolutely nothing that I love more than this homemade baked Maccaroni and Cheese casserole. You see, I love cheese, and when combining it with pasta you are guaranteed to end up with something extra special!
This dish is so creamy and smooth that I can never get enough of it. The flavors are outstanding, and the homemade cheese sauce here is the secret ingredient. It is rich and creamy thanks to the mix of sour cream, heavy cream, and cheese. I used the classic roux-based cheese sauce, where butter and flour are cooked together.
As a result of this technique, you will have the creamiest and cheesiest casserole possible. Due to mixing the ingredients together, and then adding pasta into it, the cheese proportionally and evenly integrates into this dish. It simply melts in your mouth!
Additionally, baking the casserole for 30 minutes after assembling it together, ensures you have a perfectly balanced and cheesy dinner. To make it even more amazing, I have added a buttery topping made of Ritz crackers and bacon. This makes it crunchy on the outside and creamy on the side. Just perfect!
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Making A White Sauce For Baked Macaroni And Cheese
You know, for years I was intimidated by homemade macaroni and cheese. It was really the whole white sauce thing . Which is totally silly, because its simply a sauce made with butter, flour, and milk.
But I was under the impression that making a perfect white sauce is crazy difficult. I mean, it does take some focus to turn out a good béchamel sauce, but the secret to it could not be easier
Dont. Stop. Stirring! Thats it just keep stirring from the moment you mix the flour into the butter, and continue stirring as you slowly add the warm milk to the butter/flour mixture. And then stir some more while the sauce is thickening. Stir, stir, stir until you have a thick and silky white sauce, and youll be rewarded with a tasty and creamy macaroni and cheese every time.
Storing And Reheating Mac And Cheese
There is no easy way to tell you this: This particular baked macaroni and cheese will not reheat to its previous glory. Which doesnt mean it isnt good it’s just different.
You can reheat it in the oven to re-crisp the breadcrumb topping, but the mac and cheese part wont be as creamy as it was when you first made it.
Keep mac and cheese covered in your fridge, and microwave the leftovers for up to a week.
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Ham Adds A Smoky Flavor
If you have leftover ham, chop it and add it to macaroni and cheese for a great-tasting casserole to feed a hungry crowd. In the picture below, I added chopped ham into left-over mac and cheese, then topped it with more cheese before warming it in the oven for a second serving. It was every bit as good with a second reheating, and the ham imparted a smoky flavor.
What Is The Best Cheese For Mac And Cheese
I prefer to shred my own cheese for two reasons. First, I can buy higher quality cheese, and second, I get a smoother texture when I shred it myself.
From what Ive read, pre-shredded cheese is less smooth because anti-caking agents are added. Will pre-shredded cheese work? Absolutely! If youre in a hurry, go for it. But if you have a few extra minutes, shredding the cheese yourself will make the dish that much better!
Pick two or three:
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How To Make Baked Mac And Cheese
Making two separate kinds of baked mac and cheese might seem like extra work, but its really not. You start with the same base for each sauce, you just add a couple extra ingredients into each one. And theyre being baked in the same dish, so its just one casserole and one baking time.
Use foil to create a barrier in a regular 9×13 baking dish. This will separate it into two halves so you can pour each type of macaroni into its own side.
Heres a quick overview of this oven baked mac and cheese recipe:
Now you have two kinds of baked mac and cheese for everyone to eat! So simple, but this idea has really changed the game for me. Check the recipe card below for more detailed instructions.
Thanksgiving Mac And Cheese Recipe
I dont know about you, but Thanksgiving would feel incomplete to me without some form of macaroni and cheese. Its the perfect holiday side dish FILLED with cheese, and there are so many varieties to make. You could make a different version every year and still have your favorite food on the table.
I think this Two Way Baked Mac and Cheese recipe is the best way to go for the big feast. You get two different options in one dish, so everyone can choose their favorite .
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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.
Leftover Macaroni And Cheese
This easy mac and cheese is great when freshly made and is also perfect to reheat for lunches throughout the week!
Store it covered in the refrigerator and it will last up to 5 days! Add a splash of milk and heat over medium-low heat until warmed. If using the microwave, reheat on 70% power stirring occasionally.
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What To Do With Leftover Mac And Cheese
If you’ve made a large pan of macaroni and cheese and now aren’t sure what to do with the left-overs, rest assured that you can reheat them. If you are worried that the noodles may expand or become mushy from a second or third reheating, there are a couple of ways around this:
Note: If you have to freeze your leftovers, use the second method above when you go to reheat them.
Can I Freeze Macaroni And Cheese
I get asked that a lot and my answer is always no. As the pasta and cheese sauce sit, it will thicken and when you thaw it and bake it, the creamy consistency is just gone. Its thick and gloppy. Plus if you freeze it and its still a bit warm, water crystals will form and then thaw into your dish and could make it separate when you bake it. Besides, its so fast to make, theres not really a reason to freeze your macaroni and cheese.
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What Is The Best Cheese To Use For It
This totally depends on your taste and preference. Any good quality melting cheese will perfectly work for this dish. A combination of cheddar, sharp cheddar, Monterey Jack, mozzarella, and Parmesan is what I usually use.
Also, the white cheddar, Gruyere cheese, and Asiago blend is a great combination and will produce a smooth, rich, and creamy sauce.
How To Make Baked Macaroni And Cheese
Once you have the white sauce down, its all smooth sailing. Now is when you can get a little creative with your cheese, spices, and toppings. I like just a bit of heat in my mac and cheese, so in goes some cayenne pepper. And also some onion powder I can always tell when a restaurant leaves out the onion powder. It just seems a little blah So you can skip the cayenne pepper, if thats not your thing, but please, dont leave out the onion powder!
As for cheese, I loovvveeee a good sharp white cheddar. You can use a milder cheddar, but whichever you decide to go with, buy it by the block. Bagged cheeses have ingredients added to prevent the shreds from sticking together, which is a good thing for sprinkling but not so much for melting. They will cause your cheese sauce to be grainy instead of silky smooth and creamy. So buy a block of good cheddar and shred it yourself.
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How To Reheat Mac And Cheese
Velveeta Mac and Cheese is super easy to store, freeze, and reheat, too!
- To Store: Scoop mac and cheese into a zippered bag or a container with a tightly fitting lid. Keep refrigerated until ready to reheat.
- To Freeze: Use an airtight container but be sure to label the zippered bag or container with the date. Frozen mac and cheese should keep in the freezer about two months.
- To Reheat: Pop in the microwave or heat up on the stovetop. Add a little bit of milk to loosen it up and dont forget to refresh the flavors with a dash of salt and pepper!