I don't know about you, but backed mac and cheese is the absolute ONLY way to eat Mac and cheese! Boxes will NEVER cut it when it comes to this delicious side dish. Trust me, this is the best one of them all too! Not only is it cheese and delicious, it is even better heated up the next day!
With so many recipes out there, I am sure everyone has their favorite recipe already, but This is a combination of years of playing with recipes to find the right exact quantity of each item to make this not only mouth watering but want to come back for more, GOOD!
The General How to for Mac and Cheese
If this is your first time making backed mac and cheese, don't worry I will walk you through it. In no time it will become an easy to throw together routine.
first you will want to Boil the pasta, then throw in a drainer and set aside in the sink.
Super easy to make the sauce, just combine the butter, flower then all dairy until nice and melty.
Cook the cheese sauce until thick, but not too thick, you want it to run from wooden spoon but not drop in clumps from it.
Rinse the pasta and drain, then add to the cheese sauce and mix well. I fold it in until combined.
Break out your 9x13 casserole dish and add half of the mixture to the dish.
Add a nice layer of shredded cheese, then top with remainder of Noodle Mixture and more cheese on top.
Last but not least, take 10 Ritz Crackers and 4 Tablespoons of melted butter, crush the crackers and mix with melted butter until nice and crumbly. Add to top of mac and cheese!
Bake and prepare to thoroughly enjoy!
For the Ingredients:
1 lb. Elbow Macaroni Noodles
1/2 Cup Salted Butter
1/ Cup All Purpose Flour
2- 1/2 Cup 1/2 and Half
1/2 Cup of Whole Milk
4 Cups Medium Cheddar Cheese Shredded (Half for Cheese Sauce / Half for Layering)
2 cups Shredded Gruyere Cheese (Half for Cheese Sauce / Half for Layering)
1/2 Tablespoon of Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
1/4 Teaspoon paprika
Crumble: 10 Ritz Crackers 4 Tablespoons of Butter
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and grease a 9x13 baking dish, then set aside.
Add water to a large pot, add a generous amount of salt and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, add in the pasta and cook about a minutes less then the package directions. You want this to be al dente and not over cooked.
In the meantime, shred your cheeses and toss together to mix, then divide into three seperate piles. Around 3 cups for the sauce and 3 cups for layering the dish.
Melt the butter in a good size saucepan over med/low heat. add in the flour and whisk until fully combined. Slowly add in the milk and half and half until combined and nice and smooth.
Continue to heat whisking often, until thickened to a nice consistency.
Remove from heat and stir in spices, then add in the shredded cheese a bit at a time, until completely melted and smooth.
In a large bowl, mix the drained pasta with the cheese sauce, folding it in until fully incorporated. Pour half of the pasta mixture into the prepared baking dish, then top with 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheeses, then top that with the remaining pasta mixture and the rest of the shredded cheese. Top with the cracker crumb mixture and your all set.
Bake for 15 -20 minutes, until cheesy is bubbly and a light golden brown.
Serve Hot and Enjoy!
This baked mac and cheese is my family's favorite recipe. It is loved by all of my children and grandchildren so much, that I get a call once a month for the Recipe, so here it is now Guys, stop asking LOL But don't stop calling! Great Holiday and potluck dish! xoxo Haley