Monday, September 28, 2015

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

12- 16 oz. uncooked elbow macaroni or rigatoni
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup flour
3 1/2 cups milk
16 oz. (1 pound) shredded cheese (cheddar, swiss, gouda, etc.) or a combination of several, divided.

1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup butter

Cook macaroni al dente, drain and rinse to keep it from continuing to cook. While the macaroni is cooking, melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add salt and pepper and slowly blend in the flour to make a roux (be sure to put the burner on low to keep it from scorching). Mixture should be smooth and bubbly. Slowly stir in the milk and whisk in the butter-flour mixture until incorporated.

Heat to boiling, stirring constantly - boil one minute and then remove from heat. Stir in 3/4 pound of cheese until melted. completely to make a rich cheesy sauce.

Place macaroni in a large 3 quart casserole dish that has been sprayed with vegetable spray. Place the macaroni into the casserole and stir the cheese sauce into the macaroni to combine. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of the macaroni.

Made without Panko Bread Crumbs
Melt butter and stir in Panko bread crumbs until combined. Sprinkle the bread crumbs on top of the macaroni and cheese.

Bake uncovered in 375 degree oven for 30-40 minutes or until bubbly. Makes 8 dinner portion servings or 10-12 side-servings.

Chicken-Bacon Mac & Cheese: Stir in 2 cups of cooked and diced chicken and 1/4 cup sliced green onions. Top with crispy bacon (about 6 slices) that has been crumbled.

Tuna Mac and Cheese: Stir in two 6.5 oz. cans of tuna that has been drained. Can also add 1 cup of frozen peas that have been thawed.

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