Everyone has that meal that they request for their birthday dinner or when they come home from college. It is a comforting meal that hugs your belly and leaves you full, satisfied and "warm fuzzied" all over.
For me, that meal was my Dad's Mac N' Cheese. The cheesy goodness topped with a heavy pour of breadcrumbs steaming from the oven made be salivate. It was especially delicious after track/cross country practice. As we know, runners love to eat carbs. Lots of them. All the time! (refer back to this post https://www.therightreliefinc.org/post/carb-loading)
He used the classic Betty Crocker cookbook recipe that I will share at the bottom of this post. Our copy was the falling apart, been used a million times, and stained with food spills. The pages have finger prints and smudges and have been turned more times than I can count. My dad had a few tricks including warming the milk in the microwave prior to adding to the flour roux. He always added extra breadcrumbs after the initial top layer because, why not? Many times, especially in high school he would serve the mac and cheese with a side of blueberry muffins. No idea why but they really go well with it for some reason! His favorite add in was cubed ham.
You can't discuss macaroni and cheese without mentioning good 'ole Kraft. While homemade was always better obviously, my sister and I would devour Kraft for lunch during summer break. My mom would get the big 10 packs from Sam's club. We would usually have hot dogs or chicken nuggets along side. I got so adept at making this box version as a young kid that I once cooked it for a babysitter we had because she didn't know how to make it (she tried to boil water on low heat LOL).
The Mealy's have found a great skillet mac n' cheese recipe and chef Kyle really likes gourmet-ing it up. He uses fresh shredded Parmesan, cream in place of the milk, some ground nutmeg, ground mustard and paprika which gives it an awesome smokey flavor. I think my Dad would have enjoyed cooking with a cast iron skillet. We use it for so many things!
Mac N' cheese is timeless and I love sharing it with Violet too. She is especially fond of the "Frozen" mac n' cheese with the character noodles, naturally. I wish I had a better picture of her cute onesie I got when she was a baby- it says "Mom and me are like Mac N cheese" with some smiling noodles. Of course I'm saving it for baby boy Mealy to continue the tradition!
In closing, I will share with you the best keep secret about mac n' cheese.....
The leftovers are just as good as right out of the oven!!!! My Dad and I were the leftover eaters in our house growing up and I would seriously covet that bowl of goodness sitting in the fridge the next day. Heavenly! I think I have finally converted Kyle into being a leftover eater, although I'm beginning to wonder why I did that. Because now he wants the leftovers I want ;)
Homemade Mac N' Cheese
8 oz pasta
1/4 cup butter
minced onion, salt, pepper to taste
1/4 cup flour
1 3/4 cup milk
8 oz shredded cheese of your liking
Cook/stir butter, onion, salt, pepper over medium heat until onion is tender. Blend in flour on low heat, stir constantly until smooth and bubbly. Remove from heat. Stir in milk. Heat to boil, stir constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in cheese until melted. Mix the cheese sauce into pasta and cover top with breadcrumbs. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes, uncovered.
Yummy add ins- cubed ham, cooked chicken, broccoli