My Favorite Macaroni & Cheese Recipe
Who can resist – the king of comfort food – mac and cheese? Children love it, and so do adults. Macaroni and cheese is a great dish to serve for a meatless meal. And if you use my recipe, it is a quick and easy dinner to make and serve. This yummy pasta dish also makes a wonderful side dish that will complement many different entrées. Also, macaroni cheese casserole is a tasty main course for your vegetarian friends and family. On those occasions when you have unexpected guests drop in, and need to stretch a meal, this is a great way to do it, and everyone will leave the table well satisfied. Another plus is that the ingredients needed to make this homemade macaroni and cheese recipe are items you typically have on hand.
History of Macaroni and Cheese
Based on this excerpt from Wikipedia, macaroni and cheese has been around for a very long time:
“Macaroni ("Maccheroni" in Italian) is mentioned in various medieval Italian sources, though it is not always clear whether it is a pasta shape or a prepared dish. However, pasta and cheese casseroles have been recorded in cookbooks as early as the Liber de Coquina, one of the oldest medieval cookbooks. A cheese and pasta casserole known as makerouns was recorded in an English cookbook in the 14th century.”
We can thank Thomas Jefferson for bringing this delectable dish to the United States. While serving as the United States Minister to France (1785 –1789), Jefferson tasted this dish, and being a connoisseur of good food and wines, “He drew a sketch of the pasta and wrote detailed notes on the extrusion process.” After becoming President, Thomas Jefferson served this dish in the White House.
“Since that time, the dish has been associated with America and especially the American South. A recipe called "macaroni and cheese" appeared in the 1824 cookbook "The Virginia Housewife" written by Mary Randolph, Jefferson's cousin.”
Let's gather the ingredients needed to make my simple macaroni & cheese recipe:
8 oz. elbow macaroni, precooked
4 tbsp. butter
4 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups milk
½ tsp. onion salt
1 ¾ cups cheese (I use Kraft Sharp Cheddar Made with 2% Milk.)
½ cup cracker crumbs or breadcrumbs
Cook the elbow macaroni according to the package directions and drain.
In a stovetop and ovenproof casserole pan, melt the butter. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the flour, blending well. Gradually stir in the milk, and continue to stir once you have returned it to the heat; use a medium to low heat. (This is a basic white sauce recipe.)
Once the sauce has thickened, stir in the onion salt, and add pepper to taste.
Stir in your favorite grated cheese, and continue to stir until the cheese has melted.
Next, add the precooked pasta, and mix well.
Place in a preheated 350-degree oven, and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove the casserole from the oven, sprinkle the breadcrumbs or cracker crumbs on top, and return it to the oven for 10 minutes. I like to use cracker crumbs made from Ritz Roasted Vegetable Crackers.
Add this great, old-fashioned comfort food to your menu tonight, and watch your family’s faces light up when they see what is for dinner. And while eating with your family, share the history of Thomas Jefferson and mac and cheese. This is a great way to talk about our Founding Fathers, and everything they have contributed to this country – be it this dish or the Declaration of Independence.
And the next time you need a special dish to carry to a covered dish dinner, then make this baked mac and cheese recipe, and you won’t have to worry about bringing home any leftovers.