Packaged macaroni and cheese dinners can be a quick, guilty pleasure, but making the real thing can be easy, too. This is the perfect recipe for a rainy day (and great for kids on spring break!)
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cooking Time: 30 minutes
- 2 cups macaroni noodles
- 2-3 cups cheese, grated
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- fresh ground pepper
- 1/2 breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Step 1 Boil Noodles
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Fill a large pot halfway with water. Add enough salt so that the water is quite salty. Cover and let boil. When the water is boiling, add the macaroni noodles. Let the noodles boil until they are just starting to soften, but still quite al dente. They will cook more when baked, so you don't want to overcook them now. Drain and return to the pot and set aside while you make the cheese sauce.
Step 2 Heat Roux
Place a smaller pot over medium-low heat and melt the butter. When melted, add the flour, stirring together quickly. This will form a paste, or roux. Keeping the heat low here is very important, as you don't want the roux to burn. Add the milk and stir it all together for a couple of minutes. Let the sauce mixture heat up and thicken, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Step 3 Add Egg and Garlic
Beat the egg in a small bowl. When the butter/flour/milk mixture starts to thicken, add a tablespoon of the mixture to the egg and stir together quickly. This prevents the egg from cooking when you add it to the pot. Add the egg and the garlic powder to the pot. If you like a bit of kick to your mac and cheese, add the mustard now. The mixture will continue to thicken; keep stirring it every few minutes.
Step 4 Add Cheese
Add 2 cups of the cheese. If using only one kind of cheese, cheddar is a great option. A combination of cheeses is the best though. Mozzarella and asiago are delicious options, but experiment with your favorites. Add two tablespoons of grated Parmesan for an extra kick.
Stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Step 5 Combine Noodles and Cheese Sauce
Pour the sauce into the pot with the macaroni noodles and mix thoroughly so that the noodles are coated with sauce. Transfer the mixture into a large baking dish. Sprinkle the last cup of cheese on top. If you like, sprinkle breadcrumbs, as well.
Step 6 Bake and Enjoy!
Bake for 30 minutes. The cheese on top should be crispy and the edges slightly browned. Let cool for 5-10 minutes and then eat and enjoy!