Monday, February 7, 2011

Classic Baked Mac & Cheese

Every once in a while my son wants to learn to cook something.  This week he had a craving for baked macaroni and cheese.  We agreed it would be a great opportunity for him to learn to cook this classic dish. 

Baked macaroni and cheese doesn't get made very often at my house.  It is a once in a while treat because of its high fat, carb and calorie content.  On those occasions when I do make it I use the classic recipe from The Joy of Cooking.  That is the recipe we decided to make.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni
  • 2 1/4 cups grated sharp Cheddar or Colby cheese
  • 3 T butter
  • 2 T all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole or skim milk (I used skim)
  • 1/2 medium onion, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350°F.Cook the macaroni in salted water approximately 3 minutes less than package directions.  Drain and set aside.  Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat.  Whisk in 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour, cooking for about 3 minutes.  Gradually whisk in 2 cups of milk.  We used skim milk.  Stir in the onion, bay leaf and paprika.  Simmer for approximately 15 minutes, stirring frequently.

Remove from the heat and stir in the grated cheese.  We used 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar, 1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack and 1 1/2 cups grated Cabot's 75% fat free sharp cheddar.   Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Stir in the elbow macaroni. 

Pour mixture into a buttered 1 1/2 quart deep baking dish.Toss breadcrumbs with 1 tablespoon of melted butter.  Sprinkle over the top of the macaroni mixture. 

Bake until the breadcrumbs are lightly browned, about 30 minutes.  Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

The result...delicious.  It was cheesy and creamy with a crunch from the breadcrumb topping.  It was just what you want when you are craving baked macaroni and cheese.  No one could tell we used skim milk and the Cabot's 75% fat free cheddar cheese.

Craving baked macaroni and cheese?  You can get the printable recipe here:



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