Baked Macaroni and Cheese
There is a reason I write a food blog and not a crafting or sewing blog. Food I can experiment with and make my own. If it doesn’t turn out quite right, there’s still time to change the flavor a bit or its not a big deal to just get something else to eat. Sewing requires precision and attention to detail. Once its done, I’m pretty sure its done.
I’m trying to make quilts for my kids and its going… ok. I don’t think I have the patience for such a thing. I’m making very simple quilts, but exact measuring and cutting are still important. If you’re dying to see my progress perhaps I’ll share along the way, but your best bet is probably to follow me on Instagram (theliveinkitchen).
I always loved the quilt my mom made me as a kid and I hope my children can have the same fond memories of cuddling up under their quilts whether they’re reading a book or watching a movie.
I might end up having to make them some warm, comforting mac and cheese instead. Mac and cheese memories are good too, right?
There are a few steps to this recipe but they are relatively easy. This is a really delightful alternative to the boxed mac and cheese if that’s all your kids seem to prefer. I almost always serve it along side spinach and white beans to round out the meal. You could certainly mix in some chopped broccoli or cauliflower without too much notice too.
When simmering the sauce the recipe calls for adding a halved onion. If you like onions (I’m the only one in my family who does) feel free to dice it up and leave it in there. It will come out soft and add a wonderful flavor to the dish.
If you sew please feel free to pass along any advice. I’d also love to hear what sorts of objects or meals you fondly remember from your childhood.
4 Tablespoons butter
4 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 onion, peeled and halved
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
2 1/4 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups elbow macaroni
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 teaspoons butter
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Coat a 1 1/2 quart baking dish with cooking spray.
In a small saucepan, scald the milk over high heat until bubbles form around the edge. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a medium sauce pan melt 4 Tablespoons butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour until well blended and smooth, about 1 1/2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and slowly whisk in the milk. Return to the heat and bring to a simmer, whisking to prevent lumps. Continue to cook and whisk until the sauce is smooth and hot and has thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
Add the onion, bay leaf, and paprika to the sauce and simmer gently over low heat for 15 minutes, stirring often.
While the sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the macaroni just until tender.
Remove the sauce from the heat and remove the onion and bay leaf. Stir in two-thirds of the cheese. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
Drain the pasta and return to the pot. Stir in the cheese sauce. Pour half the mixture into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with half the remaining cheese. Top with the rest of the macaroni and then the remaining cheese.
In a small bowl, melt butter and combine with bread crumbs. Sprinkle over the top of the finished macaroni dish.
Bake until the bread crumbs are lightly browned, about 30 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
Adapted from The Joy of Cooking