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Becka's Macaroni & Cheese

Rebecca is a cyberfriend from a foodie forum where she convinced everyone that her macaroni and cheese, even though it does contain canned soup, is a blue ribbon winner.  This side dish is guaranteed to make everyone at the table break into smiles.  I've made only very modest alterations to suit my family but the credit is all Rebecca's.

1 pound   elbow macaroni -- undercooked in boiling, salted water & drained
4 tablespoons   butter
4 tablespoons   flour
2 teaspoons   dry mustard (preferably Coleman's)
teaspoon   cayenne
1 can   Campbell's Cheddar cheese soup
4 tablespoons   butter, melted
2 teaspoons   salt
4 cups   whole milk
1 cup   heavy cream
2 cups (8 oz)   medium Cheddar cheese, shredded
2 cups   Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
~ 2 cups   plain dry breadcrumbs -- very coarsely grated from a stale loaf of crusty white bread (good country bread is best but if you use store-bought crumbs, make sure they are roughly grated, not fine) or use the Japanese Panko breadcrumbs.

Preheat oven to 350.    Combine cheeses together in a bowl.  Butter, or spray with nonstick spray, a 13" x 9" baking pan.

In a 5 quart pot melt the butter then whisk in flour, mustard, salt, & cayenne.

Whisk in milk & cream. Cook, stirring, until thickened and bubbly.

Add the soup and almost 3 cups of the shredded cheese.  Stir until melted.  Add elbows, combine and pour into pan.  

Toss the remaining shredded cheese with the breadcrumbs and spread over top of the macaroni & cheese.  Bake 20 to 25 minutes, just until heated through.  If the top is not crusty enough, broil briefly - do NOT overbake.

Serving Size : 6 

Notes: 

  1. Once assembled, this must be baked immediately. If the macaroni sits in the cheese sauce, the macaroni absorbs the sauce and the baked macaroni & cheese is dry. Leftovers are great, though.
  2. The breadcrumb topping is optional.  It's good but it can be sacrificed if you're in a hurry.
 

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