Quick and easy mac and cheese

November 12, 2011 § 9 Comments

So I love mac and cheese. Pretty much any kind that doesn’t involve powdered cheese. Nick likes any mac and cheese whether its made of powder or not. So of course when I suggested that we have mac and cheese around 6pm the other night, Nick more than happily said he’d gladly wait for me to make it no matter how long it takes. Considering everything I cook typically takes more time than we’d like, I was a little surprised. So I decided to try and find a quicker recipe than our current standard, which involves making the delicious cheese sauce, cooking pasta, then putting it all in the oven.

So I found this recipe courtesy of the more humble version of our favorite magazine, ATK. Parenthetical asides are amounts/types of ingredients that I used. I think because this recipe is so simple, it requires better than average cheese and likely cheese that hasn’t been pre-shredded. But cheeses can likely be played around with to your tastes, and perhaps next time I’ll experiment and keep you posted.

Nick thinks that this is the best one we’ve had in a while that we’ve made, and rivals that of Poole’s Diner, our newly discovered absolute favorite restaurant in Raleigh. I think this recipe good, great considering time and effort, but their mac and cheese was pretty darn amazing.

Coming up next: pumpkin recipes!

The Stuff

  • 2tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2cups fresh bread crumbs (or Panko since I don’t make breadcrumbs)
  •  Salt and pepper
  • 3 3/4cups water, plus more as needed
  • 1(12-ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 3cups elbow macaroni (a little less than 1 box, I used the whole box)
  • 1teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2teaspoons hot sauce (I don’t like hot sauce, so used a dash of cayenne)
  • 3cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (10 oz Cracker Barrel, extra sharp)
  • 2cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (8 oz colby jack, Kraft)
The details
  • 1. Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add bread crumbs, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until deep golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl and wipe out skillet.
  • 2. Bring water, 1 1/4 cups evaporated milk, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to simmer in skillet over medium-high heat. Add macaroni and cook, stirring often, until macaroni is al dente, 8 to 10 minutes.
  • 3. Whisk remaining evaporated milk, cornstarch, and hot sauce in small bowl, then stir into skillet. Simmer until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Off heat, stir in cheeses, one handful at a time, adding water as needed to adjust consistency. Sprinkle with toasted bread crumbs. Serve.

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§ 9 Responses to Quick and easy mac and cheese

  • chickpea says:

    This sounds amazing! The evaporated milk is a surprise… I’ve been craving mac and cheese lately, may have to make this tonight!

    • beestingshurt says:

      Did you end ip making it? I’m curious what you thought, if so. Only major downfall of this stovetop recipe for md was that leftovers weren’t as good as the original–weird for Mac and cheese.

      • chickpea says:

        I haven’t made it yet. Will be a goal this weekend. Mostly because I keep forgetting to buy evaporated milk… I’ve also seen a recipe floating about on the internet about boiling the noodles in milk and then not draining them and dumping all the cheese etc. into the pot. Intriguing!

  • chickpea says:

    Reading this again… after the noodles are cooked, do you dump out the cooking water/milk (i.e., strain the noodles)? Or do you keep it in the pan and add the rest of the ingredients to the cooking water/milk? It sounds like you keep the cooking water/milk, but just want to be sure… 🙂

  • chickpea says:

    SWEET JESUS. I just made this Mike & Nick, and I feel like I owe you a personal thank you. It is AWESOME. I didn’t have Tabasco, so I used red pepper flakes, and it is currently knocking my socks off. Socks on the floor. Sockless.

  • has anyone experimented with other cheeses yet? I made it last night as called for, but was fantasizing about the addition of some goat cheese. and possibly fresh tomatoes….

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