Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

A Christian tradition that has been adopted by many families is to have no meat on Fridays in honor of Christ’s passion and death on Good Friday. My family is among those who still practice this tradition; however, trying to come up with a meatless meal to feed a large family is not the easiest task! I guess why should it be if the whole point of the tradition is to make a sacrifice in honor of the Ultimate Sacrifice, right? So no complaining here…

Anyhow, fish, potatoes, vegetable pizza, meatless spaghetti, and macaroni and cheese are usually the top contenders for a Friday meal. And today it is macaroni and cheese from scratch! A very simple dish of ooey gooey cheesey goodness prepared on the stove top and finished off in the oven. Can’t wait? Me either!

Homemade Mac ‘n Cheese

Yield: 1 4-qt Baking Dish

Homemade Mac ‘n Cheese

Ingredients

  • 9 slices hearty white sandwich bread, torn into quarters
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (5 of which need to be chilled)
  • 1-1/2 pounds elbow macaroni
  • Salt for seasoning
  • 9 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2-1/4 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 7-1/2 cups milk
  • 24 oz shredded or chunked cheese of your choice - I use whatever I have which is usually just cheddar but Monterey Jack or colby or a mix of all three are good as well.

Instructions

  1. Pulse bread and 5 tablespoons chilled butter in food processor to coarse crumbs and put in fridge until ready to use.
  2. Adjust oven rack to middle of oven and preheat broiler.
  3. In a large pot bring salted water to a boil and add the pasta until tender, then drain pasta and put into a separate bowl and set aside.
  4. Using the same pot, melt the remaining butter and add the flour, mustard, and salt and cook, stirring constantly until combined and mixture deepens in color.
  5. Gradually whisk in milk and bring mixture to boil, whisking contantly. Reduce heat and simmer, whisking occasionally, until thickened.
  6. Now time to add the cheese! Remove from heat and drop in your cheese (save some for topping casserole later on), slowly whisking it in until completely melted and combined.
  7. Add the pasta and stir it in with a wooden spoon. Heat the pasta through again.
  8. Transfer your mac 'n cheese to a 4-qt baking dish and sprinkle with bread crumb mixture and a bit more of that yummy cheese. Broil until topping is a deep golden brown.
  9. Dig in!
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Macaroni and CheeseCook pasta in salted water until tender. Drain and set aside in separate bowl.

Macaroni and CheeseMelt 7 tablespoons butter in now-empty pot, then stir in the flour.

Macaroni and CheeseThen stir in the dried mustard and salt and cook about 1 minute, until color deepens a bit.

Macaroni and CheeseAdd the milk slowly…

Macaroni and Cheesewhisking it constantly.

Macaroni and CheeseLet mixture come to a boil then reduce to a simmer until sauce has thickened. A good test is to dip your spoon into the mixture and if the sauce coats the spoon like in the photo, it’s done and time to add the cheeeeeese!! :)

Macaroni and CheeseAdd most of the cheese, but save a bit to top off the dish. Melt the cheese completely, stirring constantly.

Macaroni and CheeseCheesey sauce should be thick and beeeautiful like this. :)

Macaroni and CheeseAdd the pasta and gently stir it in. Let the pasta get heated through.

Macaroni and CheeseDump the pasta into a 4-qt baking dish, top with bread crumb mixture and some more cheese! Put under the broiler until the topping is a deep golden brown.

Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and CheeseWait for it to cool a bit… nah, just dig in!

Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and CheeseOh boy, I don’t know about you but I don’t need any meat looking at all that cheeeeese… so, so yummy! :)