Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Diet Dr. Pepper and Butter.
That’s what my grocery list said.
Although together they are an oxymoron, separately they are as powerful as they come.
It was an emergency run to the store. I was down to one Diet Dr. Pepper and one stick of butter. If that’s not an emergency, I don’t know what is. If I don’t have a list when I go to the grocery store I’m absolutely lost even if I only need a couple of things.
I’ve decided I need to keep a paper and pencil by my bed. It’s always right before I lay my head on my pillow my mind races about everything that I lacked to do that day and or need to do tomorrow. But by the time the morning rays peek through the window the mental list is gone and I find myself roaming around the house aimlessly. Is anyone else like this or am I completely losing my mind?
My mother always wrote down a list of things to get done for the day. I always thought it was a little weird that she had “SHOWER” on the top of the list. But now that I’m a mom I get it.
 
I’m still thinking about the Buffalo Macaroni and Cheese I made just a little while ago, but this one was calling my name too. My dad is coming to visit soon and he loves a good, traditional mac n’ cheese and I was on the search for one. Make sure to read the recipe notes about this recipe.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound elbow macaroni (about 2 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon powdered mustard
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/3 cup yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 large egg
  • 12 ounces (about 3 cups) sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh black pepper
  • Topping:
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large pot of boiling, extremely salted water cook the pasta to al dente. Do not overcook it!
  3. While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it's free of lumps. Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf. It will thicken, trust me.
  4. Temper in the egg which means to just bring the temperature of the egg up a little so that when you add it to the cheese sauce it doesn't scramble. Just throw a couple of Tablespoons of the warm cheese mixture into a small bowl with the egg and mix. Then throw the egg mixture into the cheese mixture.
  5. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.
  6. Melt the butter in the microwave in a small bowl and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for five to ten minutes before serving.

Notes

1) When making dishes like this it's better if you shred your own cheese. The pre-shredded cheeses have added ingredients to make the cheese not clump together and makes them not melt as well. I actually used pre-shredded cheese here and it was fine but if you want it extra creamy shred your own. 2) People that did not have success with this recipe did not salt their pasta water correctly. You want to salt it so much that if you tasted the water it would taste like the ocean. 3) You need SHARP cheddar cheese. That's what gives it flavor. Don't use mild.

Source: Alton Brown

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Comments

  1. Oh my, this looks lovely. Mac and cheese is such a great staple to know how to make.

  2. your pictures are amazing. i’m actually craving this for breakfast now!

  3. I think we are the same person. First of all, I cannot live without my DDP. Second, I must write everything down. I keep a little notebook with me at all times, just in case. Sometimes I feel like I’m in A Beautiful Mind…but whatever. Finally, my grocery list resembles yours more often than I’d like to admit. Diet soda, butter, Equal, Butterfingers, oatmeal, Ben and Jerry’s…what’s so wrong with that?!

    Love your blog. Keep doing what you’re doing! That mac and cheese looks deeevine.

  4. How come I just barely discovered you today!? I love your blog. Your pictures are amazing, and the recipes look awesome. Keep up the great work. If you don’t mind, I think I want to feature you on me and my sisters blog on our Friday Favorites post.

    http://mycupcakejourney.blogspot.com

  5. Officially drooling after that last pics, lovely lovely lovely

  6. yum! there is something so comforting about real homemade mac n cheese!

  7. Yummmo! I’m thinkin we may have this soon!!! Looks DELISH!

  8. I made this last week and we loved it! I’m a new reader of your blog, I love it!

  9. Love mac and cheese and yours looks divine!

  10. I actually growned when I saw this recipe!!! It’s so happening in my kitchen very soon!

  11. sounds delicious! I will have to try this one out. I tried making homemade mac and cheese once from a Rachael Ray recipe and it did NOT turn out at all. Thanks!

  12. I can’t wait to try this! It looks soooo good!

  13. This is definitely a recipe I’m going to be trying – it looks delicious!

    I gave you a blog award. Check it out at my blog: http://playgroundduty.blogspot.com/

  14. I write list and I have to put down “sit and eat”, else I will be munching all day nothing good.

    Loved this baked mac and cheese, an ultimate comfort food. Thanks.

  15. Haha I find myself way too often going to the grocery store for butter, sugar, and Coke Zero. But you see. I need the caffeine in the coke zero so I can bake without burning down my apartment. True story.

    Love love love this mac and cheese! It looks so classic.

  16. Beautiful photos! And who can resist a good mac and cheese!?

  17. With any pasta that I am going to finish cooking in the oven I only boil it for half the required time. This helps the pasta not get too mushy and overcooked in the oven.

  18. I had to write you a quick note to say “hi”! I just heard about this blog…I am excited to try out your recipes. You look gorgeous by the way! And I’m sure if my mom were sitting here she would want me to tell you “hi” from her too! :)
    -Anjane’ (Allen) Hiatt

  19. I have to put “shower” on my list everyday..not even kidding, or it won’t happen. Once I wrote brush teeth!

    This mac and cheese sounds great! Love the panko on the top :)

  20. Lovely mac & cheese. :)

    I keep a journal size notebook with me at all times and write down everything from master to do lists and daily to do lists to shopping lists and research notes.

    Unfortunately, I panic if I lose it, because my brain is in there. And yes, “shower” ends up on my daily lists – it’s one more thing you have to get done, and you plan around it.

  21. I LOVE Mac & Cheese and this recipe looks delicious! Can’t wait to bite into it!

  22. This is what everyone loves! I have been making this since I was pretty young to be in the kitchen!

  23. I’ve been making this for years, and while I don’t normally have a problem with pre-shredded not melting, it is a MUST to use sharp, and mustard (regular condiment if you don’t want/have dry works ok) and paprika, otherwise it can be a little dull.

  24. we love baked mac ‘n cheese – this looks like a perfect recipe!

  25. I would give my right arm for that baked macaroni right now!!!

  26. Any chance this can be prepared the night before?