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.
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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.

Recipe 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