Paula Deen has a lot of recipes for Mac and Cheese on foodnetwork.com and people give it mixed reviews. One reviewer expressed a theory that there are two kinds of mac and cheese people, the creamy and the eggy, and that is why there are extreme opinions on the matter. Well, I don't know about all of that. I will say that I don't want to make anything that calls for a can of soup or any amount of Velveeta cheese (it's shelf stable, y'all! that's a problem!). And based on that criteria, I rejected Paula's crock pot mac and cheese. And because of that criteria, it's not going to turn out to be as creamy as it could be, I suppose. Still, I thought this was delicious. I didn't follow the recipe to the letter, so I am changing it, by way of sketchy details in parentheses, to let you know what I did.
The Lady's Cheesy Mac
- 4c. cooked macaroni, drained (about half a box, I think- 8oz.?)
- 2c. grated Cheddar (I wanted to clean out the cheese drawer whilst also adding layers of flavor, so I put in about 1/4c. Gruyere, 1/3c. Asiago, 1/3c. white cheddar, 1/2c. Monterey Jack, 1/2c. Mozzarella, and 2/3c. regular Cheddar for color, so that, in the end, I was closer to 3c. cheese than 2- just use whatever you have, I am totally guessing at amounts, but I definitely used all of these cheeses)
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1/2c. sour cream
- 4 T butter
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1c. milk
-- preheat oven to 350
-- once the macaroni is cooked and drained, place in a large bowl and add cheeses while noodles are hot.
-- in a separate bowl, combine remaining ingredients and add to the macaroni and cheese mixture.
-- pour mixture into casserole dish (or just be like me and mix it in there in the first place- what's the big deal?!) and bake for 30-45 minutes.
This next recipe is from Ina's Barefoot Contessa Family Style. I didn't put the tomatoes in because, sadly, I have some haters in my family. I just know it would be divine with them though! I also used store bought bread crumbs and they were fine (I am not a big bread crumb topping person either way).
Mac and Cheese
1lb. elbow macaroni
1 qt. milk
8T unsalted butter, divided
12 oz. Gruyere, grated (4c.)
8 oz. extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (2c.)
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 lb. fresh tomatoes (4 small)
1 1/2c. fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crust removed)
- preheat oven to 375
- drizzle oil in a large pot of boiling salted water. add macaroni and cook according to directions on package, 6-8 minutes. drain well.
- meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it. melt 6T butter in a large (4 qt.) pot and add the flour. cook over low heat for two minutes, stirring with a whisk. while whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth. off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, 1 T salt, pepper, and nutmeg. add the cooked macaroni and stir well. pour into a 3 qt. baking dish.
- slice the tomatoes and arrange on top. melt the remaining 2T of butter, combine them with the bread crumbs, and sprinkle on top. bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on top.