Classic Macaroni & Cheese

Macaroni & Cheese

What do you do when you find yourself with several unopened blocks of cheese after a party for your three-year-old? Work on perfecting your go-to homemade mac and cheese recipe of course! I think that I’ve finally done it! I’ve created our new favorite macaroni and cheese without processed cheese.

I think that I’ve finally done it! I’ve created our new favorite macaroni and cheese without processed cheese or any products full of mystery ingredients. I’m not usually a fan of cheese sauces that start with a roux, but this one came out smooth, creamy and perfectly cheesy.

This mac and cheese can be made entirely on the stovetop (if you’re in a hurry to get dinner on the table) and is absolutely delicious. I ended up topping the stovetop mac and cheese with a little extra shredded cheddar and panko breadcrumbs and baked it for 25-30 minutes to give it a little crunch and take it to the next level. You guys, I’m in love. Worth every calorie.

Now if only I could convince my picky toddler to eat any macaroni and cheese that doesn’t come in the long, skinny noodles ala Kraft.  Sigh… Crazy kid doesn’t know what he’s missing.

Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz small shell pasta (or pasta of your choice)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • freshly ground black pepper (to taste or as desired)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups freshly grated cheddar cheese*
  • 1/4 cup Italian seasoned panko bread crumbs

*  I strongly recommend shredding the cheese yourself from a block rather than using the pre-shredded cheese due to the coating that is usually present on the bagged shredded cheese.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  3. In medium-sized saucepan, melt butter with minced garlic over medium heat.
  4. Stir in flour, onion powder, and paprika. Cook for 3-5 minutes to form a roux. Add desired amount of salt and pepper.
  5. Slowly add milk, stirring until smooth and bubbly. Bring to a low boil and cook until the sauce begins to thicken.
  6. Stir in cheese in parts until is fully melted and smooth.
  7. Drain pasta. Pour cheese sauce over pasta and stir to combine.
  8. Top with panko bread crumbs.
  9. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

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