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How to Make Homemade Creamy Mac and Cheese

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Homemade creamy baked mac and cheese doesn’t have to be complicated with layers of ingredients to be the soul-warming food you crave. This homemade baked macaroni and cheese is my most favorite and has pleased crowds, small families, kids and picky eaters alike–give it a try and you’ll see why.

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Homemade creamy baked mac and cheese doesn’t have to be complicated with layers of ingredients to be the soul-warming food you crave. This homemade baked macaroni and cheese is my most favorite and has pleased crowds, small families, kids and picky eaters alike–give it a try and you’ll see why.

Mac and cheese is one of those meals that yes, you can make it from a box, but homemade mac and cheese is much much better!

Why you’ll love this recipe

Homemade is my very favorite and I’ll tell you why… The topping!

I use breadcrumbs for my topping occasionally, but, a Panko topped mac and cheese is just that much better.

Homemade Mac N Cheese isn’t actually that complicated – really, if I can make it, you can too!

What You’ll need to make this Mac n Cheese Recipe

  • Butter
  • All-purpose flour
  • Whole milk, 3%
  • Aged white cheddar cheese, grated
  • Orange sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • Kosher Salt
  • Chili powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Seasoned panko crumbs
Homemade creamy baked mac and cheese doesn’t have to be complicated with layers of ingredients to be the soul-warming food you crave. This homemade baked macaroni and cheese is my most favorite and has pleased crowds, small families, kids and picky eaters alike–give it a try and you’ll see why. #comfortfood #kidfriendly #casserole #pastarecipe #macandcheese #dinnerinspiration

Here are my tips for the Best Homemade Creamy Mac and Cheese

  • To ensure your macaroni doesn’t get too soft, be sure to cook it 2 minutes less than you normally would, about 8 minutes. Rinsing well with cold water after draining will stop the cooking process and will also ensure your pasta doesn’t get too soft.
  • The cheese needs to melt by only the heat from the sauce. This process of turning off the heat, then adding the cheese to melt without bottom heat, helps to ensure the cheese doesn’t become grainy and is the secret to a smooth, creamy sauce for your macaroni and cheese!
  • Don’t skip the chili powder or chipotle chili powder. It’s such a lovely smoky, spicy note. It complements the cheese perfectly, without over-powering it.
  • Add a bit more salt if you need to. Taste your cheese sauce before adding the pasta and add a bit more salt if you think it needs it. Proper salting makes all the flavours here really shine.

Enjoy!

Classic Waldorf Salad

This classic Waldorf Salad is full of fresh, crispy, apples, celery, grapes and walnuts with a creamy mayonnaise dressing served over a bed of lettuce. Serve it as a side dish or appetizer at Christmas or Thanksgiving. You can easily add chicken or turkey to make it a complete meal!

Get the recipe → Classic Waldorf Salad

Classic Waldorf Salad

This classic Waldorf Salad is full of fresh, crispy, apples, celery, grapes and walnuts with a creamy mayonnaise dressing served over a bed of lettuce. Serve it as a side dish or appetizer at Christmas or Thanksgiving. You can easily add chicken or turkey to make it a complete meal!

Get the recipe → Classic Waldorf Salad

Homemade creamy baked mac and cheese doesn’t have to be complicated with layers of ingredients to be the soul-warming food you crave. This homemade baked macaroni and cheese is my most favorite and has pleased crowds, small families, kids and picky eaters alike–give it a try and you’ll see why. #comfortfood #kidfriendly #casserole #pastarecipe #macandcheese #dinnerinspiration

Homemade Creamy Mac and Cheese

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Homemade creamy baked mac and cheese doesn’t have to be complicated with layers of ingredients to be the soul-warming food you crave. This homemade baked macaroni and cheese is my most favorite and has pleased crowds, small families, kids and picky eaters alike–give it a try and you’ll see why.

Ingredients

Macaroni

  • 2 cups scoobi doo pasta, (use less if using elbow macaroni)

Cheese Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups whole milk, 3%
  • 1 cup good aged white cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 cups orange sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt little less if using table salt
  • 1/4 tsp regular chili powder
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder

Topping:

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup seasoned panko crumbs

Instructions

  1. Add water and a bit of salt to a large pot and place over high heat for the pasta. While it's heating, prepare the cheese sauce.

Cheese Sauce

  1. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and continue to whisk and cook for about 2 minutes.
  2. Very slowly add the milk, a little at a time, whisking constantly. Once all the milk has been added, cook, stirring frequently until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. (Don't rush this step. The mixture will not be thick, but will noticeably thicken after 8-10 minutes of cooking).
  3. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Add the cheese, salt, chili powder and garlic powder. Stir until the cheese is melted and all the ingredients are incorporated, about 3 minutes. (If the cheese isn't melted completely after about 3 minutes, you can put the pan back on low heat and stir until it is melted). Set aside for a minute.
  4. Preheat oven to 350F (175C) with rack in the centre of the oven. Oil or butter an 8-inch square baking dish, an 8-inch cast-iron skillet or individual baking dishes.
  5. When the pasta water is boiling, add the macaroni and cook for 2 minutes less than the package directions indicate. (The noodles will finish cooking in the sauce in the oven). When the pasta is cooked, drain and immediately rinse well with cold water. Make sure your pasta is well drained.

Topping

  1. Melt butter in saute pan and toss the panko crumbs to coat.
  2. Add the cooked pasta and to the cheese sauce and mix gently, but thoroughly. (It might look like too much sauce or too little pasta, but trust me, it will all be good in the end). Spoon or ladle the mixture into a prepared baking dish or individual dishes. Sprinkle the top of each with topping.
  3. Bake in the preheated 350F (175C) oven uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes, until the sauce has bubbled up around the edges and the top has a nice golden crust. Let sit for a few minutes before serving.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 8 Servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 357Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 53mgSodium: 555mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 2gSugar: 9gProtein: 12g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment below or snap a pic and hashtag it #Salads4Lunch — I'd love to see all of your tasty creations on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!

Q: Do your children have a favorite food that you make – something they request again and again? I’d love to hear from you in a comment below. We are always looking for inspiration (and my children thank you in advance!) 

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