Sweet And Crumby

Baking, a Love Story

Perfectly Simple Mac N’ Cheese

38 Comments

You know in the movie Bridget Jones’ Diary when Colin Firth says, “I like you just the way you are,”… this Mac N’ Cheese is perfect just the way it is.  It’s simple, and sometimes when the world is a complicated crazy mess, it’s nice to have something that is just basic and wonderful to fall back on– something that is totally itself.

I live near Los Angeles, and pretty much NOTHING is itself around here.  Lips are bigger, boobs are perkier, foreheads are line-free and tans are sprayed on. Everything is enhanced, whitened, brightened, made better than their original versions (so we think).

The new fad diet is the talk of the water cooler chats and no one is seen without their blue tooth, blackberry or iphone which is somehow holstered to their body.  I bet some people have even looked into having them implanted.

Life is way too complex sometimes…people can get ahold of us at home, at the office, in our car, in our sleep, at the movies and possibly even if we are in surgery I suppose.  Between work, school, baseball or soccer practice, we are moving in thousands of directions it seems.

So sometimes, it’s so nice to have a very simple, right to the point Mac N’ Cheese up your sleeve when you need some basic comfort food.  No truffle oil, or lobster nor bacon bits. Just pasta, milk and cheesy goodness. What’s not to love?

Let’s not kid ourselves, it’s not light in the calorie department, but it’s light on labor if that counts for anything.  One pot and one casserole dish, and you are on your way to a melt in your mouth meal.  Add chopped broccoli or edamame beans if you want it to include some real nutrients….then you won’t feel so bad as you chew the soft noodles, decadent sharp cheddar and other creamy sensations that are tantalizing your taste buds.

When I served it up for a quick dinner after lots of weekend partying, it was simple, straightforward and to the point, and  I liked it just the way it was.

When I am feeling inundated by the twenty which ways my life is going, it’s so comforting to know I have this super cheesy, super easy mac n’ cheese to bring me back down to earth.

Aunt Kizzy’s Macaroni and Cheese
Adapted from the Los Angeles Times.com
Makes about 8-12 side servings (depends on how many sides you are serving and how big of eaters your guests are). To make the size you seen in the casserole dish above, make 1.5 times this recipe).
1/2 lb. macaroni noodles or rigatoni
3 T. unsalted butter
3 T. all purpose flour
2 c.  low-fat or whole (not nonfat) milk HOT (hot is important)
2 1/2 c. grated Cheddar (reserve 1/2 cup for later)
2 c. grated Jack Cheese
3/4 t. salt
1/4 t. white pepper
nonstick cooking spray

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray coat a casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. Cook the macaroni in plenty of rapidly salted (about 1 t. salt) boiling water until tender…above 12 minutes. Drain in a collander and let sit in there in the collander.

Melt the butter in same pot that you cooked the macaroni in over medium heat and whisk in the flour.  Cook, stirring, until the raw flour smell goes away, 2 to 3 minutes.  Heat the milk in a liquid measuring cup in the microwave for about 1 minute +.  Pour the warmed milk into the butter mixture and cook and whisk until smooth.  Add 2  c. Cheddar and 2 c. Jack, salt and white pepper and stir until the cheese melts, about 3 minutes.  Stir in the macaroni. Pour into the spray coated  casserole dish.   Sprinkle with 1/2 c. grated Cheddar and cover with aluminum foil.  Either store it this way in the refrigerator to be baked later in the day (can store this way for 24 hrs.) or bake immediately for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and bake until lightly browned on top, about 30 minutes more.

38 thoughts on “Perfectly Simple Mac N’ Cheese

  1. I COULDN’T AGREE MORE, GENI. Not that I wasn’t used to the ‘fake’ people when I lived in Orange County, but it’s even more relevant in LA. Oh, and no diets for me–gimme this cheesy mac & cheese!! The creamier/cheesier the better. Sounds and looks uhhhmazing. :)

  2. seems so delicious, so delicious. Thank you, dear Geni, love, nia

  3. I’ve had that yummy goodness!! It definitely hits the spot!!!

  4. Perfect cheesiness in a casserole – yum!
    No one said anything about sharing right? :D

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  5. There is nothing like plain old mac n cheese! Looks fantastic.

  6. LOVE that cheesy goodness!

  7. I was hoping things had slowed down for you, Geni…sorry you’re still so busy. I do love this recipe for a easy filling meal (and I bet the leftovers are outrageous). Sending you warm thoughts, my friend. :)

  8. Aah yes, can’t beat a good old mac ‘n cheese – although I do usually throw some fried bacon to it and fresh chopped tomatoes. :-) Mandy

  9. Mac N Cheese is the go to food when all else tastes, Oh so bad ! Or is, Oh! so tough to make in this killer heat.

  10. Life is far too short to skip on things like mac and cheese! I’m craving some right now actually… breakfast mac&cheese?

  11. Similar to my own recipe – and so much better tasting than the box one that is sold in the supermarkets :)

  12. You’re right- life gets too complicated and crazy sometimes! Thanks for reminding me of a delicious comfort food!

  13. As good as mac & cheese can be with all of the fixins, I still really enjoy the original. Maybe because that’s how Mom made it but it sure is good. Your recipe here looks very much like hers, so , it has to be delicious. ;)

  14. Mac and cheese…an ultimate comfort food. Looks seriously satisfying.

  15. Simple mac & cheese is definitely a favorite in our house! The only thing we ever add is broccoli. I love that line from Bridget Jones, and I never realized how perfectly it describes mac & cheese!

  16. Mmmm . . . I’ve been craving mac and cheese all day. This sounds so amazing.
    You can’t beat the real thing – in any capacity.

  17. I’d love some of this.

  18. If it’s good enough for Colin firth it’s good enough for me *sigh of content*. I agree, we over complicate food and wonderful staple dishes like mac cheese should stay mac cheese!

  19. I agree this is the perfect mac n’ cheese! I am going to save this recipe. I just started the last year making my own mac n’ cheese. Tastes so much better than the boxed ones! I made some sneaking in cauliflower, I’ll have to post it soon! I think I’ll make some this weekend! The weather turned on us and we are in the 60’s here in Michigan, perfect comfort food!

  20. This looks like the ultimate comfort food meal Geni. I’m loving it. And I couldn’t agree with you more. Sometimes life just starts to pull us every which way and having something that is straightforward and without apologies is the perfect way to go. :) Hugs to you!

  21. I quote that movie all the time! OK, um not really, but I do love the mac!

  22. MMM… sometimes the simplest things are the best!

  23. I totally agree, Geni. Sometimes simple is best! Can’t wait to try this version of mac and cheese :)

  24. This looks soo good, pure comfort food and simple just the way it should be!

  25. Nothing beats a simple comfort meal like this

  26. When life gets crazy I definitely crave simple comfort foods. Like this. Swoon,.

  27. Simple and straight forward is a winner in my book.

  28. I like the idea of super cheesy and super easy…nothing beats a creamy and cheesy mac n cheese…indeed a perfect comfort food.
    Hope you are having a great week Geni :)

  29. Lots of gooey cheese. Oh, so yummy looking!

  30. Hello SweetandCrumby! That Mac and Cheese looks so delicious! I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award:

    http://specialspice.wordpress.com/2012/06/07/its-raining-blog-awards/

  31. So true Geni…sometimes the simplest things are the best and not one should over think Mac and Cheese. Hope you’ve been well while I’ve been away. Cheers!

  32. Mac and Cheese is my one true love. Okay…well that’s the hubs and kiddo but mac and cheese is a close third. ;)

  33. Too true Geni, we all need to slow the heck down! I love mac n’ cheese and I like it real…just like other body parts ;)

  34. I hear you Geni,
    Just this morning I was at my daughter’s school to get her certificate and my phone’s battery went out, we got home 3 hours later after some shopping and when I plugged it in I found 27 messages from my clinic patients saying they couldn’t reach me and when I called back not one of them had something important to say or ask about.
    I find it irritating sometimes that people can reach you any where and anytime..I get calls from patients asking about their appointments at 10 pm!
    sorry for the rant..I guess I need some of your heavenly mac and cheese to put things in prespective

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