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Saturday, October 13, 2018

Potluck style Mac N Cheese

My grand-kids love mac and cheese and most days any old mac and cheese will do but for those special occasions we all like something more. This recipe for Southern Mac and Cheese would be just that. It is the perfect deal for company, pot lucks, special occasions, birthdays, holidays or any other special time.

The recipe I share here for Southern Mac and Cheese is one that will feed a feast to the family. Made in an 8 quart casserole dish most times but can be cut down or increased to feed the number you need.

Like most mac and cheese it is best served hot right out of the oven. If there are any leftovers they can be reheated by stirring in a little extra milk or heat up individual servings in a microwave.

Remember this is a special occasion recipe that is meant to be decadent.

  • 2 pounds of medium cut elbow macaroni
  • 1 pound of sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 pound of Monterey jack cheese
  • 2 pound block of original Velveeta brand cheese
  • 2-1/2 cups of whole milk
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • Kosher salt, freshly cracked pepper and Cajun seasoning, to taste
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) of pure butter

Butter or spray a large baking dish or casserole pan with non-stick cooking spray; set aside. For the full recipe you'll need a large pan that will hold 8 quarts; for a half pan use a 4 quart dish. Boil noodles, rinse, drain and set aside. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Shred the cheddar and jack cheeses, stir together and set aside. Meanwhile, pour the milk into a large saucepan and warm over medium low heat. Cut up the Velveeta into chunks, add to the saucepan and cook over medium low heat until all of the cheese has melted, stirring often. Add additional milk if needed to thin. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Crack the eggs into a separate bowl and lightly whisk. Scoop out some of the hot cheese sauce and slowly add that to the eggs to temper them, continuously whisking as you add the liquid to the eggs. Once well combined, add the eggs to the cheese sauce and quickly whisk together until well mixed. Tempering prevents the eggs from scrambling in the hot cheese sauce.

Add half of the elbow noodles to the baking pan and season lightly with salt, pepper and Cajun seasoning. Slice thin layers of butter and spread them around on top of the noodles. Sprinkle 1/2 of the cheddar/jack cheese combo over the noodles. Ladle 1/2 of the Velveeta cheese sauce over that. Repeat the layers of noodles, seasoning, butter, cheddar/jack cheese, and Velveeta sauce.

Cook at 375 degrees F, uncovered for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until bubbly and lightly browned on top.

Cook's Notes: This is a big batch, 8-quart recipe, meant to feed a holiday crowd, but it also halves very nicely. Size matters with your pasta noodles also, so look for a medium cut elbow, not too small, not too large or jumbo. Do not make substitutes, use low or reduced fat products, margarine, or a generic brand processed cheese. I use Velveeta brand processed cheese, sharp cheddar (not mild), whole milk and Land O'Lakes brand pure unsalted butter. Do not substitute pre-shredded cheeses as they contain fillers and stabilizers that will affect the results. Do not use all cheddar/monterey as sauce will curdle and will not be creamy without the Velveeta.

Make Ahead Tips: I do not recommend assembling this dish ahead as the pasta tends to absorb the sauce, giving a dry result after baking. What I do is to prepare the macaroni ahead, rinse and drain well, then store in+ a sealed container in the refrigerator. I also shred the cheese ahead, loosely bag and refrigerate. The cheese sauce may also be made ahead and rewarmed on low, however I find it just as quick to make that when I assemble and bake the casserole.

recipe resource here

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