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Easy Homemade Baked Mac and Cheese

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Homemade Baked Mac and Cheese. It’s one of those comfort food dishes that says it all. Putting smiles on the faces of the cook and those they live with. Perfect for a cozy weeknight or weekend dinner, or as a side on the holiday table.

Easy Homemade Baked Mac and Cheese | 31Daily.com

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When the world turns topsy-turvy, and life gets stressful, a bowl of Homemade Baked Mac and Cheese can make the world seem better. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s the creamy, gooey, melty cheese or the crispy top, or the just-made-for-you, hot from the oven comfort.

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But whatever it is, most of us can relate. It’s a bit like a momentary return to childhood loves, remembering what once was, and knowing that life will get better.

Or maybe… life is great! And it’s cold outside. And all you can think of is warming up those toes. For you know that nothing is quite as warm and toasty as fresh-from-the-oven homemade baked mac and cheese.

Whatever your reason… this is a great recipe to save, keep, and try. It’s based on one my mom has made for years. Because after all, we can tweak mac and cheese, but never would be want to wholly change it. It’s perfect… just as it’s always been.

Easy Homemade Baked Mac and Cheese | 31Daily.com

Easy Homemade Baked Mac and Cheese Ingredients

This is the recipe my mother made for us, and perhaps her mother made for her. A family recipe that warms my heart every time it makes an appearance on the menu.

Here’s what you need to make this simple mac and cheese recipe:

  • Pasta: For me, it has to be elbow macaroni!
  • Butter and flour to make a thickening roux
  • Milk for the creamy cheddar sauce
  • Cheese: Use your favorite cheese. The classic is a sharp cheddar but experiment with different cheeses for delicious flavor combinations.
  • Spices: salt, pepper, ground mustard, cayenne

How to Make Baked Mac and Cheese

Begin by preheating the oven to 375°F and buttering or coating a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Then, cook the macaroni according to the package instructions.

Mac & Cheese Sauce

Melt two tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan or skillet. Add the flour, whisking constantly until light brown, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly until the sauce is smooth and thickens. Stir in the salt, pepper, mustard, and cayenne, if using, and remove from the heat. Stir in grated cheese and continue to stir until the cheese is melted.

Bake

Add drained and cooked macaroni to the cheese sauce and stir to combine. Pour into prepared baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 5 minutes to crisp the top.

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Easy Homemade Baked Mac and Cheese | 31Daily.com

Easy Homemade Baked Mac and Cheese

When the world turns topsy-turvy, and life gets stressful, a bowl of Homemade Baked Mac and Cheese can make the world seem better. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s the creamy, gooey, melty cheese or the crispy top, or the just-made-for-you, hot from the oven comfort. In any case, this is a recipe you’ll want to keep, save and try!
5 from 1 vote
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Stephanie Wilson

Ingredients

  • 1 lb elbow macaroni
  • 3 tablespoons butter divided (2 for sauce, one for greasing the pan)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese I like sharp cheddar or a mix

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375°F and butter/non-stick spray a baking dish. Set aside.
  • Cook macaroni according to package instructions.

Mac & Cheese Sauce

  • Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan or skillet. Add the flour, whisking constantly until light brown, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly until the sauce is smooth and thickens. Stir in the salt, pepper, mustard, and cayenne, if using and remove from the heat. Stir in grated cheese and continue to stir until the cheese is melted.

Bake

  • Add drained and cooked macaroni to the cheese sauce and stir to combine. Pour into prepared baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 5 minutes to crisp the top.

Notes

GARNISH: I always like to add a bit of green to anything I make. Most often I sprinkle chopped fresh parsley on the baked mac and cheese just before serving. But sometimes I like to add a crispy breadcrumb topping that bakes with the mac and cheese. Here’s how I do it.
BUTTERED BREADCRUMB TOPPING: Toasting 2-3 slices of white bread. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter and pulse the toast in a food processor, Combine the breadcrumbs and melted butter. Before putting the mac and cheese in the oven, top with breadcrumbs, bake as directed.

Nutrition

Calories: 393kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 538mg | Potassium: 259mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 566IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 296mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Course: Side
Cuisine: American
Keyword: baked mac and cheese

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