My house is on the market, so I am trying to use up everything in my pantry before I have to pack. I didn’t want to mess up the kitchen in case a realtor happened to drop by, so I considered going to Costco for one of my favorite lunches–the free samples. That is usually a well-rounded meal, with dessert and a beverage, right? But, I didn’t feel like going out if I didn’t have to. So, I got my little brain cells working on what to make that is quick and easy. I knew I had cheese and milk in the fridge. So my mind immediately went to Mac and Cheese. Do I have elbow macaroni? I found that I didn’t, but I did find a half box of medium pasta shells. That’ll work. It’s a Sunday afternoon, so I can take the rest to work tomorrow to share with a hungry coworker.
Mac and Cheese is comfort food at it’s best! And so simple! I had this in my mouth in 30 minutes! Although my favorite cheese for this dish is sharp cheddar, you can use practically anything you have on hand. I happened to have a combo of cheddar and jack, and it was delish! For added flavor, try adding a pinch of cayenne pepper. I love my Mac and Cheese with a broiled cheesy top crust–almost burnt to the point that a roasted marshmallow gets. Mmmm–mmm good!
See how that golden cheesy goodness just pours into each and every crevice in the pasta!
This is great as an individual portion…
Or as a casserole.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2-1/2 cups extra sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- ½ (16-oz.) package elbow macaroni, cooked
- Cook pasta in boiling water according to package directions.
- In the meantime, Microwave milk at HIGH for 1-1/2 minutes.
- Preheat oven broiler or turn oven on to 450 degrees.
- In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Add the flour and whisk until smooth and the flour is cooked through, about 1 minute.
- To the butter and flour mixture, gradually whisk in warm milk, and cook, whisking constantly, 5 minutes or until thickened.
- Whisk in salt, black pepper, 2 cups shredded cheese and, if desired, cayenne pepper, stirring until smooth and cheese is melted.
- Stir in cooked and drained pasta. Spoon pasta mixture into a lightly greased 2-qt. baking dish; top with remaining cheese. Bake under the broiler for 2-3 minutes (watch closely)
Et cetera: I never have to make that powdery boxed Mac and Cheese if I have these ingredients on hand. The grandkids like this way better, and it’s just as quick to make.