Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Amy's Easy HOMEMADE Macaroni and Cheese

Sometimes, simple things are the best. As I found out over the holidays when my oldest daughter said she wanted to make HER macaroni and cheese for one of our meals.

Now I've shared my recipe with you before (click here to see it), and it does take some time to make, but hey, it's got American, Havarti and cheddar cheese in it, plus some great spices that take it to the next level, right?

Yeah, well, nothing like being shown up by your kids. 

And for those of you who are familiar with Lindi Peterson's Crock Pot mac and cheese, this is even better, not to mention quicker, than that. (Sorry, Lindi. You know I still love you.)

Here's what you'll need for this yummy dose of comfort food:

8 oz. Velveeta, cubed
8 oz. Cracker Barrel Extra Sharp cheese, grated (for whatever reason, the flavor this lends is superior to regular extra sharp cheese)
1 can condensed Cheddar Cheese soup
1 cup cream (you can also use half and half or milk, but the cream makes for a richer flavor)
16 oz. package of your favorite elbow macaroni, cooked according to package instructions
Ground black pepper (optional)
1/3 cup bread crumbs (I prefer the Italian style, and while I happened to have the Panko (crunchy) variety on hand, you can use  whatever you like)
2 tablespoons butter

Okay, if you haven't already, go ahead and cook your macaroni. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet or saucepan, combine the soup, Velveeta and Cracker Barrel cheese over medium-low heat. 
Be patient and be sure to watch it, because you definitely don't want to burn your cheese. 

See, it really doesn't take that long.
I like to use a whisk to help eliminate any lumps.
Stir in your cream or milk.
If you like, add pepper to taste. I added about a 1/2 teaspoon.
Add the cooked macaroni.
And stir to coat.

Pour into a greased baking pan. An oblong casserole dish works well.

Next, over medium heat, melt butter.
Like you didn't know what that looks like.

Once butter is melted, add your bread crumbs.
Stir until butter is absorbed.
Then sprinkle over top of macaroni and cheese.

Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, until top is golden and cheese is bubbly.

That's heaven in a skillet, I tell ya.

I don't know about you, but for me, mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food. One I rarely allow myself to indulge in. So when I do, I want it to be good. This fits the bill perfectly. And it's great when feeding the masses. 

So today I stand before you, admitting that my daughter's mac and cheese recipe is better than mine.

'Nuf said.

Now let's talk football. How many of you watched the Super Bowl? Anyone disappointed with the game's outcome? 
Not me. I like Peyton Manning and cheered him on all the way, with plate full of ribs and Amy's mac and cheese. :D


  1. A plate full of ribs and Amy's mac and cheese. This is not a good thing to read at midnight when you're suddenly ravenous.

    The recipe looks fabulous. I agree about the Cracker Barrel cheese. I bought some at Christmas because it was on sale and I was reminded of how much I like it.

    I wonder if I could convince my Stouffer's frozen mac n cheese lovin' hubby to try this.

    1. For what it's worth, Mary Cate, I used to be a huge Stouffer's Mac & cheese fan and I like this better. Worse case scenario, you leave an empty Stouffer's box on the counter and he'll simply think that's what he's eating. ;)

  2. Oh - and to answer your question - I watched part of the game, had no vested interest in who won, but had a great time with a delicious veggie pizza and family gathered round. It was fun to watch a game when hubby wasn't stressed about the outcome.

    But I did miss those Budweiser puppies and Clydesdales.

    1. Agreed on the Clydesdales.

      We were supposed to go to a party Sunday, but my husband woke up with a raging cold that morning, so we stayed home. Like you, I had no vested interest, but I still enjoyed it from the comfort of my recliner.

  3. I missed the Clydesdales, too.... I was sad to see no Clydesdale commercial.

    Mindy, you know I'm in love with Lindi's recipe (although I add a quarter cup of red hot sauce per batch) but I'm willing to try this, darling, because it looks so good! I'm happy dancing at the very thought of this!

    I was glad to see Peyton win with the Broncs, I felt bad when Indianapolis downsized him... I understand, but that was like letting Jeter go after his injury year, and not trusting the professional in him to work his way back.

    And we know how I love my Jeter!!!

    So kudos to the Broncos and the entire Manning family.

    1. My thoughts exactly on Peyton Manning, Ruthy. Guess he showed Indy, huh?

      Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think.

  4. I'm putting this on next week's menu! My daughter has a favorite mac and cheese recipe that I've shared here, but only 2/3 of the family LOVES it. We'll see how the votes go on this one - I have a feeling from Amy's ingredients that it's going to be unanimous!

    Oh, and the Super Bowl!!! You know I'm a huge Broncos fan, and I love Peyton Manning. My take on the game: I don't think Peyton played his best, but he played well. What I really loved was the sportsmanship shown by the Broncos team (the Panthers, too, for that matter). The team didn't rely on Peyton to bring them the win, and Peyton didn't rely on his throwing arm to win, either. They relied on each other. As a team. No stars, no big standouts. Just the team doing their job.

    And what a job that was. :) A very satisfying end to the season.

    Oh, and one cool thing - Michael Oher plays for the Panthers. He's the guy whose story is told in the movie "The Blind Side." So it was fun to see him play.

    1. Oh, I knew you loved the game, Jan. I remember you being a huge fan. :D

      Be sure to let me know everyone's take on this version of mac & cheese.

  5. This looks amazing! I've used that Cracker Barrel cheese in casseroles before. It truly does have a stronger flavor!

    1. You know, Missy, Cracker Barrel cheese has been around forever. I wonder what they do/add that makes it different.

    2. I had to go to their website. No hints there on what makes it different, however their motto is "Deliciously different Cheddar."

      I learned that it wasn't a Kraft product either. For some reason, I thought it was. Probably because it's surrounded by Kraft cheeses at the store.

  6. I actually have Cracker Barrel cheese in my fridge -- I think that's the first time I've had the same brand name item as you guys. LOL

    So, I admit to having had two epic fails with the crockpot mac and cheese and that includes a yucky cleanup so I'm game to give this one a go. You'd laugh at my plain Jane mac and cheese -- cooked noodles in a buttered casserole dish. Sprinkle with grated cheddar cheese. Add a dollop of butter, salt, pepper and a bit of dried mustard. Sprinkle more cheese on top and into the oven. Sounds pretty boring, right? I'll have to try this and let you know how it turns out.

    And no Super Bowl watching for me. No commercial watching either. Canadian channels air their own unadventurous commercials. I consoled myself with Downton Abbey later in the evening...though Daisy is getting on my nerves.

    1. Regarding your plain Jane mac and cheese, Kav, look at the bright side. At least it wasn't from a box with powdered cheese. (although, there's still a special place in my heart for that mac and cheese). You actually used ingredients and the oven.

      Yes, at least you had Downton Abbey instead of being creeped out by that weird PuppyMonkeyBaby commercial we all saw. Hard to believe people actually got paid for that.

    2. That sounds tasty to me, Kav! But you need to also find the slow cooker liners. I think Reynolds makes them. They're wonderful!

  7. Mindy---Ha!! I feel the love!! :) I will have to try this recipe. It looks amazing. I'm sure it tastes amazing as well. I'll let you know how it goes.

    1. You be sure and do that, Lindi. Otherwise I will have to track you down. ;)

  8. How interesting. My daughter is Amy. And you had me at Havarti.

    1. Tina, sounds like you and I have very good taste. ;)