Monday, November 7, 2016

Easy Slow Cooker Macaroni and Cheese for a Crowd

I think one of the things all of us here at the Cafe have in common is that we love our churches. Big or small, in the city or a small town, we love the community that God has blessed us with.

Here in the Black Hills, I am constantly thankful for our church. But we have this problem...

Actually, it isn't really a problem as much as a challenge.

You see, our little church is growing. We're scrambling to find space for the nursery. Counting heads as we assign Sunday School rooms. Bringing chairs out of storage. Parking on the street when the lot gets full. And lovin' on those BABIES!

We're adding families, retired couples, young singles, young marrieds. Folks from the neighborhood, and people who have just moved to town.

Isn't that a great problem to have???

*grinning from ear to ear!*

So to meet this wonderful, blessed challenge, one of the things some of us have done is to increase the amount of food we take to carry-in dinners.

Because when you have a line of people, you don't want to run out of food!

Along with whatever other dish I'm making, I've started including a crock pot full of mac & cheese.

Everybody loves mac & cheese. :)

Here's my recipe:

Easy Crock Pot Macaroni and Cheese
recipe can be doubled


16 oz box (4 cups) elbow macaroni
1/2 cup butter, melted
4 cups shredded cheddar
1 can evaporated milk
1 can condensed cheddar cheese soup, undiluted
1 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
1/8 tsp. paprika

The pictures in this post are from a double recipe
Cook the macaroni in boiling water for six or seven minutes (it will continue cooking in the crock pot). Drain the macaroni, put it in a large (5 quart) slow cooker, and add the butter.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, milk, evaporated milk, and condensed soup. Stir in the shredded cheese.

Add the cheese mixture to the macaroni and stir to combine.

Cook, covered, on low 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Stir about half-way through the cooking time.

Isn't that easy? And perfect to throw together on Sunday morning to take for the noon carry-in. And when you have a lot of young children to feed, they love it!

In other news, we ventured out on a different hike this week.

I tend to want to go deep into the Hills for our hikes, but this time we tried a trail system that is much closer.

It's actually right in the middle of town!

Rapid City has a fabulous system of linear parks and trails that grew out of tragedy. In 1972, the city was devastated when this beautiful creek flooded. The rebuilding was in the form of parks and green spaces. No more housing in the flood plain!

One of the most popular trails is called "M Hill," because the emblem of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology (aka "Mines") is on the top. The view from there is fabulous!

Looking east from the M

It was a great hike, and it only took about an hour.

Looking west, you can see Harney peak in the distance - another great place to hike.

The smoky look? Yes, that is smoke. The forest service has been doing "prescribed burns" over the past few weeks. The rangers burn an area of the forest using a slow, cool fire that cleans out dead brush and overgrown underbrush. When the forest is kept cleared, it reduces the possibility of a hot, deadly forest fire in that area.

I think you can see from these pictures that we've been enjoying a very summer-like fall. Temperatures in the upper-70's and low-80's over the weekend, and lovely sunshine. But the days are growing short, and the nights are cool...bordering on cold. We know that one day we'll wake up to winter.

But until then, we're enjoying the gorgeous weather!

Are you ready for winter, yet? Or are you still enjoying warm weather?

Jan Drexler loves her family, her home, cooking and just about anything made by hand. But she loves her Lord most of all.

Stop by Jan's website to learn more about her books:


  1. Jan, this recipe is very similar to one I've made. I need to remember it for cover dish dinners!

    Speaking of... when I was growing up in Kentucky, we called them pot lucks. In Georgia, they call them cover dish dinners. I've never heard the term carry-in before! Very cool to hear the different names. :)

    1. I meant to write covered dish above. (not cover dish)

    2. People around here call them a lot of different things - mostly pot-luck. :) I got stuck on carry-in somewhere in our many moves, but I think I'm the only one who uses that term here!

      And this is great for those dinners...whatever you call them. :)

    3. I'm glad I'm not the only one who hasn't heard carry-in, though to be honest, it has a more appealing sound than what we also know as pot-LUCK. LOL

  2. BTW that photo of the stream is beautiful!!

  3. I love, love, love mac and cheese but I've never made it in the slow cooker. I'm definitely going to try this. I usually add a few tsp of Slap Ya Mama spice. YUM.

    An hour long hike? That sounds wonderful! We have to do loops in our neighborhood. If we hiked for an hour we'd end up in the next town. You're so blessed to live in such a beautiful area.

    1. It wasn't a long hike in distance, but that trail seemed to be nearly vertical in places! It was 45 minutes up and 15 minutes down. We were thinking we were in pretty good shape until we tackled that trail. I'm still sore...

  4. Jan, this is almost identical to the recipe Lindi shared with us way back when... and now my family thinks I ROCK because they love it!

    I add 1/4 cup of red hot sauce per batch. We like the mac and cheese with a little kick to it, and I think that's why the guys pile it up on their plates... but I'm looking at that wonderful plastic liner... Do they make such things???

    No more soaking my Crock Pot pan????

    Love the hiking pics! Beautiful and how nice to have this right in town... and a growing church. Now I'm happy dancing, my friend!!!!

    1. Ruthy, Reynolds makes the liners. You'll find them with the aluminum foil and baggies. They're WONDERFUL!

    2. I would add some kick to the recipe if I was targeting older kids or adults. But we have so many little ones (3 and under) that eat this up! So I stick with the mild for the church dinners. :)

      And YES! No more soaking your Crock Pot! I started using these liners back when my children were doing the dishes, and I wanted to make sure the Crock Pot was clean when they were done. (It also cuts down on the complaining!)

      If you're being super frugal, they do add to the cost of the meal. But I figure my time in the kitchen is worth money when I could be writing instead of washing dishes!

  5. Oh -- this is a grand idea for potlucks! Our church is growing too. And it's only ten months old. Woot. We meet in a high school auditorium though so not as many opportunities for potlucks.

    I tried the other mac and cheese crockpot recipe you have here at the cafe -- it has velveeta cheese in it as well and I wasn't fond of it at all. Like that this one just has regular old cheddar.

    Happy hiking, Jan. We have a few more summerish days in our forecast and I'll be spending some of my time putting my garden to bed. Cutting back rose bushes today.

    1. We had summery days all last week. I mean, really summer. Shorts and t-shirts and sundresses weather!

      This week the forecast is about 10° cooler for the week. It's beginning to feel like fall. :)

      And yay for your church growing!

  6. Oh, I'm wishing there was someone to "carry-this-in" to me right about now. Yum!