by Kristen Bagwell
When it starts getting cooler outside, all I can think of is warm...food. That's right: crock pot, soul food, casseroles (which I would say I'm not a fan of, but set one in front of me and see what happens). After 2-3 weeks of 60 degree mornings, fall might finally have arrived. In its honor? Variations on mac-n-cheese. Our current packaged favorite is the new Kraft Homestyle brand (my husband loves the boxed varieties), but here are some homemade recipes to try. Trust me when I tell you that there is something for everyone...yum!
(Recipes are courtesy of Taste of Home magazine. Thanks to Tiahna for sharing!)
Ranch Mac & Cheese
"...Creamy and delicious macaroni and cheese with a twist."
from Michelle Rotunno, Independence MO
1 pkg (16 oz) elbow macaroni
1 cup 2% milk
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp garlic pepper blend
1 tsp lemon pepper seasoning
1 cup (4 oz) shredded monterey jack cheese
1 cup (4 oz) shredded colby cheese
1 cup (8 oz) sour cream
1/2 cup crushed saltines
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Cook macaroni according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a dutch oven, combine the milk, butter, dressing mix and seasonings; heat through. Stir in monterey jack and cobly cheeses until melted, then stir in sour cream.
Drain macaroni; stir into cheese sauce with the saltines. sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
Baked Mac & Cheese
"Add turkey, broccoli - any other ingredients - to make this rich dish a full meal."
from Denise Hash, Billings MT
4 cups uncooked spiral pasta
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups 2% milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp ground mustard
2 cups (8 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup cubed process cheese (Velveeta or similar)
Cook pasta according to package directions. In a large saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour until smooth. Gradually add milk; stir in the salt, pepper, worcestershire sauce and nutmeg. Bring to a boil; cookd and stir for 1-2 mins or until thickened. Stir in cheeses until melted.
Drain pasta; stir in cheese sauce. Transfer to an ungreased 2-at. baking dish. Bake (uncovered) at 350 degrees for 20-25 mins or until bubbly.
Bistro Mac & Cheese
"Feels upscale but will fit just about any budget."
Charlotte Gilmer, Mesa AZ
1 pkg (16 oz) uncooked elbow macaroni
3 tbsp butter
2 & 1/2 cups 2% milk
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 cup (4 oz) shredded part-skim mozzerella
1 cup (4 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
1 pkg (3 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
Cook macaroni according to package directions. Meanwhile, ina dutch oven, melt butter. Stir in flour until smooth. Gradually stir in milk and seasonings. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
Reduce heat; add cheeses and stir until melted. Stir in sour cream. Drain macaroni; stir into sauce. (This is also good with a crumb topping - place completed macaroni mixture in a baking dish, then combine 1/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs with 2 tbsp melted butter. Sprinkle over the top and bake (uncovered) 20-25 mins at 350 until bubbly.
If you have some extra time to play with, check out Tyler Florence's Ultimate Mac & Cheese. This stuff is outstanding, but will take about 30 mins prep and at least an hour in the oven. It's definitely worth it, though...
Please share your favorite mac & cheese recipes!