Confession: I have spent an inordinate amount of time trying to perfect a one dish mac-n-cheese recipe. I like macaroni – any kind – and my children are bigger fans than I. I grew up with the creamy, cheesy variety, and that’s the kind I’m talking about today, though as an adult I discovered southern style baked macaroni, with crisp edges and oven-browned butter on top. Yum.
But I have a few problems with making creamy macaroni and cheese from scratch. I don’t like washing separate pots for cheese sauce and pasta (I’m not that fond of dirty dishes)… And I’ve had trouble finding a mac-n-cheese recipe that will turn out smooth and velvety in the crockpot.
Here are my solutions.
First, if you toss a little flour into your pasta after cooking and draining it, before you add any other ingredients, you can safely cook the sauce right into the pasta, without lumps. (Flour only lumps if you add it to liquid.)
Second, if you slightly undercook your pasta, then add plenty of milk and cheese to the sauce, you can cook it up on a Sunday morning, put it in the crockpot for a couple of hours, and come home from church to find it just about perfect. That’s how this recipe turns out best, though you can reduce the milk (and/or cheese) and serve it immediately.
One disclaimer: I’m not big on processed cheese like Velveeta, but I haven’t found its equal for homemade mac-n-cheese. I’d like to get snooty and try this recipe with a mixture of good melting cheeses like Muenster, Gruyere, and Havarti, but I’m not the kind of person who ever has them on hand in quantity. I don’t even know how to say Gruyere, but I know it melts well and it looks good on paper. Never mind, I just looked it up. GROO-yair. If you try it with this recipe, let me know. Back to Velveeta. Vel-VEE-tuh.
One Pot Mac-n-Cheese
- 1 16 oz. box whole wheat macaroni
- 3 tbsp flour
- 1 stick butter cubed
- 3 cups milk
- 1 pound Velveeta cubed
- 1 tsp seasoned salt
- Dash black pepper
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar optional
Cook macaroni according to shortest package directions (or one minute less), until nearly tender. Drain well.
Gently stir dry flour into macaroni until just combined.
Add butter, milk, Velveeta, and spices. (If serving immediately, reduce milk to 1 1/2 - 2 cups.)
Cover and cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until melted, thick, and smooth. Add cheddar if desired.
Serve immediately, or put in a crockpot and warm on Low for 2-3 hours.
I haven’t shared a recipe on my site for months. My tech support guy suggested trying this Recipe Maker tool. What do you think? Does it make things easier or harder for you?
Or just intimidating?
Relax. It’s vel-VEE-tuh.
What are the trademarks of the kind of macaroni you like?