Today I'm re-posting this baked macaroni and cheese recipe in honor of my Mom, who passed away recently. When cleaning out her house we came across the hand-written version that she sent me when I originally posted it:
My Mom is asked to make this baked macaroni and cheese recipe everywhere she goes, she's a great cook, unlike myself, I have to really work at it! She originally got the recipe from my Grandma (her mother-in-law), and adults and kids both love it. I make this for meatless Fridays during Lent and it turns out GREAT. I often make a huge pan and freeze one for later–it reheats well. See the crockpot option in the recipe notes!
Mona Lou's Famous Homemade Baked Macaroni and Cheese Recipe
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil or Avocado oil-- remember the olive oil you buy matters
- 3 1/2 cups Kroger elbow macaroni-- Mom said Grandma always insisted that it had to be Kroger brand…??? *These days I love Einkorn pasta and it always turns out just fine! (FYI: 1 pound macaroni = 4 cups uncooked, so I just make this recipe with 1 pound pasta and add a bit more of everything else, nothing has to be exact anyway.)
- 1 Tablespoon sea salt to go into the pasta water.
- Cold butter for greasing your dish, Mom uses a can of no-stick spray, but a cold stick of butter is just as easy and without the chemicals…Oh and pastured butter is always best… (Update, now there is a good no-stick spray option!)
- Sea salt & pepper to your taste.
- 16 ounces shredded sharp or extra sharp cheddar cheese (I often use regular cheddar if that's what I have). FYI: 16 ounces cheese=4 cups shredded.
- 1-2 cups Milk, preferably whole milk or cream for extra yumminess.
- Few slices of colby cheese for the top or more shredded cheese.
- 6 pats of butter for the top.
- Preheat oven to 375*.
- Boil water in a large pot, add oil and salt. Add macaroni and stir well several times during the cooking time (timing based on package directions). Strain well in a colander, running hot water over the macaroni. (Later Mom said she would strain it but not all the way, to leave just a little of the starch water in with the macaroni, and not rinse it, so that's how I do it now and it always turns out!)
- Use a cold stick of butter to grease a large 4 quart glass bowl or spray with baking spray. Sometimes I'll bake it in a big 10×14 stainless steel baking pan, because my favorite part is the browned cheese on top, and this way there is a lot more of the yummy cheese and browned bits in each serving.
- Another way I do it is to put the macaroni back into the pan it cooked in, then add the salt, pepper, and cheese and about 1/2 cup cream or milk. Stir it in good and add more milk or cream for extra creaminess. This way you can get it just how you want it and THEN transfer to your baking dish. Add more cheese and butter on top.
- Bake for about 1 1/4 hours, depending on how hot your oven is – it should be nicely browned on top.
- 2# macaroni or pasta of choice (cooked in salty water)
- 2 sticks butter
- 2.5 cups whole milk, little at a time (part cream if you have it)
- 1/8 cup palm sugar (dissolved in the milk--you can omit but it's just a bit that I think kicks the taste up)
- 1# shredded sharp cheddar
- 1# shredded mild cheddar
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- 7# macaroni or pasta of choice (cooked in salty water, note to self: 3# fit in my 2nd biggest pot and 4# fit in my very biggest pot)
- 6 sticks butter/1.5#
- 8 cups whole milk, add a little at a time, you may need a bit less or a bit more so it's creamy but not too liquidy.
- 1/4 cup palm sugar (dissolved in the milk--again, you can omit but it's just a bit that I think kicks the taste up)
- 2.5# shredded sharp cheddar + 2 cups more (some for the top)
- 2.5# cheddar jack + 3 cups more (some for the top)
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
More you might like:
- Here's an easy stovetop mac & cheese recipe, it's faster and still tasty, but FYI: our family still prefers Mom's baked macaroni and cheese recipe!
- Healthy snack ideas
- All about cod liver oil
- My “food conversion” story
- School lunches – healthy alternatives
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