Thursday, July 15, 2010
Crockpot Macaroni and Cheese
My family loves Macaroni & Cheese, so I use it as a side dish when the main dish is questionable or I really want everyone to walk away from the table happy. I have Barefoot Contessa's Macaroni & Cheese, but that recipe can be a lot of work sometimes...whisking the white sauce, cooking the noodles seperately, then baking the whole sha-bang.
I wanted a recipe that was easier, and now that I'm back on my crock pot kick, this recipe seemed worthy of a try!
Crockpot Macaroni & Cheese
recipe adapted from A Year of Slowcooking
8 ounces (1/2 pound) uncooked macaroni or hearty pasta
3 1/2 cups of milk
4 cups shredded cheese (I used all extra sharp cheddar - grate your own, I beg of you)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried mustard
Spray 4 quart crock well with cooking spray. In a mixing bowl, whip egg and milk together. Stir in spices. Add cheese and noodles, and stir well to combine.
Pour the mixture into the crockpot. It will be very liquidy.
Cover and cook on low for 2-5 hours, or on high for 1-3. The cooking time will vary depending on what size crockpot you are using, and how quickly it heats and cooks. I cooked on Low for 1 hour, then stirred every 30 minutes. It was done after 2 hours. (although I pushed it for another 30 minutes and shouldn't have!)
This was a little more hands-on than a typical crock pot recipe, in that I had to stick around the house and stir it every 30 minutes. But since the cooking time was so short and it was a late afternoon, it didn't bother me.
This was my timeline: (I even wrote it down as I went!)
2:00 Turned on Low
3:00 After 1 hour on Low, making progress, cheese is melting, noodles still hard
3:30 Sticking a little, cheese not all melted
4:00 A little separated, OK after stirring, noodles look just about cooked (this should been my first clue!)
4:30 A little overcooked, but done. Very thick!
The taste of the dish was excellent; the dried mustard added a great kick, and the cheddar was perfect. The texture on the other hand, was very mushy, and if you are accustomed to boxed mac n' cheese, the texture of homemade will be a little grainy. But, my favorite macaroni and cheese recipe is a little grainy, too, so it didn't throw my family.
This was still a hit at dinner, my husband did not care at all about the texture issues I was all wrapped up in, and I think we both ate 2 portions with enough for both of our lunches for the next day. The texture thickened up as it cooled.
Next time, I will turn off my crock pot after 2 hours, and let it sit and be "Warm" until dinner. It will be a trial-and-error issue for your individual crockpot, but now that I've made it, and know what I'm looking for, I think it will be easier every time.
I'm also sharing this recipe at The Grocery Cart Challenge.
Easy Cooking | Simple Cooking