If you're like us, there's something about January that makes you crave warm comfort food, preferably cheesy, warm comfort food. And most preferably: cheesy, warm comfort food that's easy to make and provides a meal in one pan. This version of a classic macaroni and cheese is simple to prepare because it avoids the tedious rigmarole of creating a bechamel sauce (that's when you cook up the flour, butter and milk and then add the cheese). For anyone who has only made mac and cheese from a box, this is a great recipe to start with. And never let go of.
What you'll need:
1 pound elbow macaroni
20 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese (feel free to mix and match your cheeses according to your tastes -- use sharper cheddar, Monterey Jack or even a little pepper Jack cheese if you're family is into spicier foods)
1 stick butter, melted (we use the microwave)
4 large eggs
2-4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
4 cups of milk
(Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, and Tabasco sauce are all optional additions)
What you'll do:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cook the macaroni in boiling, salted water until it is just al dente.
- Drain the macaroni thoroughly and return it to the pot you cooked it in. Pour the melted butter and three-quarters of the cheese over the macaroni. Mix it all together to make a cheesy, gloppy mess.
- In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, mustard, milk and any additional flavorings your family enjoys.
- Spread the macaroni mixture into a lasagna pan. Pour the egg mixture over the top. Push down any pasta that's sticking too far above the egg mixture so it doesn't get too crunchy.
- Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake another 10-15 minutes or so, until the cheese is bubbly.
- If you're feeling ambitious, you might serve your family a nice green salad with this for a truly complete meal. Get the kids to make the salad while the macaroni and cheese is bubbling away in the oven.