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How To Make A Better Mac N Cheese

Updated on March 16, 2013
A great Mac N cheese Looks as good as it tastes!
A great Mac N cheese Looks as good as it tastes!
Elbow Macaroni cooked past al dente (slightly soft) in 2 teaspoons of salt.
Elbow Macaroni cooked past al dente (slightly soft) in 2 teaspoons of salt. | Source
Strained and placed in a greased 9 x 13 inch dish Elbow Macaroni awaits cheese sauce.
Strained and placed in a greased 9 x 13 inch dish Elbow Macaroni awaits cheese sauce.
Begin stirring all cheese sauce ingredients slowly over low heat. remember to beat egg whites independently to make the sauce light and not heavy.
Begin stirring all cheese sauce ingredients slowly over low heat. remember to beat egg whites independently to make the sauce light and not heavy.
Cheese sauce almost done.
Cheese sauce almost done.
Make sure sauce covers the macaroni completely.
Make sure sauce covers the macaroni completely.
Just a light layer of Sharp Cheddar is needed.
Just a light layer of Sharp Cheddar is needed.
Just the slightest browning says this Mac N Cheese is ready!
Just the slightest browning says this Mac N Cheese is ready!
As a main course on your finest china or a side dish on a paper plate, Mac N Cheese is what's for dinner!
As a main course on your finest china or a side dish on a paper plate, Mac N Cheese is what's for dinner!

Why We Love Mac N Cheese

Mac N Cheese is comfort food at it's finest, whether for a side dish or a main course people naturally love it. It's great for a home cooked meal, easy to make and economical. It is also a favorite for the church potluck dinner or any get together .

There are a few simple steps to a great Mac N Cheese. As you have most certainly noticed, there are good and not so good Mac N Cheese recipes. One of the most common mistakes is not adding enough cheese, leaving the noodles dry and hard. On the subject of cheese use good quality cheese not the super cheap kind (it matters). The easiest and most foolproof method of making Mac N Cheese, is to first make the noodles and then make a cheese sauce to pour over the top, and then baking. The noodles should be swimming in cheese sauce. Adding flour in my opinion steals a lot of the flavor from the cheese. I prefer to add eggs which help thicken it. If you desire to make a runnier Mac N Cheese (Which is some times better as a side dish) use just one egg or leave them out entirely. Cheese is salty enough on it's own, no extra salt is needed in the cheese sauce!

Variety adds complexity of taste and that is why I like to add a blend of cheeses, but no more than 7, beyond that, your taste buds start getting confused. Some people use 14 or more different cheeses and the flavors start becoming indistinguishable. While adding powdered mustard adds depth of flavor, it is not needed when using a blend of cheeses.

The best noodles for Mac N Cheese are Elbows or large Zitis. Large works best.

My secret ingredient, and one you will see in very few recipes, is mayonnaise. It adds a certain smoothness to your Mac N Cheese that you just can't get without it, once you use it there's no going back to regular Mac N Cheese. Some people use sour cream, which is also good, but mayonnaise is less tangy, which I prefer.

Three Cheese Blend Mac N Cheese Recipe

Ingredients

1-16 ounce bag of elbow Macaroni

11/2-Cups of Velveeta cubed

3-Cups of Monterey jack & cheddar blend finely shredded

3/4-Cup Sharp Cheddar(topping)

4-TBS. Mayonnaise

4-Large eggs

2-TBS. Salted Butter

11/2-Cup half & half

2-tsp Salt


Directions

In water with two teaspoons of salt boil macaroni until slightly soft (past al dente), strain and leave in covered pot. Making sure to beat the egg whites separately, add all remaining ingredients except the 3/4 cup of Sharp cheddar, to a pan on low heat. Stir until completely melted (add more half & half if needed). When nicely blended, pour macaroni into a 9x13 in baking dish, that has been sprayed with butter spray. Pour cheese mixture over the top, then top with the 3/4 cup of sharp cheddar and bake at 350 degree preheated oven for about 15 to 20 minutes or until slightly browned on top.

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    • nifty@50 profile imageAUTHOR

      nifty@50 

      6 years ago

      Thanks vespawoolf, for the kind words& post! Velveeta, cheddar and don't forget the mayo!

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 

      6 years ago from Peru, South America

      Your mac and cheese looks wonderful! I agree with the addition of both Velveeta and cheddar cheeses for flavor and creaminess. Thank you for sharing!

    • nifty@50 profile imageAUTHOR

      nifty@50 

      6 years ago

      Thanks James, for your kind words & post! Mac & cheese is sure to please... kids, but who isn't? LOL!

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      7 years ago from Chicago

      I love macaroni and cheese. Thanks for sharing your "secret ingredient." I will try your recipe.

    • nifty@50 profile imageAUTHOR

      nifty@50 

      7 years ago

      Thanks for your post gruyere cheese! I agree, a world without cheese would be a sadder place!

    • profile image

      gruyere cheese 

      7 years ago

      I love the baked cheese and surely want to have it! yummy

    • nifty@50 profile imageAUTHOR

      nifty@50 

      7 years ago

      Thanks tonymac04 for your post! Velveeta made by Kraft foods Company, is a the brand name of a popular ( At least in the United States ) processed cheese that tastes like American cheese, but it has smoother texture and melts better than conventional cheese. Other processed chesses can be substituted in the recipe, but I have found Velveeta to be of very high quality. Half & half refers to a mixture of half cream and half milk, which can be purchased this way, already mixed or made by mixing the two, fifty percent milk and fifty percent cream. Thanks for asking these questions tonymac04, sometimes we forget that the rest of the world is not Americanized!

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 

      7 years ago from South Africa

      This looks wonderful and I have always loved mac 'n cheese. But I have to aks, what is velveeta and half and half? I have never heard of either?

      Will try this as soon as I know!

      Love and peace

      Tony

    • nifty@50 profile imageAUTHOR

      nifty@50 

      7 years ago

      Thanks dearabbysmom, for your kind words & post! I have come to create this recipe through a lot of trial & error. Now I always refer to this recipe. The Monterey Jack gives a lighter color and more delicate taste to the cheese sauce & the sharp Cheddar gives a nice dark look to the top as well as a crisp bite to the taste. The egg & mayonnaise blend well together to give added body & smoothness.

    • dearabbysmom profile image

      dearabbysmom 

      7 years ago from Indiana

      My mac n cheese has always been rather hit or miss. Sometimes it's excellent, but the very next time it might have the consistency of attic insulation. Your recipe looks like it would give dependable results every time!

    • nifty@50 profile imageAUTHOR

      nifty@50 

      7 years ago

      Thanks MsHoliday, for your post and kind words. I'm sure he'll love it.

    • nifty@50 profile imageAUTHOR

      nifty@50 

      7 years ago

      Thanks Peggy, for your post & kind words. I got a Kodak easy share Z981 for Christmas (under $200.00)that is a snap to use. I would recommend it for most picture taking.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      This is comfort food at its best and your recipe looks like a winner. Am impressed with your picture taking also! Useful and up ratings!

    • nifty@50 profile imageAUTHOR

      nifty@50 

      7 years ago

      Thanks jojokaya, for your post! Mac N Cheese is a kid's favorite that adults never seem to out grow! At least, I haven't!

    • jojokaya profile image

      jojokaya 

      7 years ago from USA

      Thanks for the recipe. This is my son favorite..

    • nifty@50 profile imageAUTHOR

      nifty@50 

      7 years ago

      Can't leave out the Velveeta, that is my not so secret ingredient! LOL! Thanks Pegcole17, for your compliments & post!

    • nifty@50 profile imageAUTHOR

      nifty@50 

      7 years ago

      Thanks for the kind words TajSingh! My wife & I have eaten about 2/3 of the Mac N cheese and even the cats seem to really enjoy it!

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      7 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Oh this looks mouth wateringly good! I grew up with macaroni and cheese, made of course with Velveeta and boy does your recipe bring out the hunger pangs! MMMM I've never tried it with mayo but it does sound good and rich. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe.

    • profile image

      TajSingh 

      7 years ago from United Kingdom

      Another great mac n cheese recipe to try out. Thanks for sharing nifty!

    • nifty@50 profile imageAUTHOR

      nifty@50 

      7 years ago

      The two ingredients eggs & mayo work very well together because mayo is essentially eggs whipped up in vegetable oil. Whipping the whites separately really does make a difference. Thanks wanderingchef for your kind words & post!

    • nifty@50 profile imageAUTHOR

      nifty@50 

      7 years ago

      Thanks for your post Gearhead2012! I totally agree Mac n Cheese is great, very few dishes make a great main course & side dish.

    • nifty@50 profile imageAUTHOR

      nifty@50 

      7 years ago

      Thanks Cookie411 for your post! An Awesome is just that! Thank you!

    • nifty@50 profile imageAUTHOR

      nifty@50 

      7 years ago

      Thanks Money Glitch, for yours compliments & post! Sounds like you understand there is Mac N Cheese and then there is really good Mac N Cheese. Once you taste the latter there's no going back to the former. Great seeing you again!

    • nifty@50 profile imageAUTHOR

      nifty@50 

      7 years ago

      Thanks Truckstop Sally for you kind words & post! Mayonnaise as you said, is absolutely essential to this recipe. My wife made Mac N Cheese and forgot the mayo and we both agreed something was missing. Paula Dean hasn't made a recipe that I don't like. Three years ago we tried to eat at Lady & son's(her Savannah restaurant) but unfortunately it was closed for remodeling.

    • wanderingchef profile image

      wanderingchef 

      7 years ago

      Great idea about the mayo and seperating the eggs. It really worked well. Thanks very much.

    • GearHead2012 profile image

      GearHead2012 

      7 years ago

      i love kraft mac n cheese! best food on earth!

    • Cookie411 profile image

      Cookie411 

      7 years ago from Ohio

      This looks so good! I gave you an awesome :)

    • Money Glitch profile image

      Money Glitch 

      7 years ago from Texas

      OMG, I don't know why I always check in late at night when I'm hungry. This looks exactly like the mac and cheese my mom use to make. I've never gotten the recipe quiet right. Will definitely bookmark this one to try. Thanks for sharing Nifty and good to see ya. :) Rating up for you. :)

    • Truckstop Sally profile image

      Truckstop Sally 

      7 years ago

      What great pictures! And who couldn't love Paula Deen? I think your secret ingredient - mayonnaise - is vital to your rich, delicious dish.

    • nifty@50 profile imageAUTHOR

      nifty@50 

      7 years ago

      The only side that comes close is maybe scallop potatoes, but then again you can't serve it as a main course. Thanks wordscribe43 for your compliments & post!

    • nifty@50 profile imageAUTHOR

      nifty@50 

      7 years ago

      Thanks Bail Up!, for your kind words & Post! I must confess there was a time when I enjoyed boxed Mac & Cheese, but after you try this recipe, and you see how quick & easy it is, it will be hard to settle for boxed.

    • wordscribe43 profile image

      Elsie Nelson 

      7 years ago from Pacific Northwest, USA

      Yum... there is no better comfort food than good old mac and cheese. You have some great recipes here, thanks for the share.

    • Bail Up ! profile image

      Bail Up ! 

      7 years ago

      I'm really going to have to stop reading food hubs at night. That Mac n cheese looks phenomenal and now you've made me hungry. With my Hispanic heritage I never really learned how to make the Mac except for the box kind. I really do love it, I'll have to try your recipe soon.

    • nifty@50 profile imageAUTHOR

      nifty@50 

      7 years ago

      Mac N Cheese goes great with most any dish, ever try a chili omelet with cheese for breakfast or brunch? Thanks for your post Mentalist acer!

    • Mentalist acer profile image

      Mentalist acer 

      7 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

      Mac n Cheese with chili puts me in comfort-food heaven,thanks for you helpful recipie Nifty@50.;)

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