Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Oooeey gooeey cheeessy weezzy Macaroni and Cheese.

(Set to the tune of ‘Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini’)

That she ate for the first time today….

Sing it with me now!

Or don’t. :) I get it.

I’m in one of those I’m-so-overtired-I’m-feeling-goofy moods. Since my last post (check it out here!) I’ve been really trying hard to make a better nighttime and morning routine. The first week back to school I was doing really well at my New Years “resolutions” and then last week I feel back into my normal routine. Staying up watching TV/being on my computer/phone too late, snoozing like crazy in the morning, and rushing off to work just to make it in right before school starts. No good. No good at all.

Last weekend (which by that I mean weekend before last) the fiance was out of town. I didn’t have a lot scheduled so it was nice to spend more time relaxing. I even got to finish my book (Beautiful Ruins – highly recommend!). This past weekend was also a little lazier than usual. Watched a few movies, walked to breakfast at the local cafe, visited with some family and friends. I love weekends like that. Which has got me thinking “‘why can’t every weekend be like that?”.

Besides the “resolutions” I made, I’m trying to simplify my life and slow down a bit. Back a few years ago, I started this blog as an outlet for myself and a resource for others. Over the course of time I’ve shifted my focus from the pure pleasure of writing about food and sharing stories of my life, to the stress of blog statistics, followers, etc. It was almost like Keeping up with the Joneses (but in a blogging kind of way).

There was so much worrying about what I was doing (and not doing!) on social media, who I was following (and who was following me), how the layout of my blog looked, etc. that I had started to resent blogging. Which is quite silly as I still love to cook and write, the two main reasons why I started this blog in the first place.

So I guess you could say I’m taking a step back. In a lot of different areas. I’ll likely not blog as much (who am I kidding, I wasn’t following a schedule anyway!), post on social media as much, etc. etc. So far, it feels good. Less stressful. Which is just what I need.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

My New Year mantra.

On my first post back, I’m sharing a recipe for this oooeey gooeey cheeessy weezzy Baked Macaroni and Cheese. The best Macaroni and Cheese I’ve yet to make. Insanely creamy on the inside, with a nice crunch on top (thank you Panko!).

It fits the ‘new’ year. It’s not gluten-free, it’s not dairy-free, and it’s sure as heck not ‘healthy’ by any standards. It is however, all-natural. And damn delicious.

It’s basically comfort food, on steroids.

I think you’ll agree. :)

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients:

1 lb. orecchiette, cavatappi, or elbow noodles

2 cups good shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

4 TBSP butter

2 TBSP flour

2 cups half-and-half

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 yellow onion, diced

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 TBSP dry mustard

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 1/2 cups Panko breadcrumbs (for topping)

salt and pepper to taste

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook noodles al dente, according to directions. Return to pot.

Meanwhile, melt butter in saucepan over medium heat.

Saute onions and garlic until soft, about 5 minutes.

Add in flour, whisking consistently until a roux is formed (flour butter mixture turns golden brown).

Slowly add half-and-half and cream (or milk if making lighter version!), stirring as go.

Bring to a simmer and let thicken.

Take off heat. Slowly add in cheese and seasonings, stirring as you go.

Pour sauce over noodles. Mix until noodles are completely coated.

Transfer noodles into glass baking dish.

Top with breadcrumbs.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until dish is bubbly and top is golden brown.

Enjoy!

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. orecchiette, cavatappi, or elbow noodles
  • 2 cups good shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 4 TBSP butter
  • 2 TBSP flour
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ yellow onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 TBSP dry mustard
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 1½ cups Panko breadcrumbs (for topping)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook noodles al dente, according to directions. Return to pot.
  3. Meanwhile, melt butter in saucepan over medium heat.
  4. Saute onions and garlic until soft, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add in flour, whisking consistently until a roux is formed (flour butter mixture turns golden brown).
  6. Slowly add half-and-half and cream (or milk if making lighter version!), stirring as go.
  7. Bring to a simmer and let thicken.
  8. Slowly add cheese in, stirring as you go.
  9. Pour sauce over noodles. Mix until noodles are completely coated.
  10. Transfer noodles into glass baking dish.
  11. Top with breadcrumbs.
  12. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until dish is bubbly and top is golden brown.
  13. Enjoy!

Until next time,

Happy clean eating!

Kate

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