Sunday, January 5, 2014

Crockpot: Simply the Best Macaroni and Cheese

My mom bought Arya a reindeer outfit.
This past Christmas was not only the first Christmas dinner I hosted, but also our first Christmas as a married couple, our first Christmas with Arya, and our first Christmas in our new place. So it was a pretty exciting holiday for us. But I don't want to talk about any of that. I want to talk about how freaking amazing this mac and cheese is. It's the best I've ever had; it tops any restuarant, store bought, or homemade version I've ever tried. It's that good. Even Eric and his dad, neither big on mac and cheese, both loved it. My mom and mother-in-law asked for the recipe. And the fact that it's made in the crockpot, all the much better! On Christmas day it was a life saver when everything else had to go in the oven.

Recipe adapted from here.

2 cups elbow macaroni
4 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
1 8-ounce bag of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup sour cream (I used low fat)
1 10.75-ounce can of condensed cheddar cheese soup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
1/2 tablespoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Optional Bread Topping:
2 tablespoon butter, melted
3 pieces of sandwich bread, torn into bite size pieces
1/2 tablespoon McCormick Crusting Blend Garlic, Lemon, and Rosemary (or you can use garlic powder, basil, thyme, rosemary, whatever your favorite herbs are)

Boil macaroni in water for 7 minutes. Drain.

Place all of the ingredients except the pasta, thyme, and optional bread topping in your crockpot and stir. Add pasta and stir again.* 

Cook for 2 hours on low. Stir in thyme.

Optional: After mac and cheese has cooked, transfer to a casserole dish. In a bowl toss together melted butter, bread, and spices. Top the mac and cheese with the bread and place under the broiler until the bread browns, about 5 to 10 minutes. 

*Since I was making this for Christmas dinner (and for the first time!) and didn't want to screw it up, I did not add the pasta to the crockpot. I made the sauce in the crockpot and add the pasta afterwards. However, I read many, many reviews on this recipe and none of them talked about the pasta becoming mushy. Next time I make this, I'll add the pasta right in.
Now, because I was so busy cooking and entertaining on Christmas day, I kinda sorta forgot to take a picture. But I did take a couple of pictures of some reheated leftovers (oh, it reheats very well) sans bread topping.



More Crockpot Recipes:
Alfredo Green Bean Casserole
Brown Sugar and Garlic Chicken
Creamy Butternut Squash Soup
Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip
Orange Chicken
Pumpkin Butter 
Tomato and Artichoke Chicken

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