Cooking On A Budget: Stove Top Mac 'n Cheese

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Stove Top Mac 'n Cheese

This time of year when we have already gone through Halloween and Thanksgiving preparations and now are focused on the next holidays - Christmas and New Year's we find ourselves (or at least I do) feeling rushed.
What with wrapping yourself up with gift giving shopping, decorating your home, baking cookies and breads and planning menus for your festivities and shopping for that somehow leaves very little time to concentrate on the daily question: "What's for dinner?"
I don't know about you, but I put so much effort and concentration on decorating, baking and preparing for our holiday gatherings that I tend to put "what's for dinner" on the back burner. And in this particular case what's for dinner is being made on the stove top. Recently Alton Brown on two separate shows let it slip that his recipe for macaroni and cheese was the most downloaded recipe on the Food Network. So I decided to see for myself perhaps why; because I make a pretty darn good mac and cheese myself.
The answer: it's easy, inexpensive and you make it on the stove top. Plus it's like the boxed kind most children love, but much, much better.
Besides easy, the recipe is inexpensive (serves 6-8 as a side dish) for a mere 62¢ per serving, or 83¢ a serving. Since we have some left over steak (which I cook medium rare so we can re-warm easily) I thought the macaroni and cheese would be a good side dish for a quick dinner this evening. Add a simple side vegetable or salad and it's a snap.
  • 1/2 lb. elbow macaroni
  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 oz. evaporated milk
  • 1/2 tsp. hot sauce
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
  • 10 oz. sharp cheddar cheese - shredded

  1. In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta el dente and drain.
  2. Return the elbows to the pot and melt in the butter and toss to coat.
  3. In a bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, hot sauce, salt, pepper and mustard.
  4. Stir this mixture into the pasta and add the cheese.
  5. Over low heat continue to stir for 3 minutes or until creamy.

This mac and cheese is good as a stove top version. However, we are used to having a crunchy top so I decided to take this version and bake it in a small casserole using our toaster oven. So I added in some more of the evaporated milk and baked it at 350° for about 25 minutes to get a "golden" crust on top. Unfortunately I forgot to capture the creamy mac 'n cheese in the pot as a photo.

It did loose some of the creaminess, but still had good flavor.

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