Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Homemade mac and cheese

I have professed my love of all things cheesy, like in my cheesy chicken quesadillas post, from mac and cheese, to my super cheesy husband.  I joke, I joke...sort of.  Anyway, in tune with all things cheesy, we go through a lot of mac and cheese in my house!  Sadly, I don't always go with homemade, being in a rush most nights, I'm guilty of grabbing a box of mac and cheese and just going on with supper.  However, this is a recipe that my family has been making for years, and it is so easy!  It just takes a little bit of time in the slow cooker, and makes enough to feed a hungry family!
There is not a holiday supper (or, sometimes, holiday lunch) in my house that does not involve mac and cheese.  I've heard that this is a southern thing, and that surprises me, because mac and cheese goes with everything, and that (nearly) everyone loves.  What's better??  I suppose you could argue that around the holidays, you don't need another dish eating up space in your oven, when you're trying to get everything cooked, and finished at the same time.  I hear you, I hear you, and I have a solution for you.  Put your mac and cheese in the slow cooker!  Yes, you read that correctly.  Mac and cheese that doesn't need to be put in the oven, and it comes together so quickly and easily!  Lets get started!
Here's your grocery list for this one:
2 eggs, beaten
2 C uncooked macaroni
1/2 stick butter, cut into pieces
4 C shredded cheese, cheddar (or a blend of whatever you would like)
1 can evaporated milk
1 1/2 C milk
Salt to taste
Panko bread crumbs*

This really is an easy dish, that comes together quickly, gets dumped into the slow cooker, and then cooks away for a couple of hours, with very little interference from you, if any.  So, that being said, this post is going to go by pretty quickly!  Lets get started!  In a large pot, get some water up to a rolling boil, salt it with about a tablespoon of salt, and put in the macaroni.  Let this pasta cook for about 10 minutes, then drain it off.

While this cooks, put your eggs into the crock of your slow cooker, and beat them up in the crock.  Since they're going in anyway, there is no point in dirtying up another bowl by beating the eggs in there, then adding them into the crock.  I hate washing extra dishes.Once your eggs have been beaten, add in the can of evaporated milk, and in the same thought of not wasting dishes, I measure out my milk in the evaporated milk can.  My thought is: 1 cup is 8 oz., the evaporated milk can is 12 oz., so if I need a cup and a half (which would be 8 oz. plus 4 oz., equals 12 oz!  Boom!  No extra measuring cups for me to wash!!), I just use that to measure out the milk.  I truly am lazy, and try to find the easiest ways to do things.  So, you have mixed your eggs, milk, and evaporated milk in together, this is what you should have:

Stir in half of your cheese, half of your macaroni and the butter.  There is no wrong or right way to cut the butter up, just chunk it up and chuck it in.  Stir in the other half of macaroni and the rest of the cheese, and about 1 1/2 tsp of Kosher salt, give or take to your taste.  Turn your slow cooker on low, and let it cook away for 3 hours and 15 minutes.  

Believe me, I know.  It looks more like soup than mac and cheese, but it will set up and cook just fine, don't worry.  After about an hour, it's looking better!

Two hours later, it's looking better and better!  Yum!

After 3 hours, here is what you should have!  It may not take the full 3 hours and 15 minutes, it may take a few minutes more, everyone's slow cooker is a little different, so just keep an eye on it.  If you like a crunchy top, toast some Panko bread crumbs in a pan over medium heat, with just a little bit of oil or butter, and top the cooked mac and cheese with the toasted bread crumbs!