The Joy of Mac and Cheese

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“Cheesy, moist, simple. This is my go-to, tried-and-true, what the kids mean when they say "can you make mac and cheese?" mac and cheese recipe. From my old, beat up Joy of Cooking cookbook. For speed and ease I cook the white sauce in the microwave instead of on the stovetop. The original recipe calls for 1/2 minced onion, 1 bay leaf and 1/4 tsp paprika in the white sauce. Instead I add whatever herb or spices strike my fancy that day, usually a herb mix from Epicure Selections like Herb and Garlic, or Pesto, or just salt and pepper.”

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 14 cups cheddar cheese, grated, divided
  • 1 teaspoon epicure garlic herb dip mix (optional)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups macaroni, cooked
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 12 cup fresh breadcrumbs or 12 cup packaged breadcrumbs


  1. In microwave bowl melt butter, whisk in flour and once it is smooth gradually whisk in milk a bit at a time until mixture is smooth again. Microwave on high, stirring until smooth every minute, until mixture thickens into a white sauce, about 4-5 minutes in all.
  2. Stir in desired seasonings and 2/3rds of cheese until melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in macaroni.
  3. Pour 1/2 of the macaroni mixture into a greased 1 1/2 quart baking dish. I like to use a 9 x 11 to spread it out thin. Sprinkle with half the remaining cheese. Top with the other half of the macaroni and the rest of the cheese. It's ok to grate more cheese if you want and/or mix in other cheeses like mozzarella. I do!
  4. Melt butter in a pan and toss in fresh bread crumbs until browned for topping OR sprinkle macaroni with packaged bread crumbs and dot with butter.
  5. Bake at 350 for 30 mins, until breadcrumbs are lightly browned. Since I spread it out thin and the ingredients are already warm it usually doesn't take the full 30 mins to cook. You don't want to dry it out ether. Let rest for about 5 mins before serving.

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