Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Family-Favorite Macaroni and Cheese

There are some recipes that are timeless for one reason and one reason only: They are just that good. Betty Crocker's macaroni and cheese is one of those recipes for me. I've made countless variations of this classic comfort food, and yet I always come back to Betty's mac and cheese. It just can't be beat. I made it again one night last week to go along with the pork "butt roast" Joe cooked on the grill all day long (YUM), and Joe promptly declared it the best mac and cheese I've ever made. Thank you, Betty! I only have a couple of additions/changes to this recipe, which are in purple as usual.

Family-Favorite Macaroni and Cheese
Source: Betty Crocker (also found in The Betty Crocker Cookbook)

2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni (7 ounces)
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (8 ounces) (I use a blend of all kinds of cheeses, usually about 3 cups' worth instead of 2, and I always use a little bit of Velveeta and some cream cheese to make this even creamier)

1 sleeve crushed Ritz crackers
1/4 cup butter, melted

1. Heat oven to 350ยบ.

2. Cook macaroni as directed on package.

3. While macaroni is cooking, melt butter in 3-quart saucepan over low heat. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly; remove from heat. Stir in milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constanly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Stir in cheese. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cheese is melted.

4. Drain macaroni. Gently stir macaroni into cheese sauce. Pour into ungreased 2-quart casserole. Mix Ritz crackers with melted butter and sprinkle over the top. Bake uncovered 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly.