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You’ve Got A Friend In Cheeses – Creamy Mac & Cheese

There are few recipes I have tweaked and messed around with more over the years than Mac & Cheese. I like a good dense Mac & Cheese with a breadcrumb crust sometimes, but other times I opt for this creamy version which is great for a chilly night. This recipe lends itself well to adding bacon, onions, jalapenos, or any number of delicious things. Feel free to get creative after you have seen what you have here and let me know how it goes.

You Know You Want It

You Know You Want It



8 oz. dry macaroni

Cheese Sauce:

1/4 cup Butter, not margarine, never EVER margarine

1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour

3 cups Whole Milk or at least 2%

7 oz Aged Cheddar, chopped into small chunks

3 oz Sharp Cheddar, chopped into small chunks

1/2 tsp Kosher Salt (Never use table salt, yuck.)

1/2 tsp Garlic Powder

1/2 tsp Mustard Powder

1/2 tsp Chili Powder


1/2 oz additional Sharp Cheddar, grated

1/2 tsp Chile de Arbol Chili Powder [or whatever you have]


– Preheat your oven to 350° and put the rack in the middle position.

– Cook your pasta while making the cheese sauce. Cook the noodles until just barely done [al dente]. The noodles will finish cooking in the oven. When noodles are done boiling rinse and toss with cold water and set aside.

– Cheese Sauce: In a large saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. Slowly whisk in the flour and continue to whisk [making a roux] and cook for about 2 minutes.

– Slowly add the milk while whisking constantly, make sure to get out lumps before adding more milk. When all the milk has been added continue cooking and stirring frequently until the sauce thickens, this takes about 8-10 minutes. Be patient, you will be able to tell when the thickening happens.

– Turn off the heat under the saucepan. Add the cheese, salt, chili powder and garlic powder. Stir until the cheese is melted and all the ingredients are incorporated, about 3 minutes. Set aside.

– Butter [or spray] an 8-inch square baking dish, an 8-inch cast-iron skillet or individual baking dishes.

– Add the cooked pasta and to the cheese sauce and mix thoroughly but gently. It will look like there is a lot of cheese sauce but remember this is a CREAMY Mac & Cheese.

– Scoop the mixture into your prepared baking dish [or individual dishes]. Sprinkle the top with a bit of additional grated sharp cheddar. Just a little, it’s already cheesy this just help to form a nice top.

– Bake uncovered in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes. The sauce should be bubbly around the edges and there will be nice golden crust on top.

– Remove from oven and let set for a few minutes before serving.

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