Mac and Cheese, that old-fashioned favorite that never grows old! Who doesn’t love that creamy casserole where every bite of the hollow macaroni is filled with a creamy, cheesy sauce?
I loved this mac and cheese casserole as a kid growing up and was always happy to see mom preparing it for dinner.
Mom used that processed cheese food called Velveeta that was such a favorite in those days. Velveeta cheese was ‘invented’ in 1918 but became popular in the 1930’s and was going strong in the 1940’s when I came on the scene. Yes, I am that old, but…..it is what it is.
Velveeta cheese was a fairly inexpensive cheese food in those days and it was a great meal-stretcher when added to macaroni. That was a whole different era and a lot has changed since.
Looking back to those days I can remember of some of the other popular foods we would eat.
Are you old enough to remember how companies would package margarine?
That bag of imitation butter was packaged in a clear plastic, heavy-duty rectangular, one-pound bag. It was filled with some white stuff, which was probably Crisco.
In the center of the white stuff was a deep, dark yellow spot about the size of a quarter. When our warm hands began squeezing and mashing the bag, gradually it all turned a pale ‘butter’ color and was ready to spread on our toast. There was always a squabble in our household over which one of us kids would get to mash the ‘margarine’ bag.
Doesn’t that sound yummy….not.
We also ate a lot of baloney sandwiches with Wonder bread. And there was the fried spam and hot dogs that we loved so much. Oh, yes….and the marshmallows that we ate with such joy! Those days are long gone but the memories live on.
Times have changed, as has my cooking style which has evolved over the years.
I am more health-conscious now. I keep a stronger focus on healthy fats like olive, coconut and avocado oil. I prefer whole foods like whole grains, fresh fruits and veggies and minimally processed foods.
I have become a ‘label/ingredient’ reader with a goal of not adding chemicals and preservatives to an already battered bod. However, I do still have that sweet tooth as you can see by my dessert postings.
So today, along with this stroll down memory lane, I bring you a mac and cheese casserole made with real cheddar cheese goodness. I always think of steamed broccoli and fresh sliced tomatoes being served with this easy mac and cheese dinner.
I have been using this recipe from my well-worn, 1978 Betty Crocker cookbook for so long that I have it memorized. This is a tweaked and adapted version.
More Old-time Recipes:
- Italian Meatballs and Spaghetti with Tomato-Garlic Sauce
- Beef Stew
- Red Beans and Ham
- Tomato Casserole
- Dungeness Crab Cakes
- Baked Turkey Burrito Casserole
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- 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
- 1 stick butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
- 12-oz. extra sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (optional)
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- Thyme sprigs for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400°
- Cook the macaroni according to the package instructions.
- While the pasta is cooking prepare the cheese sauce: In a large saucepan, over low heat add the butter and when it has melted whisk in the flour and, stirring constantly cook until smooth and bubbly, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the milk, salt and pepper, thyme and red pepper if using. Bring the mixture to a boil, continue cooking and whisking for another minute or two to a smooth, silky sauce. Remove the pan from the heat and add the shredded cheese stirring until the cheese is completely melted.
- Add the cooked and drained macaroni and toss with the sauce to combine well. Transfer the mixture to a grease or sprayed 8x8 oven-proof casserole dish, sprinkle with bread crumbs and transfer to the middle rack of the oven. Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes or until the bread crumbs are golden brown and the sauce begins to bubble up to the top. Remove from the oven, garnish with the fresh thyme sprigs and serve.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 423Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 77mgSodium: 628mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 17g
Nutrition information is a guideline only, is calculated automatically by third party software, and absolute accuracy is not guaranteed.