Monday, August 23, 2010

Crock Pot Mac & Cheese

This is a variation on the recipe from A Year of Slow Cooking. I did make a few notes and tweaks, so here is my version

2 cups macaroni noodles (should be about 1/2 pound)
4 cups shredded cheese or about 1 lb (I used a mix of sharp chedder, colby, and monterrey jack)
4 cups milk (I used 1%)
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
salt and pepper

I used a plastic crock pot liner but I couldn't resist the urge to spray it with cooking spray even though it wasn't supposed to get too casserole-ish. Then I added the noodles and cheese and sort of tossed it all around with my hands.

Because I'm lazy and don't like washing any more dishes than necessary, I cracked the eggs into my large measuring cup and beat it up, then added the milk and stirred in the spices. An average size egg will be about 1/4 cup (this is also a helpful tip for making pancakes because then you can pour your batter straight from the cup and it won't make as big a mess!) Then I just dumped all of that over the noodles.

I set my cooker on low and started checking on it after about 2 hours. The pasta was soft and the cheese sauce looked nice after about three hours, but one taste told me it wasn't ready. The sauce was still a little grainy and it didn't taste quite right. I realize this is where the recipe probably "should" have been done. But I kept it cooking for another hour (total - 4 hrs) to see if it would come together a little bit better. It was very "casserole-ish" and not creamy at all when I turned it off.

Verdict: This one definitely deserves a re-do. The biggest mistake I made was using the extra sharp cheddar. It didn't melt well and so it gave the "grainy" texture when I first checked it. Had that not been there, it would have been great. Even when it was technically over-cooked, it wasn't that bad. It tasted like other casserole mac and cheese I've had. We'll definitely eat it, but I'm going to give it another try to refine it.

One thing I think I am going to try is using the pre-shredded cheese in a bag. Because of the cornstarch that has already been added to it, I think it will help thicken the sauce, the cheese will melt a little better, and I can get a good blend and save myself a little of the work of grating!

1 comment:

  1. I was going to say, I don't like the kind in the bag because of the starch... interesting, interesting.