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Easy Homemade Mac & Cheese

Whenever we host a BBQ at our house I try to make at least one dinner item that will be a sure-fire hit with the kids. This past weekend I asked my kid what he thought the others would like and he shouted “Mac & Cheese!” I was pleased with his choice because we had almost all the ingredients for this easy homemade mac & cheese in the house. The only substitution we had to make was to use penne instead of macaroni. No big deal!

My kid loves to make mac & cheese because of all the whisking and sprinkling. (Oh, and there’s also a lot of sneaking of cheese that goes on during the process.) I like to make this ahead of time and reheat it just before it’s time to eat. It comes out in perfect squares when it has had the time to cool down before being heated back up. The kids at the BBQ loved it, but the adults were the ones who polished it off! Now for the recipe…

Easy Homemade Mac & Cheese
adapted from Food Network Alton Brown Recipe [1]

Prep Time: 20 mins  Cooking Time: 30 mins

1/2 pound elbow macaroni (or penne)
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups lowfat milk
1 large egg
12 oz shredded cheddar
salt & fresh pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Boil pasta in olive oil to al dente (about 6 or 7 mins) and drain. Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium pot and whisk in the flour. Keep it moving so it doesn’t get lumpy. Begin to stir in the milk and let it simmer for 10 mins. Crack an egg in a separate dish. Temper the egg by taking a spoonful of milk mixture out of the pot, adding it to the egg and whisking. Do this a few more times until you’ve brought the egg to the same temperature as the milk. Then pour the egg (which now has 3 or 4 spoonfuls of milk in it) into the milk mixture. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese and remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper. Mix the macaroni (or penne) in with the cheese. Pour it into a 2-quart casserole dish and top with the remaining cheese. Bake for 30 minutes and then let it rest before serving. Serves 8.

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[1] Food Network Alton Brown Recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/baked-macaroni-and-cheese-recipe/index.html

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