Shortly after I shared with you my tips and one of my favorite slow cooker recipes, I was perusing the latest issue of Family Circle magazine. Even though I have amassed a large cook book collection of the years, I can’t resist a magazine with food on the cover!
In this issue, I noticed an entire section dedicated to slower cooker cooking. One recipe, in particular, caught my attention – Mac & Cheese. It caught my eye for two reasons; first being that I’ve never had much luck with pasta in the slow cooker and second – well – it’s Mac & Cheese!
Low-fuss, low-stress comfort food. What could be better than that? Luckily, I had all of these ingredients handy, so I didn’t even need to make a special trip to the store!
Mac & Cheese
Family Circle, February 2011
10 oz dry elbow macaroni
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
8 oz American cheese, thinly sliced and roughly chopped
1 ½ cups milk
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
1 ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
¾ tsp dry mustard
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
1 tbsp butter
½ cup panko bread crumbs
- Coat inside of slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray
- Combine macaroni, cheeses, milk and evaporated milk in slow cooker; stir well and cover. Cook on high for 3 hours or low for 4 hours
- When there is 30 minutes cook time remaining, stir in Worcestershire, mustard, salt & pepper
- Melt butter in a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in panko and cook stirring often, for 2 minutes or until toasted and golden. Sprinkle over Mac & Cheese, serve immediately
The first time I test a new recipe on my family, I try to follow the directions and ingredient exactly. I couldn’t quite get the breadcrumbs to brown in the pan (or I was too impatient), so I sprinkled them on top of the dish and placed it under the broiler for a few minutes.
The dish was very tasty and even my picky-eater husband liked it. Unfortunately, the macaroni was too soft for my preference. I like a nice, al-dente, pasta. So, next time, I’ll just make the sauce in the crock pot, boil the macaroni and add it when stirring in the spices.
One thing I love about Mac & Cheese is how versatile it is. You can add in other ingredients to give a new spin on an old favorite. Try one of these:
- Cubed ham & broccoli
- Browned Ground beef & onions (we call this “Cheeseburger Casserole”)
- Left over Taco Meat & a can of well-drained tomatoes
- Cut up hot dogs (kids love it!!!)
- A packet of dry Ranch dressing mix & cubed ham or chicken (omit the other spices in the recipe)
Do you have a favorite comfort food you cook in your slow cooker? How about a favorite add in for Mac and Cheese? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below!