Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Macaroni and Cheese

We called it macaroni pie when I was growing up. But somewhere along the way--about the same time paper sacks became paper bags and we started to call dinner "lunch" and supper became "dinner"--macaroni pie became macaroni and cheese.

I was grown before I realized that the rest of the world doesn't make macaroni and cheese like we do around here. This is not the cheese sauce version. Nor do we serve it as a main dish. It's a side dish here. Restaurants list it under "vegetables." This only makes sense here in the South probably.

When I was working as a home economist years ago, I did a program for a ladies club and they had a covered dish lunch after the program. It turned out that almost everyone had brought macaroni and cheese. I think there were twelve dishes of it on the table. All good.

After reading my Easter blog post, Robin asked that I share my recipe, so here it is. If you look through church cookbooks, you will find dozens of variations but this is the way my mother made it. And we think it's as good as any. (Actually we think it is the best.)

Macaroni & Cheese

16-oz. box elbow macaroni (we like the small elbows)
16-oz. sharp Cheddar cheese (NY sharp when I can find it)
4 cups milk (I use fat-free or 1%)
4 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
a sprinkle of black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook macaroni according to directions on the box. Drain. While macaroni cooks, grate the cheese. Spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with PAM. Put half the macaroni in the baking dish, layer half the cheese over it, add the rest of macaroni and then the remaining cheese.

Mix the milk, eggs, salt and pepper. Pour over the macaroni and cheese. Use just enough to cover the macaroni.  (Sometimes I don’t use quite all of the milk/egg mixture. And I have been known to add a little bit more milk if the 4-cups didn't cover it.)

Bake, uncovered, for 35-45 minutes, until lightly browned on top.  Let rest for about 15 minutes before serving so that it "sets."

If you keep the one egg/one cup of milk ratio, you can make any size dish you need. I've done everything from a tiny two-cup dish to a huge foil pan for a church dinner. You will need to adjust the baking time, though. I pretty much go by the "just beginning to brown" as my signal that it's done.

I also learned this Thanksgiving that you can layer the macaroni and cheese in the dish the day before baking. Store covered in the refrigerator. Mix the milk and egg the next day and pour over the macaroni and bake. Why did I not know this 30 years ago?

Thanks, Robin, for making me write out the recipe! I should have done that a long time ago.


  1. Oh so easy-peasy!!! no more sauce-making for me :) thanks

  2. @meppybn, hope you like this version. Let me know!

  3. My mouth waters just thinking about this dish. Yum!

  4. I'm so old, and Southern, that I remember when a sack was a poke! Never have had mac and cheese made with eggs. Perhaps because Mother is allergic to eggs.

  5. And thank YOU for posting it! Yum!

  6. Oooh, I am a bit of a collector of mac n cheese recipes....cannot wait to try this one!


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