Friday, March 1, 2013

Slow Cooker Mac'n'Cheese

Do your kids get excited about macaroni and cheese from a box?

Mine did.

As, I've mentioned before, that famous blue box was imported to South America where we lived and cost about three times what it cost in the states, so it was a special treat for my kids. I usually reserved it for evenings when we were going out to a couple's dinner at church or when Dad was away traveling.

But, sadly, my kids got past that. I remember the day Jim had traveled and they came to me and said, "Mom, we don't want that boxed macaroni and cheese any more. Can we have 'real food' tonight?"

It was sad for two reasons: they were growing up, and there would be no more "taking the night off" when Jim was gone. On the other hand, I couldn't (as an adult at least) stand the slimy orange stuff, so I never ate it with them--one of the few times I made something different for the kids than for the adult(s).

Homemade mac-n-cheese is a totally different story--comfort food at it's peak! But it's also a lot of work. So when I saw this one pot slow-cooker macaroni and cheese, I knew I had to try it. I found the original recipe here, but as always, I changed it a bit.

I made it when my whole family was together and they all loved it. I loved it because I could dump it in the slow-cooker and in three hours have a hot meal that even my one year old granddaughter could eat and liked.

The ingredients are simple:

2 cups milk (I use 1%, but skim and whole work just as well)
1 12oz. can evaporated milk
1 egg
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni (regular or whole wheat)
and my secret ingredient:

3/4 tsp. nutmeg

Spray slow cooker with cooking spray. Pour in milks, egg, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Whisk together. Add cheese and macaroni.

Cook on low 3 to 3 3/4 hours. The original recipe says 3-4 hours, but mine was done by 3 hours so I turned it to warm as we weren't ready to eat yet. Don't let it overcook. It dries out.

This recipe serves 5-6 (of our eaters) as a main dish. I tripled it for the family gathering of 15 and we did great, even with two guys who are BIG eaters. Then it took 3 3/4s hours.

This turns out rich and thick, with an almost custard-like texture. If you prefer it to be creamier, you can leave out the egg. (Please note: I have not tried it this way, only read about it.)

If you want some add-in ideas for your macaroni and cheese consider some of these ideas:

  • cut up hot dogs (we used to do this with the boxed stuff, till the kids informed me they didn't want hot dogs any more either)
  • pepperoni
  • cut up bits of ham
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • serve with catsup

I served my mac-n-cheese with a mixed lettuce salad, bread, and instant pudding-granola parfaits for dessert. It was a great way to bring my family around the table again.

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  1. Looks yummy! I'll have to try it with gluten free pasta. Thanks for sharing. Stopping by from Friendship Friday

    1. Let me know if it works with gluten free so I can tell others! Thanks!

  2. This does look wonderful and I bookmarked it to try later. At 8+ Amara still loves the Blue Box -- please let her outgrow it soon!

    1. Have to laugh at your comment about the blue box--it was a sanity saver at times!

  3. It looks really good! Thanks for sharing this at my Pin Me Linky Party. I hope you come visit & link again.

  4. Look delicious!

    Thank you for linking up to Raising Imperfection!
    Make sure to check back on Friday to see if you were featured.

  5. I'm always on the lookout for yummy slow cooker recipes. This looks fantastic!  I'd  love to have you link this to Titus 2 Tuesday this week on Cornerstone Confessions.. I hope to see you there. 

  6. I wouldn't have thought to use Nutmeg.

    Thank you for linking to Raising Imperfection.
    Please come back Friday to see if you were featured. :)

    (¸¤ Lanaya | xoxo

  7. Thanks for the recipe. I am very interested in crock pot cooking because I just bought a crock pot! Have a good week. Linda

  8. Ooh my boys would love this! Looks delicious! I found you at the Titus 2 Tuesday Link Party-- thanks for sharing!

    ~Abby =)

  9. This sounds yummy! Thanks for sharing at Titus 2 Tuesday. Pinning it!

  10. Macaroni in the crock pot? Brilliant! I'm glad I found your post on How To Tuesday. I will definitely try this soon.

    1. I'm glad you found it too. Hope you enjoy it!

  11. Thank you so much for this! I use the slow cooker a LOT around here; almost every day! So this is exciting! Thanks again!

  12. I've never tried mac & cheese in the crock pot. I bet it's yummy & I love crock pot cooking. Thanks for linking up & sharing @ Hope you are having a great week.

  13. This looks so good! I haven't had breakfast yet, and sure wish that I was enjoying some of your mac and cheese. Thanks, I'll give this a try.

    Kathy M.

  14. I adore home made mac and cheese and now I am hungry looking at those pics! Yum! Thanks for linking with me.

  15. Sounds so good -- (and much better than day glo orange!) Thanks so much for linking on Busy Monday!

    1. Love your description of the boxed stuff. :-)



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