Macaroni and cheese is the ultimate comfort food. This is a favorite in my house and often requested.
Preparation Time: 20-30 minutes, depending on your options
1 package elbow macaroni noodles, cooked according to package directions
1/4 cup butter
1 package cream cheese, softened
1/4 tsp ground mustard seed
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
4-5 grates of fresh nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground paprika
Salt & fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 cups cubed Cheddar cheese Or any combination of cheeses you like
1 cup cubed ham or cooked chicken and/or chopped broccoli and/or cauliflower
1 large tomato, sliced or several slices of sun-dried tomato
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup fried onions or jalapeños
- Bring a pot of water to a bowl. Add your macaroni noodles and cook until tender yet firm according to package directions. If you are are using raw or frozen vegetables as mix-ins, you can stir them into the water just before the noodles are done, return to a boil and then strain.
- In a saucepan(or the pan you just cooked your noodles in), melt 1/4 cup butter and cream cheese, stirring constantly until it begins to soften.
- Add the seasonings and stir them in well.
- Continue to cook and stir till cream cheese is melted and you have a lovely smooth sauce.
- Stir in the macaroni, cheese cubes, and your pre-cooked meat mix-ins.
- Keep stirring over low heat till everything starts to integrate.
- Transfer to a casserole dish, if desired.
- Arrange the toppings in an attractive fashion.
- Cover and let rest 5-10 minutes before serving.
After placing in a casserole and arranging the toppings, cover and refrigerate or freeze. When you are ready, take it out and thaw, if needed and heat, covered, in a 350 F degree oven for 15- 20 minutes or until heated through- the exact time will depend on the depth of your casserole dish. Just check it every 10 minutes or so until everything is hot and melty again.