One Pot Macaroni & Cheese

December 20, 2011 • Alaska from Scratch, Main Dishes, Recipes, Side Dishes

Weather: 36 degrees, saw the most gorgeous Alaskan sunset tonight
What I’m listening to:
Andrea Bocelli, My Christmas

Tonight we celebrated the birthday of my 7-year-old, who happens to be a macaroni and cheese lover. I had found this recipe on Pinterest and thought it was a perfect opportunity to try it out. And now that I’ve tried it, I may never make baked macaroni and cheese ever again. One. Pot. Need I say more? Homemade mac and cheese typically uses at least two pots and one big strainer. Not here. And the birthday boy cleaned his plate (trust me, that’s saying something).

Where baked macaroni and cheese dishes can be delicious, they often lose the creaminess I really love in stovetop versions (and my kids are opposed to crunchy topping). It’s a texture preference thing. In this recipe, the macaroni cooks in the water and milk and there’s no draining involved; the liquid leftover becomes the base for the creamy cheese sauce. It’s easy and just plain smart. And, as with any mac and cheese recipe, you can customize it to your family’s liking. The kids opted for diced ham and the parents went for ham and peas. Whatever floats your macaroni boat, I say. I’ll give you the base recipe and you can play around with your own variations.

One Pot Macaroni and Cheese

Adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

Yields: 6 Servings

  • 3c water
  • 1 (12oz) can evaporated milk, divided
  • 3c elbow macaroni
  • 1/2t salt, plus more to taste
  • 1t cornstarch
  • 3/4t dry mustard
  • 3c grated cheese (your preference, I used a combination of medium cheddar and jack)
  • 2T butter
  • pepper to taste

In a large non-stick pot, bring water, 1 cup of evaporated milk, macaroni, and salt to a boil over high heat, stirring often. Turn heat down to medium - medium-high and boil for 9 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, whisk cornstarch into remaining evaporated milk with dry mustard (other spices can be added here to your preference, like garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, or paprika).

Add milk and cornstarch mixture to noodles. Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in cheese and butter until smooth and creamy. If mixture is thick or stringy, add water by the 1/4 cup to smooth out. *When water is added be sure to add more salt.

Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper as needed. Serve immediately.