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Old School Mac & Cheese

Hands down, this is my absolute favorite side dish!

As a matter of fact, I could make this a meal and skip everything else.  I have always loved mac & cheese and my love affair with this calorie and fat laden dish began when I was a child.  Sunday suppers are not complete without this cheesy goodness.  It is a huge crowd- pleaser and always disappears at church functions, family gatherings or potluck parties.

For some reason, the more "sophisticated" mac & cheese recipes are trendy now; however, when it comes to my all time favorite side dish, I stick to my roots!  Sorry, ya'll,  but there are no hard-to-find cheeses, smoked meats or bread crumbs in this one!  This is all OLD SCHOOL and I have not found another mac & cheese that I like any better!

Adding paprika and black pepper is a down home thing that some folks have never heard of, but I promise, it combines with the shredded cheddar and makes a delicious melted crust on top!

Ingredients

16 oz elbow pasta

1 stick melted butter

1 egg

3 – 8 oz blocks extra sharp cheddar shredded [It is best to use block cheddar rather than the pre-shredded kind in the bag.  It just tastes better in this recipe.]

4 cups milk

24 oz Velveeta, cubed

8 oz cream cheese, softened

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Cook pasta according to package directions.  Do not overcook. It is best to remove it from the heat when it is slightly done because it will continue cooking inside the oven. Drain and rinse.

  3. Reserve about one cup of the cheddar cheese to sprinkle on top. 

  4. In a very large container, combine the cheeses, egg, milk, and butter and stir.  Add the pasta and combine well.  It is very important that the mixture is somewhat runny.  This liquid will reduce during the cooking process.  Pour into a baking dish that has been prepared with butter or non-stick cooking spray.

  5. Sprinkle the top with the reserved cheddar, paprika and black pepper.

  6. Bake for approximately 45 minutes or until the top has slightly browned and much of the liquid has been absorbed by the pasta.

  7. Remove from the oven.

  8. It is very important to allow this to rest at least 30 minutes before serving.  As it rests, it becomes creamier in texture and the sharp cheese becomes a more prominent flavor.

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