Slow Cooker Three Cheese Macaroni and Cheese

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It’s beautiful, isn’t it? Something as simple as macaroni and cheese can be so basic, and so fancy. Some days, when you can’t even muster up the strength or will to make yourself a whole meal, that box of store brand macaroni and cheese that costs a whole fifty cents just screams out to you. When you’re out for dinner with your friends, the mac’n’cheese screams to you from the menu (it sure is a noisy pasta). You know it’s not the boxed stuff you make at home, and a part of you wants to try it. Maybe sometimes, when you’re feeling fancy, you throw you mac’n’cheese in the oven with some bread crumbs on top, to make it look like the restaurant version.

No matter how or when you eat it, macaroni and cheese is one of the ultimate comfort foods. It’s just one of those things that people crave when it’s cold, or they’re feeling down, or they just really want cheese. So why not make a rich, gooey mac’n’cheese in your crock pot, so it’s ready for you when you get home?

Here’s the recipe I found on Fake Ginger. This site, by the way, has some great slow cooker recipes on it, including one for Crockpot Candy that I am definitely going to have to try!

Ingredients

12 oz dry elbow macaroni
1 cup gruyere cheese, shredded
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
10 slices American cheese, chopped
1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

Instructions

  1. Spray the inside of the slow cooker bowl with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In the bowl of the slow cooker, combine the macaroni, cheeses, evaporated milk and skim milk. Stir until combined and the macaroni is almost completely covered by liquid and cheese. Cover and cook on low for 1½ hours.
  3. After 1½ hours, the cheese should be melted and the macaroni should be cooked. Fold and stir in the dry mustard, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Make sure to stir well to make sure all the macaroni is coated with cheesy goodness.

Now, a few tips for everyone.

  • don’t panic if you can’t find gruyere, or it’s too damn expensive for you. It’s a cheese commonly used in fondues, and can be hard to come by in a lot of stores. Swiss and Monterey Jack are also great fondue cheeses that melt very well, and are much easier to come by. They even sell store brand bricks of it in many larger grocery stores.
  • I don’t know who decided that elbow macaroni is the be-all and end-all of macaronis to eat with cheese. I like to find what’s cheap and cute, and use that. Fusilli is great because the shape holds the cheese well, and it’s name is fun to say. Bowtie pasta is just fun to eat any time, same with wagon wheel. And you can always get a cheap package of spaghetti and use that.
  • I like to add veggies to my meals, just to pretend I’m eating healthy. If you can find it cheap, cauliflower is great in pasta and cheese dishes (it’s damn expensive right now though, so I’m not using that). Broccoli is also great, and you can get big frozen bags of it cheap when it’s on sale. I’ve also used canned corn and peas and the past, and it turned out great.
  • if you use frozen veggies, thaw them completely before throwing them in. For canned veggies, drain ALL the liquid from the can before dumping it in. You don’t want any water in this recipe!
  • play around with meat if you want. I like to add hot dogs to my regular mac’n’cheese, and like to buy the “good” hot dogs when they’re on sale (the all beef, name brand, 5 per pack because they’re huge things ones). Chop or slice them up and throw them in there for a “fancy” mac’n’cheese with hot dogs!

Well, this post is making me hungry now, and there’s a box of dollar store fifty cent mac’n’cheese in the cupboard calling my name. Have fun in the kitchen, sunshine!

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