Crock-pot, “set it and forget it” Macaroni and Cheese
When I use my crock pot, I want to set it and forget it. I don’t like that most macaroni and cheese recipes even ask me to cook my macaroni first. What’s the point? I’ll just bake it in the oven, then! When I use my crock-pot, all I want to dirty and clean is my crock pot dish! This recipe allows you to use DRY macaroni in your recipe. YES!
This past Valentines’ Day, my husband told me I couldn’t be home until 6pm because he had a surprise planned. But, what about making dinner?! So I decided to set up mac and cheese and have it ready when I got home. The bonus: only ONE dish to clean! I’m totally making valentines’ Day a one-dish evening EVERY year! (What’s romantic about cleaning dishes?)
1 lb. DRY macaroni (1 box)
5 cups milk
4 T. butter
1 t. salt
4 cups cheese
- Line your crock pot with some cooking oil to keep the mac from hardening onto the sides. (I like browned mac n’ cheese as much as anyone, but I mean hardening- like ucky hardening- not yummy browning)
- Beat one egg in your crock pot.
- Add dry macaroni.
- I used penne because I didn’t have any elbows on hand. I imagine elbows would be best, but my husband said he preferred the penne anyway! Any pasta that says it will take btw 7-11 minutes I’m sure is fine.
- Add milk.
- I used skim because it’s what I always have on hand, but feel free to change it up. I don’t think it will affect the cooking much.
- Add Butter
- I cut mine into chunks and just sprinkled it onto the rest of the ingredients.
- Add salt.
- When we ate the meal, we sprinkled a little bit more salt on top of our serving (less than 1/8 t). We talked about whether or not adding more to the receipe would have been a good idea, but both agreed that we liked the raw taste of salt on top better than making the overall dish more salty. The 1 t. salt seemed to be plenty to draw out flavors and make the mac and cheese delcious.
- Add cheese.
- I used sharp cheddar. Feel free to play with what cheese combinations you use.
- I highly recommend freshly shredding your cheese whenever you can. Pre-shredded cheese is coated in parafin (yep, wax) which just seems weird to me to eat. Freshly shredded cheese also seems to melt nicer.
- Stir ingredients.
- Set on LOW for up to 3.5 hours
- Theoretically you could set it on HIGH for 2.5 hours.
- I did LOW for 3.5 hours, but I think 3 or 3.25 hours would have been good, too.
- If you have an oven-proof crock pot, sprinkle bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese on top and place it under the broiler until the crust is golden.
- This is not a creamy velvetta style macaroni and cheese. I purposely didn’t want to add any fake cheese to the recipe (which velvetta is), so what you get is a rous-style, authentic mac n’ cheese. My husband said he preferred this consistency to velvetta-style recipes.
- My husband said he stirred the macaroni and cheese when there was about 1 hour left. (He said it was still really soupy) I’m not sure this did much, but it appears it can’t hurt!