This is my favorite meal. Like favorite, favorite. One of the special things that my Mom did for me and my three sisters every year on our birthday was to cook the meal of our choice for dinner, and every year baked macaroni and cheese was my request.
No boxed stuff for this girl. Mom makes it like no one else I know. Sharp white cheddar layered between elbow macaroni that's baked for nearly a hour. The top bakes to golden perfection with little pieces of crunchy pasta (the crunchies!) peeking through the hot, bubbly cheese. Last time I checked, you don't get crunchies with the box stuff.
The final component that sets this macaroni and cheese apart from the rest...the stewed tomatoes. You absolutely positively can't have baked macaroni and cheese without stewed tomatoes. The majority of people I've come across haven't thought of tomatoes as an accompaniment to their mac and cheese. I assure you, it is the only way to go. They are like the yin to the macaroni yang. At least for this recipe! So, don't skip 'em, even if you're skeptical. I've enjoyed many a mac and cheese in my 33 years and Momma's is, and will always be the best.
- 16 oz elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
- 1 lb sharp white cheddar cheese, sliced into ¼ inch thick slices
- 5 tsp butter
- 15 oz can stewed tomatoes, roughly chopped
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Spray a 9 x 13 baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Layer ingredients in the following order: half of the macaroni, half of the cheese, the remaining macaroni, followed by the remaining cheese. Sometimes I'll spread it out even more and do the layers of macaroni a little thinner and I end up with somewhere around 1 or two more layers. As long as you end up with cheese on the top, you're good.
- Top with sliced butter.
- Pour milk over layers until the milk fills the dish about ¾ of the way full or until you just see the milk coming through the macaroni when you're looking at it from the top.
- Bake uncovered in preheated oven for 50 minutes to one hour or until the top is golden and bubbly. Let sit 10-15 minutes before serving. Serve with warmed stewed tomatoes.
- Source: My Mom!