Thursday, August 30, 2012

Slow Cooker Macaroni and Cheese

 
The new school year is upon us!  For us, we're in the midst of our final week of summer vacation and have just five remaining days of summertime bliss until that first school bell rings!  With a new school year comes lots of after-school activities.  In our household, that means scrambling some days to get a hot dinner on the table in the midst of lots of chaos and craziness!

So, I'm a sucker for things I can make in my slow cooker!  And, while I love the ease of throwing a bunch of items in the slow cooker in the morning and lifting the lid at night to a ready-made meal, it is, also, nice to have some things to make in the slow cooker that will be done in just a few hours.  This fits the bill!

On days that the kids come right home after school, there are those couple of hours between bus drop-off and dinner that can get pretty hairy due to the kids' homework load, permission slips to sign, letters from the school to read, lunch totes to unpack and trying to listen to more than one child tell me all about his or her day!

So, this recipe seems like a winner as we enter into the new school year!  What I adore about this recipe (adapted from the talented Trisha Yearwood) is that I'll be able to get this going in the slow cooker shortly before I hear the bus pulling up and it'll be ready by the time we are ready for dinner around six.  Fabulous!  Tonight I roasted off a few chicken breasts about 45 minutes before the macaroni and cheese was set to be done.  Paired with some fresh veggies I had cut and prepped earlier in the day, we had a well-rounded meal with little effort at the last minute ... when those minutes will matter most once next week comes!

A warning, however ... this is NOT diet food!  It has pasta and butter and cheese and milk and eggs and more cheese!  So, just eat lots of carrot and celery sticks on the side (or a big salad!) and you'll feel better about this dish!  And, while this isn't something I'll necessarily make on a weekly basis due to the high fat and caloric count, I am thinking it is perfect for a potluck, as well!

Ingredients:

12 ounces cooked elbow noodles (I only let mine cook for about 4 -5 minutes)
One 12-ounce can evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/4 stick real butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Dash of pepper
2 large eggs, beaten
5 cups of shredded cheese  (I used a combination of sharp cheddar and a Colby-jack blend)
Dash of paprika

Directions:

In a large four-quart slow cooker sprayed with non-stick spray, mix the pasta, evaporated milk, whole milk, butter, salt, pepper, eggs and all but 1/2 of a cup of the cheese.  Sprinkle the reserved cheese on top of the mixture and then sprinkle on some paprika. 

Cover and cook on low for around three hours.  Turn off slow cooker and serve hot.
 

NOTE:  You can make an this an all-in-one meal by adding in some sliced smoked sausage to the mixture.  Also, I did lessen the amount of butter called for in Trisha's recipe because I had read in some reviews that adding too much can leave a heavy greasiness to the dish.  I would think that if you plan to add in sausage, maybe the butter may not even be necessary due to the grease sausage can release.  For vegetarians, try adding in some frozen peas or corn!
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23 comments :

  1. This looks so good. I have always wondered if macncheese in the crockpot would result in mushy noodles. But, urs do not look mushy at all. Thankx for sharing this recipe.

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    1. I didn't find the noodles to be mushy at all, so I was very pleased, too! Thanks for stopping by! You'll have to let me know if you try this!

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  2. This looks sooooooo good!

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  3. I am going to try this today... I hope my picky eaters will like this. Thanks for sharing recipe. I may try to make it a littele healthier...maybe use wholegrain noodles???

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    1. Whole grain should be wonderful in this! And, let me know how you like it! Thanks for visiting!

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  4. Trying this for dinner tomorrow. Adding it as a side dish to my Crunchy Garlic Corn Flake Chicken!!! Can't wait to try this!

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    1. Hi, Julie! Your chicken sounds delish! I appreciate you taking time to comment! Report back on how you and yours like the mac-n-cheese! Have a great week!

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  5. Are the eggs a necessity for this recipe? My son cannot eat eggs, so I wonder if it would work well without them...

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    1. Hi, Heather. I have not tried this recipe without eggs. They help create the creamy custard-like consistency in this recipe. If anyone out there knows of a substitute, please comment on here. Maybe a cream-based cheddar soup would work ... it would still give the dish that mouth-feel, but I'm just guessing here. Let us know if you do come up with something or try it without the eggs. :)

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    2. Yes, you can certainly make the mac-n-cheese WITHOUT eggs. [its 100% a southern thing]

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  6. How many will this feed?

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    1. I am not sure of an exact number to provide, but the recipe produces a good amount of mac-n-cheese. If I had to guess, I would say 10 - 12 people if serving as a side dish.

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  7. do u add the milk after u add the noodles?

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    1. Thanks for your question. I just updated the recipe to reflect the addition of the whole milk in the directions. It is added along with the evaporated milk. Happy Thanksgiving!

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  8. I know this is old, but I found it through Pinterest. I'm trying it with fat free milks and cheeses. Can't wait til it's done :)

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  9. I made this recently for a potlock. It got rave reviews. -- Carol

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    1. Awesome, Carol! Thanks for stopping back by with your feedback. :) Love it!

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  10. wow looks like a great site I will be trying lots of things

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    1. Thanks! Let me know if you have any questions while browsing! Enjoy!

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  11. My mother's recipe called for an addition of grated onion and fresh bread crumbs. I can't find this recipe anywhere. Have you heard of it?

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    1. I've seen a breadcrumb topping on macaroni and cheese before, but never with the addition of onion. It sounds delicious.

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  12. How much macaroni did you start with? I'm not sure how to measure the uncooked noodles to get 12 oz of cooked. Or did you start with 12 ounces and then cook it?

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    1. Hi, Amanda. It should read, "12 ounces elbow macaroni, cooked." I measure out 12 oz PRIOR to cooking. Sorry for the confusion and thanks for the question. :)

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