Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and cheese happens to be one of those classic foods that you can feed to a child in order make sure they live into young adulthood and don’t starve to death. I suppose what I mean to say is that no one doesn’t like macaroni and cheese, and if they don’t like it, it is a miracle that they are even alive. So here is a fantastic macaroni and cheese recipe that, theoretically, a majority of people should enjoy. It’s got to be nearly picky–eater proof.

Before you get too excited with the cheese and noodles and all of that, you are going to have to preheat the oven. 350 degrees will do. Let it get there. Don’t look over its shoulder all of the time and ask it if it is at 350 degrees yet. That makes it very hard for the oven to work, and it really needs to get this done because it has other things to do and it probably wants to get some quality time with the DVR in later. Just leave it alone and go grease your 2-quart baking dish.

Actually, you probably want to boil some water at this time as well. I know you’ve only got two hands, but what did I say about the oven? Just let it do what it does. It is an expert at that sort of thing. Anyway, once your water is boiling, cook your macaroni until it is soft. There may be some instructions for this on the package, but you can more than likely use your best judgment and be just fine. Drain it, rinse it, set it aside. Seriously, calm down.

Get out a large saucepan. In this you are going to begin to melt your first 2 tablespoons of butter. Make sure that you set the heat at medium-low and do not touch it again. If you turn it up, you will ruin everything. We’ve already come this far, so just keep the heat right where it is and stir in your flour until it is well blended and bubbly. Is it bubbly? Good. Add your milk, but do it gradually, stirring constantly so it does not burn. You can use whole milk if you want to. Treat yourself.

Eventually the mixture you are stirring should thicken a bit. That is a good sign. Now you can add the herbs. You can really add whatever you want, but thyme, sage and chives are good choices. Some people really dig oregano too. No one is going to judge you for your herbs. Besides, you have more important things to worry about, like adding your salt and pepper. Quick tip: Garlic salt can be really good here if you have any handy.

All spiced up? Cool! It’s cheese time. Stir in your Cheddar and about 3 ounces of your Parmesan cheese. Save the rest of that Parm; you are going to need it later. You probably get that a lot, but this time it is totally true. Stir until it all is melted. Add your goat cheese last so you can keep it a little less melted. This will create some tasty goat cheese pockets in your macaronic and cheese.

Finally, it is macaroni time. You set it aside, remember? Well, grab it now and stir it into the rest of the stuff, then dump the whole mixture into your baking dish. Your oven should be ready by now—assuming you left it alone like I told you to. Before sticking the dish in, though, you should combine your bread crumbs (Whatever kind you like. Panko can be good for this instead of regular ones, but it is up to you.) with the last tablespoon of butter (melted). Toss this mixture with the remaining Parmesan cheese and sprinkle the whole thing over your noodles and sauce. When it is ready to go, it should be put in the oven for 25–30 minutes, or until bubbly and nicely browned.

This recipe serves 4–6 people, but if I were you I would keep it all to myself. I am just that kind of person.