So last Friday I went to the grocery store. Hungry. Which is never a good idea. I passed aisle after aisle of tempting treats thinking of all the delicious things I could make for dinner, but (mostly) resisted. (A box of Poptarts may have jumped into my cart without my knowledge.) Somewhere between the condiments aisle and the paper goods, I decided I was in the mood for mac 'n cheese, my go to whenever I can't decide what I want for dinner. But rather than buy a box of Annie's or Velveeta & Shells, I decided to make mine from scratch using my favorite recipe from one of my church "moms", Mama Deb.
At my church, there are three families who have "adopted" me and one of my "moms," Mama Deb, makes the best mac 'n cheese in town. At any church potluck, her mac 'n cheese is the first to go. It's crazy good and takes only a little extra time than your standard blue box. The genius in this recipe is the use of condensed cheddar cheese soup. It makes for a great flavorful base and adds to the creaminess of the overall dish. I now regularly stock my pantry with this soup so that I can make this recipe anytime! It makes a full pan - but also reheats very nicely in the microwave!
So here we go:
Mama Deb's Mac 'N Cheese
- 1 can condensed cheddar cheese soup
- 1 can evaporated milk
- 1 pound (16oz) cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 egg
- 1 Tbsp dried minced onion
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 box cooked pasta (macaroni, shells, etc.)
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 3 Tbsp butter, melted
- OR 1 small, lunch-sized bag plain potato chips
Cook pasta al dente, according to package directions. Drain pasta and set aside. In the same pot you cooked the pasta, combine the cheddar cheese soup, evaporated milk, cheddar cheese and egg. Heat until the cheese is melted. Add dried onion, paprika, black pepper and cooked pasta. Transfer mixture into a greased 9x13 dish. Combine bread crumbs and melted butter and sprinkle over the top of the pasta. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until bread crumbs are golden brown.
Yields 8-10 servings
Note: To lighten up this recipe, you can use Campbell's Healthy Request Cheddar Cheese Soup, fat-free evaporated milk, use 2% cheese or half the amount of cheddar cheese (8oz) and omit the buttered bread crumbs/potato chip topping. It's still just as delicious!