I think few foods are as comforting to the soul as homemade macaroni and cheese. The creamy-ness of the sauce, the hearty and filling pasta, the way that it makes you feel a bit like a kid again when you dig into that first forkful. The macaroni and cheese recipe that is our family favorite includes a white sauce base, a little bit of heavy cream and a nice sprinkling of a Ritz cracker-cheddar cheese crumble on top. So in case you are still feeding your kids that bright orange stuff out of a box… let me show you how we “do” macaroni and cheese at the Rowley house!
Homemade Macaroni and Cheese Casserole
Now keep in mind that I make enough to serve my family of 8, so you might want to adjust this recipe accordingly!
Your macaroni can be made ahead of time according to the package directions, and then rinsed, drained and cooled. You can use either traditional elbows shapes, butterfly pasta, or whatever shape your kids love best. At our house we prefer penne, and if you've ever had Outback Steakhouse's Mac A'Roo- you'll understand why your kids have fallen in love with penne shaped macaroni and cheese! We use 1 1/2 boxes of penne.
The White Sauce Base
*otherwise known as “the roux”1 1/2 Tablespoons of Country Crock 1 1/2 Tablespoons of flour 1/4 teaspoon of salt 1/8 teaspoon of pepper 1 1/2 cups of milk (I use generally use skim milk)
To make the white sauce, melt the Country Crock in a sauce pan over low heat. Blend in the flour and seasonings. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is smooth, bubbly and aromatic. Stir in the milk slowly, carefully blending your white sauce base with the milk. Continue stirring while you bring it to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Assembling the Casserole1 cup of cubed Velveeta cheese 1/2 cup of cream Cooked Penne White Sauce
Return half of the the macaroni to the pot you originally prepared it in, and layer 1/2 cup of Velveeta and half of the white sauce. Repeat the layering with the remaining macaroni, Velveeta, and white sauce. Cook over low heat and stir constantly until the cheese and white sauce has melted into creamy delicious. Then add the 1/2 cup of heavy cream and stir. Pour your cheesy macaroni mixture into your casserole dish. And try not to steal too many bites yet… it's only going to get better!
Ritz-Cheddar Topping1/2 sleeve of Ritz crackers, crushed 2 tablespoons of Country Crock 1/4 cup of shredded cheddar
Melt the Country Crock in the microwave and add the crushed Ritz crackers and the 1/4 cup of cheddar cheese. Stir together until it forms into a crumbly mixture. Sprinkle on top of your macaroni and cheese casserole.
Bake in a preheated 400° oven for 20 minutes.
What's really great about this dish is that it can be prepared and assembled ahead of time and then stored in the fridge. Then just pop it into the preheated oven 20 minutes before dinner.
t makes it a perfect go-to recipe on a night when I'm driving kids back and forth to add to and from soccer practice
Do you have a favorite casserole dish that you create with Country Crock? If so, why not submit a photo of your casserole for the Country Crock Stars contest? Share a photo of your favorite casserole, and tell them in 100 words how you demonstrate creativity and resourcefulness in the kitchen. 3 finalists will win $5,000 and a trip for two to New York City- and 12 semi-finalists will win cookware!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.