March Guest: Maria – Baked Macaroni & Cheese

My March guest crafter is Maria. Today she will be showing us how to make Baked Macaroni & Cheese Ala Mamma Maria.  When Maria shared this recipe with me I think I literally started to drool. I can’t wait to make it. I may even hide it from my family so I don’t have to share.

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Welcome to Once Upon A Craft Maria–

Hi everyone.  I started cooking at the age of 10 with my Daddy. He taught me the basics of what I know today. I have a 19 year old daughter who is also an amazing cook herself.  Both my daughter and I love experimenting in the kitchen with new and sometimes-unique items, seasonings etc. We have never had a bad meal yet!!! My daughter’s specialty is baking while I mainly do the cooking.   When I’m not experimenting in the kitchen, I run a small nail business and  hobby/business of photography.  I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did.

Ingredients:

  • Macaroni/Elbow Noodles
  • Butter
  • Milk
  • Bread Crumbs(for more crunch use Panko)
  • Shredded Sharp Cheese (option: you can use all the same type of cheese or mix and match flavors)
  • Slices of American Cheese

1. Precook your pasta al dente (cooked so as to be still firm when bitten) and rinse with cold water to prevent sticking while you are making your layers.

*Please make sure you precook the pasta to al dente before adding layers*

2. Add milk to the bottom of your baking pan enough to cover the bottom without any empty space showing.  Add a couple pats of butter or margarine.

3. Add a layer of al dente elbow pasta.

4. Add the shredded sharp cheddar cheese.
5. Add the slices of American cheese.

6. Layer the pasta and cheeses again until your pan is 1/2 full.
7.  Add the bread crumbs to the top of the slices of American cheese.
8. Add a couple pats of butter to the top of the bread crumbs along with a lil more milk.
9. Repeat steps 6-8 until your pan is full.
10. Finish with another layer of cheese, bread crumbs and butter.

11. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes – 1 hour depending on the type of pan you use.
12.  Remove cover for last 10 minutes to brown the top.

I love to experiment with all types of cheeses, I also love to blend ricotta and the milk it makes for a creamier mac & cheese.  If you want to really make a POP with your mac & cheese, add crumbled bacon bits and caramelized onions in the mix.  I have even topped it with a couple sprinkles of onion powder for a different and unique taste!! Don’t be afraid to experiment!

I hope you enjoy my recipe! ~Maria

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To see more recipes from Maria visit her at: Mamma Maria’s La Cucina or on her photography page at: Fotoz By Ree

Thanks for stopping by and keep on crafting!

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