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Old 10-29-2014, 03:17 AM   #1
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Need help making mac and cheese.....

So my mom used to make really good mac and cheese, and I kind of want to make it myself but don't know how. I have literally zero experience cooking, so I wouldn't know where to start. I want it exactly like she used to make it so I'll do my best to describe what it was like....

It was fairly plain, but it was so good. It looked kind of like this on top:


It wasn't anything like kraft dinner's mac and cheese, it was a casserole and it wasn't very saucy/creamy/runny/liquidish

Hot out of the oven it was more like gooey (the semi-molten cheese was stringy and holding the macaroni together) and greasy from the cheese. Texture was always perfectly chewy.

After being in the fridge for a while (I liked it best microwaved after having gone completely cold in the fridge), you could literally stick a big fork in the middle of the casserole, pull it out of the dish in one peice and suspend it on the fork forever without anything falling from it. So when refridgerated, it would become one big solid chunk. It would be chewy in a more rubbery way.

What I would do is when I wanted some I would cut it up into cubes that pop right into the mouth and microwave them until they were nice and warm without them turning gooey and falling apart. It was the best thing, I used to shovel those cubes into my mouth so fast that my chewing was in competition with my breathing haha.

So if you guys could share your insight, I would to try to recreate this. I've got no idea how this type of casserole is made. I guess you cook the macaroni first but then I don't know what was used other than the macaroni and sliced cheese. I seem to remember milk being used somehow, maybe also butter or eggs? Like I said it was fairly plain, no bread crumbs or other spices or anything, just gooey greasy cheesy goodness.

Feel free to ask any questions about texture or flavour, however I can help you help me =)



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Old 10-29-2014, 06:00 AM   #2
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First welcome to DC. I can promise you are going to get more information for mac and cheese than you thought possible.

I think just about everyone here will agree that you have to start with a béchamel sauce or a lot of milk to melt the cheese in. The macaroni is cooked separately, then the sauce is added and you can choose to place it in a casserole and bake it or not.

And nothing in this world is like Kraft mac and cheese.

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Old 10-29-2014, 07:05 AM   #3
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Here is a lively thread about Mac & Cheese, have a look while you are waiting for some responses. Also try the search function, mac & cheese has been a popular subject over the years.

Paula Deen Mac And Cheese

If the Mac & Cheese of your memories was firm enough to cut into squares when it was cold it could have had a couple of raw eggs added to the milk so that when it baked it formed a custard.
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Old 10-29-2014, 07:32 AM   #4
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Your mom may have used Velveeta or something like it, possibly also some sliced/layered cheese besides what was stirred into the béchamel since you noted it was stringy. I only say this because you mentioned "sliced" cheese and "greasy" and "rubbery" in your post and I know a lot of folks use processed cheese in their mac-n-cheese. A Velveeta like cheese would also tend to be firmer and hold together like what you mentioned when cold. Just a thought.

When we make mac-n-cheese, it's almost always a combo of whatever little bits of cheese that didn't get used from another recipe and were thrown in a bag in the freezer. We've had some absolutely sublime mac-n-cheeses that we'll never be able to duplicate again since nothing ever gets measured ranging to okay ones.
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Old 10-29-2014, 10:31 AM   #5
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I am more for a gooey center with a crispy top and bottom.
I guess it would hold together cold, but would not hot..

Chief had a recipe for the cheese sauce that used no flour. Just cream and milk. I want to try making it this way.
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Old 10-29-2014, 12:33 PM   #6
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When I Google Chrome searched that photo you linked,
there are several recipes that come up "looking like that"
When you say "greasy", that's usually a lesser quality cheese
being used.
Depending upon your age, your Mom probably used
Velveeta cheese product and a store brand shredded cheddar,
probably an egg or two, as mentioned by Aunt Bea.
But Velveeta does have that way of solidifying when put in the the `fridge.
There are many different baked mac & cheese recipes from back in the day
that sound very similar.
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Old 10-29-2014, 05:47 PM   #7
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Thanks for the help guys =)

No bechamel or Velveeta, never heard of either of those haha. It's always been a generic .5" x 4" x 10" block of cheddar cheese; cracker marble or some other generic brand. So 100% it was always processed cheese, and I'm sure you guys are right about the milk.

If the Mac & Cheese of your memories was firm enough to cut into squares when it was cold it could have had a couple of raw eggs added to the milk so that when it baked it formed a custard. Today 06:00 AM
Yea that sounds about right. Not only was it firm enough when it was cold, but just being out of the oven for a while and nearing room temperature it was pretty much a solid chunk of mac and cheese haha.

I think I remember her adding layers of sliced cheese like medtran49 mentioned. That's how she got it to look like the picture I linked.

So I guess the list so far is simply:
elbow macaroni
table salt to boil the macaroni
block of cheddar

So I would boil the macaroni, then mix it up with some amount of milk and molten cheese (would I completely melt it in the microwave or?). Then put it in the casserole dish with 2 or 3 layers of solid slices of cheese and let it bake.

Anything obvious I might be missing here? Or do you think I should go ahead and try this out?

Most recipes say bake at 350 for about a half an hour, I guess it depends on the size of the casserole as well?

As far as amount of each ingredient...feel free to share good ratios, I'll try to look up some recipes online and get a good average. I guess perfecting everything will just come down to experimenting and personal preference.

I'm going to have to buy a pot and casserole dish; how/what would you use to melt the cheese?
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Old 10-29-2014, 05:59 PM   #8
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Sounds like you are working way too hard....

Try this one. No-Boil Mac and Cheese

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Old 10-29-2014, 08:24 PM   #9
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A mac'n cheese recipe that was used frequently in the era mentioned (and your description of your brick of cheese reminded me of it) was to grate about two pounds of USDA American cheese from big bricks that could be purchased very cheaply, and was used as an inexpensive meat substitute. The macaroni was pre-cooked and placed in a bowl. The shredded cheese, and a 1/4 cup of milk, and 1 stick of butter was added, and mixed in. The whole thing was placed in a casserole dish and heated until the cheese melted.

As your mac'n cheese is stringy, any medium to sharp, store brand cheddar would work. Mind you, cheese isn't inexpensive like it used to be. It runs around $4 per pound in my town. And you need about two lbs. of cheese. It will be stringy, cheesy, and greasy, just like you want.

Hope that helps.

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Old 10-29-2014, 08:34 PM   #10
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Instead of making a bechamel sauce, I like to use a can of cream of chicken soup to melt the cheese(s) in.


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