It’s So Cheesy

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When the guest list for my son’s annual 4th of July party started to grow quite large, I gently suggested that potluck might be nice. It’s entertaining to see what a bunch of young people in their twenties think of as a potluck contribution. This potluck included a nice pasta salad, several kinds of cookies, chips, and a lot of beer. We supplied the hot dogs (90! All gone!) plus watermelon, and a few sides thrown in. Everyone had a blast! There was one very happy surprise from the potluck crowd when Daryl arrived with his Famous Mac n Cheese. Now I know Daryl can cook, but as a recent college graduate busy working with troubled teens, I never expected him to show up with two casseroles full of the prettiest Mac n Cheese you’ve ever seen. As we all know, beauty is only skin deep, but this crunchy on the top, creamy in the middle Mac n Cheese proved to be the whole package. It disappeared so quickly that my son never got a taste, and so I did what any thoughtful mother would do and demanded the recipe immediately. Bless Daryl’s heart – he was happy to share!

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I do love our traditional Mac n Cheese that starts with a cream sauce and includes several cheeses, so when Daryl told me his dish contained two cans of soup I was pretty floored. Like so many people who love to cook and eat, I’ve tried to steer away from processed foods a bit.  But taste wins in the end, so I made sure to get this recipe right down to the traditional elbow pasta. I forgot to ask, but I’m betting this is an old family recipe, since Daryl recited it like he’d been making it since he was a toddler. When I asked, ”You just cook a box of macaroni, right?” He said, “No, I cook 2 ½ cups.” That’s pretty exact. Of course I couldn’t wait another day to make it myself, substituting – with Daryl’s permission – sharp cheddar for mild and adding - at Richard’s insistence - a couple of drops of hot sauce.

Here’s the funny part, I didn’t even know that canned cheddar cheese soup was a thing. My cabinet contains mushroom soup for casseroles that must have it, and chicken noodle soup for those under the weather days when no one will make it for you. I hope three makes a good company, because cheddar cheese soup will be joining the soup collection. I’ll still cook my creamy concoction with a beautiful homemade sauce and all that lovely cheese, but when I need Mac n Cheese for a crowd, in a hurry, or for easy comfort food, I’ll be thanking my lucky stars that Daryl brought his Famous Mac n Cheese to the party!

Daryl’s Famous Mac n Cheese

Ingredients

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2 ½ cups dry macaroni, cooked according to package directions

½ cup (1 stick) butter, cut in pieces

2 cans cheddar cheese soup

¾ cups milk

1 egg, beaten

4 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated (original recipe calls for mild – could do a mix)

Optional – a few drops of hot sauce

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Spray a 9 x 13 or 3 quarts casserole with cooking spray.

Mix hot macaroni with butter until butter is melted.

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Stir in soup, milk, egg, and 2 cups of cheese.  (hot sauce if desired)

Pour in prepared casserole dish and top with remaining 2 cups of cheese.

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Bake 35 to 40 minutes until top is browned and filling is bubbly.

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It was a great 4th of July!


© Deer One Publishing 2017