25 February, 2009

last night's dinner: Baked macaroni and cheese

Like every good American macaroni and cheese is one of my favorite meals. My mom's baked macaroni and cheese was one of our semi-regular dinners growing up. I also loved boxed macaroni and cheese with tuna and peas. My dad's neighbor growing up was a guy named Gus and there are many a story about him. One summer he convinced my dad to do construction work with him in 29 Palms, California. They worked in the desert building some kind of concrete drainage system in 100+ degree temperatures. This generally involved waking up absurdly early to get as much work done before it got too hot and then resting in the afternoon. Every night Gus would want to have macaroni and cheese with tuna and peas for dinner and my dad passed that along to me. Now that I'm a vegetarian I only eat boxed macaroni with peas which just isn't the same. I generally save that as a last resort meal for when I've run out of groceries. This is my mom's recipe for baked macaroni and cheese.

1 to 1 1/2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
1/4 cup butter
1/2 small onion, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 cup flout
2 cups milk
8 oz processed cheese (Velveeta or something similar)
1 cup grated cheddar

Cook macaroni according to package directions.
Cook and stir butter, onion, salt, and pepper over medium heat until onion is tender.
Blend in flour. Cook over low heat stirring constantly until mixture is smooth and bubbly; remove from heat.
Stir in milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly.
Boil and stir 1 min.; remove from heat.
Stir in cheese until melted.

Place macaroni in ungreased casserole dish. Stir cheese sauce into mac.
Cook uncovered in 375 degree oven 30 min or until golden on top

Note: For best results, use colored macaroni noodles. That's what my mom used to use and I swear it makes it taste better. Also, the "last night's dinner" series is not really what I had for dinner the previous night. I actually made this last week but I'm just now getting around to writing about it.

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