Sunday, June 5, 2011

Awesome Mac & Cheese Casserole

This is one of my favorite recipes of all time, and that's not even hyperbole. It was one of the few I learned to make while I was still in high school - that means it's pretty easy. Its origin is from what looks to be "Cooking Light", although to me it's always been a page ripped out of some waiting room magazine. Wherever it comes from, it is some of the best cheese-laden pasta I've ever eaten.

Stuff you should obtain:

4 cups cooked macaroni (2 cups uncooked)
2 cups (8 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup cottage cheese
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons margarine, melted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
Cooking spray
1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon margarine, melted
1/4 teaspoon paprika

Notes about ingredients:
You can use whatever pasta you have laying around (if you're a pasta whore like me, you have quite a bit). I wouldn't recommend longer noodles like spaghetti, more like rotini or penne if you want to stray from macaroni - I used rotini. I also never really measure it, and I think if you use larger size pasta you'll want to add more than two cups. I ended up using roughly half a box of a pound of rotini.
Also, I just realized as I transcribed the ingredients that I've been using too much margarine for as long as I've been making this casserole - for real, who measures margarine in teaspoons, not tablespoons? So if you happen to add 1.5 tablespoons instead, don't worry, it won't screw up the recipe. Might make the end result a little watery, but nothing too horrible

What you should do:
1) Prep work!
Yes, I'm making this a separate step because if you're anything like me, you'll forget to do at least one and maybe more of these: grease your casserole pan with cooking spray, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and start the water to boil the pasta. Today I forgot to preheat the oven and proceeded to wait an excruciatingly long 10 minutes for the oven to heat up after I had finished everything else.

2) Add delicious ingredients!
Now you pretty much add everything on the list to the bowl of your choice. If you're really lazy and don't want to clean another dish, you can add it straight to the casserole dish and mix it there. (I don't judge laziness, this is what I did.) So add the cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream, milk, the 1.5 teaspoons margarine, salt, egg, and once it's done cooking, the pasta. Mix it well so that the cheese mixture coats the cooked pasta.

At this point it's probably looking a little like cheesy pasta covered slop. Don't worry, that's what it's supposed to look like.

Yes, this will cook into something delicious. Trust me.

3) Make the topping!
Now mix the 1 tablespoon of margarine, breadcrumbs and paprika and sprinkle the resulting crumbly mixture on top of the pasta.

4) Bake it!
Cover the casserole with tin foil and put in the 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

5) Take out and eat!
Dig in to the best mac and cheese casserole ever!

Yes, I did already eat a slice out of it before this picture. I couldn't help myself.

Leftover Capability:
If I manage to have decent portions, I'll probably have two more meals out of this. That being said, it will probably be like 1.5 meals because I always eat more than normal with this mac & cheese.

But What About My Money?:
Shredded Cheese (8 oz)$2.50
Cottage Cheese$2.15
Sour Cream$1.19
Milk (half-gallon)$1.07

Factoring the leftovers, this comes out to about $3.62 per meal. The best part about the money factor is that besides the shredded cheese, I didn't actually use all of anything that I had bought - so the cost to make comes out to considerably less, and I now don't have to run to the store for every small ingredient.

Final Grade: A+
I love this recipe. Period. End of story. Not only is it delicious, it's also easy to make. And it's pasta covered in lots of cheese - how can you go wrong?

1 comment:

  1. It was "Cooking Light" and it was actually a subscription, not a waiting room.