Creamy Mac’n’Cheese

Hello again, internet. After a busy week, I was able to escape to the mountains of southwest Virginia with Jeff for some  hiking and camping. The weather right now is absolutely perfect for it– we are in the two to three week time span when the nights are cool enough that snuggling up in a sleeping bag is the most comfortable you can get, and the days just warm enough to wear a long sleeved shirt and shorts and not have to worry about breaking a sweat. Not to mention, my favorite part, bugs have not yet emerged from their winter daze.

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Climbing to the top of a mountain worked up quite the appetite… but when the fatigue started to set in on the way home, I wasn’t really 100% in the mood to spend a huge amount of time cooking a feast (rare, but it does happen). The obvious and delicious solution to this problem was to make some quick and easy macaroni and cheese. So I did just that. I will always hold a very special place in my heart for the little blue box, but there is something to be said for a pasta with cheese that doesn’t come from a powder. My mom found this recipe years ago in a cookbook put together by a church at Topsail Beach, NC. I think we can all agree that southern churches are a goldmine for buttery, artery clogging deliciousness. Remember, everything in moderation, kids.

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Ingredients
1 box of large macaroni shells
1 small block of Velveeta cheese (I found it in the chilled aisle with regular cheese)
1 stick butter
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp or extra sharp cheddar cheese
1 can Campbell’s cheese soup
1 to 2 cups whipping cream.

Recipe
This recipe is just as easy as the ingredients list makes it out to be. With everything on hand, you can complete the entire recipe in about 15 minutes, and make enough Mac’n’Cheese to last for a week (disclaimer: may not be true for boys).

There are really only three steps to this recipe– cooking the pasta, melting/heating the other ingredients, and combining the two. Tonight, I chose to microwave the ingredients, but for a gourmet-looking dish, you can also layer the cooked pasta with the other ingredients and bake at 350 F for 40 minutes. Also, if you’re planning to make this for guests, you can microwave the ingredients ahead of time and throw them in the slow cooker on low to keep them warm until you’re ready to eat!

1. Boil a large pot of water, add macaroni shells. Boil for directed time (mine was 14-15 minutes).

2. In a large microwavable bowl, melt Velveeta, butter, shredded cheese, and cheese soup. I microwaved for about 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Remove bowl from microwave, add whipping cream until you reach the desired consistency.

4. Drain shells, add to cheese.

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Whenever I’m in the mood for some mac, it’s very easy to throw this together. Tonight I had it with a grilled hot dog (another one of my ‘in moderation’ favorites), but it can be also eaten alongside burgers, chicken, or even as the main dish!!

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