This is my very first MAN-ic Mondays post, and I couldn’t think of a single dish more MAN FOOD appropriate than Stove Top Mac N Cheese! I mean really, is there a man out there (big OR small) who doesn’t love Mac N Cheese?
So my friends, there are times when I don’t mind standing over the stove with one pot boiling the pasta and one pot for whisking up a white sauce, while the oven preheats and I grease a casserole dish for the final Mac N Cheese.
BUT, there are many more times when just the thought of creating all those dirty dishes in order to make a creamy, cheesy dish for my husband (and maybe a wee little bit for myself) makes me want to throw up my hands and cry just a little bit. Are you feeling me? Huh? Huh?
That’s why I invented this one pot, 20 minute, make-you-drool Mac N Cheese! It’s got all the cheddar cheese you love, along with brown crusty bits just as if you baked it in the oven. Oh my, now I’ve got myself drooling again….sheesh.
So here’s the quick and dirty, ready? Mac N Cheese in a few minutes with even fewer words!
See that Velveeta Cheese right there in the pic? Uh huh, I learned that, in order to keep stovetop Mac N Cheese creamy and melty, you have to borrow from your southern sisters and add a dab or two to the pot! The rest of the ingredients are exactly the same as a baked Mac N Cheese.
The first thing you do is get a big pot of water boiling, then toss in your pasta, in this case it was elbow macaroni, but feel free to get creative! While the pasta is cooking, slice up your cheddar and velveeta cheeses. Notice how littel actual velveeta cheese goes into this dish – just a smidge for texture, not enough to taste it.
Boil that pasta for exactly 6 minutes, then drain it, making sure to reserve 1 cup of the pasta water for later on. Turn off the heat, then toss the pasta back into the pot and cover it with dabs of butter. Stir them in till they’re all melted and then it’s on to the next step. (See? I told you this was easy!)
Sift the flour right on top of the butter coated pasta, then stir it all in! Next, grab the mustard, salt and pepper:
These are some of my favorite kitchen helpers. They're Dang Good and I love 'em!
At this point, you’re about 8 minutes into the cook and still haven’t broken a sweat. Be sure to stir the spices in before the next step…cuz you don’t want clumpy bits of mustard running around in there.
Now add the milk and the cup of reserved pasta water into the pot. You’ll want to add enough liquid so that you it’s about an inch below the top of the pasta. A lot of it will be absorbed by the pasta during the next step, so don’t be shy!
Next plop the velveeta on top of the pasta and then turn the heat on and stir till the milk comes to a boil and the cheese melts.
TONI”S NOTE: See how much milk is in there? That’s how you want it – trust me!
Once the velveeta is all melted and mixed in, toss in the cheddar and stir some more. You’re now about 10 minutes into making this Mac N Cheese! If you’re lazy like me, leave the heat on medium high and walk away to fix a salad while the cheese melts, then come back and stir it and feel like you’re a multi-tasking cooking god. 😀
Here’s how it looks when you come back from tossing a salad. Yum, all creamy and cheesy and gooey! The last step is to just turn the heat up to high and let the pot sit undisturbed for 3 minutes to let the bottom get VERY brown and crispy. If you don’t have a large non-stick pot you might have to give in and grab your biggest non-stick frying pan to brown the Mac N Cheese. If that’s the route you take, only scoop about half of the total mixture into a screaming hot skillet. Leave the rest to bubble away on medium heat in the big pot. Yeah, it means that you’ll have two pans to clean after dinner, which sucks, so do like I did, hit the tag sales till you find a cheap, high quality non-stick hugenormous pot!!
So now it’s a total of 20 minutes since you put the pot of salty water on to boil, and the Mac N Cheese is ready to serve. Be sure to stir it well just before serving so that you mix in the brown bits from the bottom. I like to stir them straight up to the top so that they can show off their bad selves to my family.
No that is NOT bacon, that’s brown bits of cheddar cheese. Don’t believe me? Welp, go make the recipe and find out for yourself. You’ll be glad you did….honest!
- 1 lb. Elbow Macaroni - or other styles
- 4 tbsp. Butter
- 1 tbsp. Mustard - any type is fine
- 1 tsp. Salt
- ½ tsp. Pepper
- ¼ Cup Flour
- ⅓ lb. Velveeta Cheese (1/3 of the 1 pound box)
- 1 lb. Sharp Cheddar Cheese
- 2 - 2½ Cups Milk
- 1 Cup Reserved Pasta Water
- Fill a large non-stick pot with hot water, add 1 tablespoon of salt, then put the lid on and bring to a full boil over high heat. When water is boiling hard, add the macaroni and stir well till it comes back to a boil. Cook pasta for 6 minutes - leaving the lid off.
- While the pasta is cooking, slice the Velveeta and Cheddar cheeses. Slices should be fairly thin, but don't stress over it.
- After 6 minutes, scoop out 1 cup of the Pasta Water and set aside, then drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Be sure that the heat is turned off!
- Next, slice the butter into about 5 pieces and drop them into the pasta, then stir till completely melted. Now sprinkle the flour over the top of the pasta, then stir well. Add the mustard, salt and pepper to the pot and stir once more to mix in.
- Pour in the milk and reserved pasta water. The level of milk in the pot should be about 1 inch below the level of the pasta. The pasta will absorb much of the liquid as you continue cooking.
- Turn the heat on to high and continue stirring till the milk comes to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium-high and add the velveeta cheese. Stir till melted.
- Now add the cheddar cheese and stir it while it melts into the sauce.
- Once the cheddar cheese has melted, turn the heat to high and stop stirring. Let the mac N cheese boil on high heat for at least 3 minutes so that the cheese on the bottom of the pot gets brown and crunchy - just like the top of Baked Mac N Cheese!