Oftentimes, the best recipes are simple but with a twist. That’s a good way to describe my homemade macaroni and cheese. I have taken it to many potlucks and there is never any left. That’s how you know a recipe is a winner.
If you have been following me for any length of time you know that I am not inclined to measure or follow recipes very closely…unless I’m baking. But I’m going to do my best to estimate quantities and describe the process. One of these days I’m going to work on developing proper recipes for my favorite dishes which will make them easy to replicate. One of these days…
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- 12 ounce package of macaroni (I like these long noodles which I then break into half or thirds but any kind will do)
- 2 small onions or 1 medium, thinly sliced
- 1 stick real butter, divided
- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar (I use organic.)
- 16 oz. half and half
- 2 tablespoons of flour
- 16 ounces sharp cheddar cheese (or your favorite), grated
- salt, pepper, Tony’s Creole Seasoning (opt. but adds a lot of flavor; you could add a pinch of cayenne instead)
- Panko bread crumbs (I use this organic brand.)
Bring large pot of salted water to a boil and cook macaroni according to package directions. Remove from heat at al dente stage but leave in water until ready to assemble dish. Do not overcook, however.
Meanwhile, melt half stick of butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add thinly sliced onions and cook until lightly browned. Add brown sugar and cook another couple of minutes until caramelized. Remove from skillet and set aside.
In same skillet, add other half stick of butter, melt and then add flour. Stir continuously for a couple of minutes then add half and half. Continue to stir over medium heat until mixture begins to thicken. Add salt, pepper and Tony’s Creole Seasoning. Remove from heat, sprinkle half of the grated cheese into mixture and stir until melted. I taste it at this point to make sure it is well-seasoned.
Drain cooked macaroni and pour into greased 9×13 baking dish. Pour cheese sauce over and mix thoroughly. (If it seems a little dry you can pour more half and half, milk or cream over it.) Sprinkle with remaining grated cheese. Spread caramelized onions evenly over the top and sprinkle with Panko bread crumbs. I then sprinkle with black pepper but I’m kind of a pepper nut so that’s up to you.
Bake at 350 degrees until hot, bubbly and lightly browned on top…about 30 minutes. I like to serve it with a tossed green salad and a cooked green vegetable such as broccoli, green beans or peas. Homemade rolls would be a nice addition, as well.