January 2, 2013

Crock Pot Mac & Cheese


This is NOT, I repeat, NOT that recipe we've all seen on Pinterest a hundred times. This is my original recipe that I have been making for about 5 years now. In fact, the teachers at my kid's school know that I am responsible for the mac & cheese at Thanksgiving and they start looking forward to it! Yes!! It's that good!!
Obviously, this is something I myself only eat on Cheat Day (sunday, when all Paleo Luv goes out the window). But it's great for holidays, or even to make at the beginning of the week and let your kids eat on it for a few days. I also love it because I can get it entirely prepped and stored in the fridge the day before I need it.
I don't feel guilty about it for them because I always use the Barilla Gold pasta. It has added protein, fiber, and Omega-3s.

See all the little awesome ridges! Makes a perfect pasta to hold the thick yummy cheese!

1 box Barilla Gold Elbows
12 oz Velveeta, cubed - do not trust your store brand here!
6 Tb real butter, unsalted, cubed
2 tsp kosher salt
black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 c whole or 2% milk
1 c heavy cream
2 tsp mustard
2 c shredded sharp cheddar

1. Boil water and cook your entire box of pasta. The box says 7-8 minutes. Don't cook any longer than 6 minutes. It will be al dente, but will finish cooking in the crock pot.
2. While pasta cooks, in a medium bowl, whisk together milk, cream, salt, pepper, & mustard.
3. When pasta is finished, drain immediately and add to the base of your crock pot.* (See below for make ahead directions)
4. Pour milk mixture over pasta. Toss in butter cubes, Velveeta cubes, and shredded cheese. Stir to combine.
5. Put lid on and set to Hi. Cooking on Hi will only take it 1 hour. Make sure you stir 2-3 times in that hour. at 45 minutes, you will think it will not be done, but something magical happens to the Velveeta at that 1 hour mark! Once that 1 hour mark hits and everything looks yummy & gooey, switch your pot over to the 'Warm' setting to serve.

Make Ahead Directions
Cook your pasta as above states. Store in a large ziploc baggie. Put all liquid ingredients, Velveeta, and butter in a storage container. Store all in fridge but remove from fridge 2 hours before you plan to cook it. This is a great dish to take to someone who just had a baby. I take it just like this, get out their crockpot and assemble at their house. Then there are no dishes for them to return to me.