Two Pounds of Best Quality Cheddar

The title says a lot here, especially in this day and age of eating healthy, not too much fat/carbs/sugars, or whatever people are avoiding right now. I am as much a victim of this behavior as anyone. Just ask A & R who are subjected to my ever-changing food beliefs every lunchtime (at one point, I went so far as to only eat leafy greens, nuts and herbal tea for a week...ah, but I digress).
So, there is not much of an opportunity to feel okay making a dish that calls for "two pounds of best quality cheddar" (BTW, "Best Quality" is another Gran-Franism, that ranks almost as high as non-reactive pan in her lexicon). There is really only one event that continues to allow me to make this dish: Childbirth.
What new parent could refuse a huge batch of Best Quality Mac and Cheese? I certainly couldn't when two of my sisters made enough to fill my freezer when little Iz was born. The joy of pulling out a nicely wrapped (in waxed paper then in aluminum foil, ala Gran Fran) chunk, throwing it in the oven at 375 degrees to reheat and waiting for the cheesy goodness to be ready, cannot be described.

The biggest bonus to new motherhood is that there is a small window where you are licensed to eat just about whatever you want.  So I ate with abandon, my lovely gift from my sisters. Since I can no longer eat with abandon (read: cholesterol, age), I have found a very receptive group who do appreciate the greatness that is Gran Fran's Best Quality Cheddar Mac and Cheese: new parents in our friends and family circle.

Ah, let the cheesy goodness prevail!

Gran Fran's Best Quality Cheddar Mac and Cheese Serves 6 (4 if you want to eat huge portions like a maniac!)

One Large Non-Reactive Stockpot (nonstick if you have it) One Large Baking Dish (I usually use a 9x12" Pyrex)


  • 1 pound  Elbow Macaroni, cooked and drained
  • 3 Tbs Butter
  • 3 Tbs Flour
  • 3 Cups Milk
  • 1 and 1/2 pounds Best Quality Cheddar, crumbled or shredded (preferably white, it just looks better!)
  • 1 Tsp. Dry Mustard
  • 1 Tsp. Cayenne (you can add more it you like it spicier)
  • 1/4 cup Bread Crumbs (may need a little more or less here, it's to cover the top)
  • Butter for the top, and for greasing the pan

Method: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

  • Make a roux (which is just the butter and flour mixed together over medium heat in the stockpot, until it turns brown).
  • When roux has browned, add the milk. Stir well over high heat for 1 minute, then reduce the heat.
  • Add the dry spices.
  • Simmer 10 minutes on low, stirring occasionally.
  • Add crumbled or shredded cheese. Stir until melted
  • Add cooked/drained macaroni. Stir until well coated.
  • Butter the baking dish well. Pour in the mixture of Mac and Cheese from the stockpot into the baking dish.
  • Sprinkle bread crumbs over the top, and butter in small pieces as well.
  • Bake at 375 degrees on top of a baking sheet for 35 to 40 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling up at the sides.