This recipe was spoken to me by my grandmother. Since she is not with us anymore, I asked my mother for permission to share and she said that it was alright to share our family recipe. This was one of my favorite meals to eat growing up and now that I can make it for myself, it is even more special. I hope you enjoy it just as much as my family has!
Step 1: Pre-heat Oven to 350
Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. You want to do this first because your oven takes time to get to temperature. By the time you are done prepping the ingredients your oven should be ready to go. Make sure that there is nothing in your oven when you pre heat it.
Step 2: Gather Ingredients and Instruments
8 cups of water
2 and ½ cups of elbow noodles
1 lb. block of cheddar cheese
2 and ½ cups milk
Salt and pepper
Nonstick cooking spray
Large pot for boiling noodles
1-quart glass baking bowl or
9x9 glass baking dish
You can use any brand of cheddar cheese that you like and for the milk I recommend 2% or 1% milk for a higher fat content. I would not reccomend other milks like almond milk for this recipe. The nonstick cooking spray can also be substituted for butter. I did not put a measurement for the salt and pepper because those are based on your taste. I like mine saltier and other prefer more pepper, it is up to you.
Step 3: Cook Noodles
Put water into large cooking pot and bring to boil at a high heat, when at a rolling boil add a sprinkle of salt to the water, add noodles and stir so they don’t stick. Turn heat down to medium- high. Cook noodles for about 7 minutes to where they are just before al dente which means they are still a little bit hard but are mostly cooked. I like to do this since the noodles will keep cooking in the milk when they are in the oven. Stir the noodles often so they don’t stick together. NOTE: it is essential not to over cook the noodles in this step. If the noodles are past al-dente plus the time they cook in the milk when it is in the oven will cause the noodles to become mushy and break apart, that is just not appetizing! So, please pay attention to your noodles.
Step 4: Cut Cheese
While noodles are cooking cut the cheese to about a ¼ inch thick, make sure to cut enough to make two layers in your pan.
Step 5: Drain Noodles
Pour noodles into colander and stir to drain all the water. Hold the noodles in the colander until you are ready to use them.
Step 6: Spray Bowl With Nonstick Spray
Spray your cooking bowl with the nonstick spray. Make sure to coat entire bowl.
Step 7: Assembly
Once everything is ready and prepared, begin with filling your pan about halfway full of the noodles, then sprinkle a decent coating of salt and pepper, add a layer of your cut cheese and repeat for the top layer. For the top layer try to cover all of the noodles with the cheese so that the noodles don't cook and get hard. The cheese will become a protective layer for the noodles and brown as it cooks to create a crispy top layer.
Step 8: Add Milk
Fill your bowl with 2 and ½ cups of milk or until you can see the milk on the edge. You want there to be enough milk in the container so that the noodles don’t get dry. They will soak up the milk and that is why the noodles shouldn’t be cooked all the way.
Step 9: Bake for 30 Minutes
Put into oven for 30 minutes. If you have a lid like my bowl, I like to take the lid off at the 20-minute mark to brown the top layer of cheese. If you have no lid just check on it until the top layer of cheese is browned.
Step 10: Serve
Let cool for 10 minutes and serve! You can add anything else to pair with this dish if you would like. My family likes to add peas to our mac n cheese.