Ok, so who didn’t grow up on macaroni and cheese? Everyone I know had this staple at their house, and we often made it if my sister or I had friends over because we all ate it and it was quick and easy. Of course, that was the prepackaged boxed mac and cheese.
There was always the debate of which was better between Velveeta and Kraft. Personally, I only like the Velveeta because I never wanted the taste of the Kraft cheese or the elbow noodles they had. I prefer the shell-shaped noodles. Although technically they are both Kraft brand, I always considered the blue box the Kraft stuff that I didn’t like.
Anyway, as I got older and started cooking more often, even the Velveeta cheese begun to taste fake to me. Don’t get me wrong, I will still chow down on some Velveeta cheese when it’s in something like my Chili Nacho Dip, but overall, I prefer the real stuff.
So when we wanted to try to make some macaroni and cheese for dinner, I decided we needed to try something a little different. We’ve been trying to cook with real foods and more nutritious foods than that fake cheese product. I scoured through a few recipes I found online and took the best ideas from each of them to make my own.
One common factor in so many of the recipes is to use the slow cooker, which of course I love because it makes dinner that much easier! For most of the recipes, the noodles didn’t even have to be cooked ahead of time, so it is literally just dumping everything in the slow cooker, turn it on, and you have dinner in a couple of hours!
Since most mac and cheese is made with elbow noodles, I did that to start with. Next time I may try to buy the mini shell noodles since I usually prefer those as I mentioned. But the elbow noodles still worked pretty well in this recipe.
This recipe couldn’t be more straightforward. Dump all of the ingredients into the slow cooker. I use noodles (whichever shape you prefer), milk, evaporated milk (to make it a little creamy), cream cheese (to get the right texture), cheddar cheese, salt and pepper, paprika, mustard (sounds strange but adds some tang), and butter.
Stir up the ingredients, then set the slow cooker to low for about 2 hours. You may want to check it in about 90 minutes as well. Mine took just over two hours. You want the cheese all to be melted and stirred together well and the noodles to be cooked to the consistency you like.
Once everything is warmed through, and noodles are cooked, stir gently and serve warm.
Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese
- 8 oz macaroni noodles (uncooked)
- 1 cup milk
- 12 oz evaporated milk
- 2 oz cream cheese
- 2 cups cheddar cheese
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp pepper
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp yellow mustard
- 4 tbsp butter
- Add all ingredients to a slow cooker and stir
- Cook on low for 90 minutes and check doneness of noodles
- If noodles aren't done, continue cooking for another 30 minutes
- Stir gently and serve warm garnished with paprika