Your money: $15-$20
Mike's favorite food is macaroni and cheese so I have made a few versions to test his palette. This one came from his Mom and it's his favorite, and mine too. I guess nothing's better than Mom's cooking! It's creamy, but it has some bite to it. If you're willing to buy good cheese, you can't mess this one up. I don't think you need a picture, we all know what mac and cheese looks like, right?
One stick unsalted butter (8 tbs)
4 slices of white bread crusts, removed torn into 1/4 to1/2 pieces
5 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup flour
2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or more for a kick)
4 1/2 cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese.
2 cups Gruyere cheese
1 lb. elbow macaroni
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 3 quart casserole dish; set aside.
Place the bread pieces in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan melt 2T butter and pour over bread. Toss and set aside.
Warm mild in medium saucepan set over med. heat. melt the remaining 6 T butter in a high sided skillet over medium heat. When the butter bubbles, add the flour. Cook, stirring 1 min.
While whisking slowly, add hot milk a little at a time to keep mixture smooth.
Continue cooking, whisking constantly until the mixtures bubbles and becomes thick, 8 to 12 min.
Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg. both peppers, 3 C Cheddar cheese, 1 1/2 C Gruyere. Set cheese sauce aside.
Cover large pot of salted water and bring to boil. Cook Macaroni until outside is done and inside is undone. Transfer to colander, rinse under cold running water and drain well.
Pour mixture into casserole. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bread crumbs over the top. Bake for 30 mins or until golden brown on top. Place on rack and let sit for 5 minutes.