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Homemade Mac 'n Three Cheeses (Updated)

Recipe and photography by Bev Davis.

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Posted March 25, 2017

Editor's Note (January 30, 2018):  Photos updated.  Added helpful cooking notes below recipe.

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Creamy with crusty bites of deliciousness. After many years of making mac 'n cheese with just sharp hoop cheddar cheese,

I felt inspired to add Monterey Jack and mozzarella cheese.  Divine deliciousness!  I prefer to shred blocks of cheese because they flavor i taste good.  Shredded and grated cheeses have a special coating to prevent caking.   The extra effort required to shred blocks of cheese is worth it because they taste better.  This is my opinion.  I agree to disagree with a different perspective.


I'll never use whole milk in mac and cheese again.  Allow me to explain.  Back in 2006 or 2007, a convo with a church member (I didn't know) in the parking lot as we waited for traffic to subside,  provided a nugget of info that dramatically improved this cheesy dish!   We talked about Sunday dinner. She asked if I ever used buttermilk to make macaroni and cheese.  I said no.  The friendly sister was right when she said after I try it, I'll never use whole milk again.  I've never seen her before or after that day.  An angel?  I like to think so!  Baked this recipe in a favorite cast iron pan made by Lodge Manufacturing.  Makes one 10" skillet of homemade mac 'n three cheeses.  Enjoy!

I like to purchase wedges of black rind hoop cheddar cheese to use in various recipes.  The blocks are easily shredded on a grater (large holes) or chopped with a knife.  Some grocery stores keep this cheese in the dairy section.  While others keep in the meat section.   If you can't find it, ask an employee for assistance.


INGREDIENTS
3 cups (8 ounce box) cooked elbow macaroni

1-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1-1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese  

1-1/2 cups shredded medium cheddar cheese OR

          black rind hoop cheddar cheese*
salt and ground black pepper to taste

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon paprika
1-3/4 cups whole buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons unsalted butter with sweet cream, melted

 (plus extra to grease skillet)


INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Prepare elbow macaroni according to instructions on package.  Cook only until al dente (firm).  Stir constantly.  It will cook more in the oven. Drain and cool completely.  Shred cheeses and set aside.  Generously 

butter a 10" cast iron skillet or baking dish.  Fill with cooled macaroni.  Season with salt and ground black pepper as preferred. Add garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika.  Stir together.  Top with shredded mozzarella cheese, Monterey Jack, and cheddar cheese.  Set aside. 


In medium-sized bowl, combine buttermilk, beaten eggs, and

2 tablespoons melted butter.  St. Drizzle over mixture in skillet.  Gently combine.  Cover with foil.  Bake 15-20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.  Remove from oven.  Remove foil.  Place under broiler until cheese is brown and bubbly.  Serve hot. 


COOKING NOTES*

The 'hoop' refers to the shaping molds used in the process of making cheese.   Made in wedges or large twenty-pound wheels, and covered in a red or black rind. Red rind is a mild cheese. Black rind is sharp.  Medium cheddar cheese OR black rind hoop cheese will work in this recipe.


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