I am a macaroni and cheese lover through and through. I loved it when I was a kid, and I appreciate it and all of its varieties even more so now. I love trying new recipes at home (see all of my mac and cheese recipes here), and I can’t seem to resist it on a menu when I go out to eat, either (my very favorite was this short rib variation I had last year).
I was undecided about what to make for the 4th of July last week, when my sister suggested crock-pot dishes. Genius! I immediately thought of our favorite beer and brown sugar kielbasa and sauerkraut, but knew not everyone might what kielbasa. My sister mentioned that she had seen a lot of crock-pot macaroni and cheese recipes on Pinterest lately, and it took approximately one second for me to be on board with that idea.
I searched Pinterest and Google and found umpteen recipes for macaroni and cheese made in the slow cooker. I started to narrow down my search by omitting any that called for eggs (supposedly makes it creamy, but tons of reviews reported curdled mixtures) and condensed cheese soup (just, no). Then, I found this recipe and I thought it sounded perfect. I normally don’t use the processed cheese loaf, but decided that the 4th of July was a special occasion. Good decision on my part, if I do say so myself. I haven’t experimented with replacing it with another type of cheese, but I assume it might be less creamy.
This macaroni and cheese may have been the biggest hit of the day. My mom declares herself not much of a macaroni and cheese fan, but said this one changed her mind. My father-in-law and cousin are both macaroni and cheese aficionados and they both went back for seconds (shhhh, I think I saw some thirds!).
I loved having a mostly from-scratch macaroni and cheese without having to stand over the stove, make a white sauce, stir in cheese, etc. As great as from-scratch mac and cheese is, it’s not the most conducive meal for feeding a crowd unless you pop it in the oven and then keep it warm. I adore slow cooker meals and love that I have a meatless go-to option now!
One year ago: Banana Snack Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Two years ago: Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream Topping and Homemade Pineapple Ice Cream Topping
Four years ago: S’mores Whoopie Pies
Five years ago: Bananas Foster Banana Bread
Six years ago: Homemade Bagels
Slow Cooker Macaroni and Cheese
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 to 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Quite possibly the easiest macaroni and cheese you'll ever make!
12 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni
4 tablespoons butter, cut into cubes
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
1½ cups half & half
3 cups (12 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
8 ounces Velveeta cheese, cut into cubes
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1. Spray 3½ to 4-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Cook the pasta to al dente and drain. Place the macaroni in the slow cooker, immediately add the butter and stir until melted.
2. Add the evaporated milk, half & half, 2½ cups of the cheddar cheese, the Velveeta, salt and pepper; stir to blend well.
3. Cover and cook on low for 2 to 3 hours (if you have a larger slow cooker, decrease the cooking time). During the last 15 minutes of cooking, sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup of cheddar cheese. Once done, turn the slow cooker setting to warm until ready to serve. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
(Recipe adapted from Pillsbury)