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Thread: Looking for awesome make-ahead Macaroni and cheese.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2004

    Looking for awesome make-ahead Macaroni and cheese.

    I think for Christmas day we will have a ham and I want to serve a really yummy and decadent macaroni and cheese along with it. Please share your favorite recipe that can be made a few days in advance and then baked the day of Christmas.

  2. #2
    I am a fan of Martha Stewart's Mac and cheese. Very cheesy and decadent. I believe it is on her website and I have seen it someplace on this board too.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    This is a good one:

    Mac and Cheese
    Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa

    Kosher salt
    Vegetable oil
    1 pound elbow macaroni or cavatappi
    1 quart milk
    8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
    1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    12 ounces Gruyere, grated (4 cups)
    8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (2 cups)
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    3/4 pound fresh tomatoes (4 small)
    1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)
    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

    Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.

    Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large (4-quart) pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.

    Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the fresh bread crumbs, and sprinkle on the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    haley: I checked MS's website and there were a lot of really good look recipes. Thanks!!

    granola: Do you add the tomatoes when you make this recipe?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    North Texas
    This is our family's Christmas Day Macaroni and Cheese that my DH's mom (or me) make every year! You can easily make this ahead. This is the best mac and cheese by far that i've ever made!

    Steve’s Mom’s Macaroni & Cheese

    1 lb. of medium shells (or your preference of pasta shape)
    1 medium white onion grated on a box grater
    1 stick of butter or margarine
    1 lb. of Velveeta cheese, sliced thin
    8 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
    2 TB flour
    2-1/2 cups milk
    Salt and pepper
    3 slices sturdy white bread, grated

    Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. Cook pasta as directed on package.

    Melt butter over medium heat in saucepan and add the grated onion. Sauté for about 3 minutes. Add flour to onion mixture and stir well. Add milk and heat until hot (not boiling) stirring constantly. Add Velveeta cheese slice by slice allowing each piece to melt before adding the next, continually stirring (will take about 20 minutes). Add the shredded cheddar slowly and mix until melted, stirring constantly. Season with salt and pepper.

    Pour the prepared pasta into the baking dish, then pour cheese mixture over pasta and mix until combined. Top with the grated white bread. Bake in a 350 oven until bread crumbs are lightly toasted.
    Everyone needs to believe in something. I believe I'll have another beer. . .

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    I second the MS recipe:

    Macaroni and Cheese


    Recipe By: Martha Stewart
    Serving Size: 12

    8 tablespoons unsalted butter, (1 stick) plus more for dish
    6 slices good white bread, crusts removed, torn sm. pieces
    5 1/2 cups milk
    1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    2 teaspoons salt
    1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
    4 1/2 cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese, (about 18 ounces)
    2 cups grated GruyËre cheese, (about 8 ounces)
    22 oz. elbow macaroni

    Heat the oven to 375°. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish; set aside. Place bread in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Pour butter into the bowl with bread, and toss. Set bread crumbs aside.

    In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, heat milk. Melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter in a high-sided skillet over medium heat. When butter bubbles, add flour. Cook, whisking, 1 minute.

    While whisking, slowly pour in hot milk. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick.

    Remove pan from heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, 3 cups cheddar cheese, and 1 1/2 cups Gruyère or 1 cup Pecorino Romano; set cheese sauce aside.

    Fill a large saucepan with water; bring to a boil. Add macaroni; cook 2 to 3 minutes less than manufacturer's directions, until the outside of pasta is cooked and the inside is underdone. (Different brands of macaroni cook at different rates; be sure to read the instructions.) Transfer macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well. Stir macaroni into the reserved cheese sauce

    Pour mixture into prepared dish. Sprinkle remaining 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup Gruyère or 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano, and bread crumbs over top. Bake until browned on top, about 30 minutes. Transfer dish to a wire rack to cool 5 minutes; serve hot.

    Serves 12

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    San Francisco
    Huh. I once asked here about making macaroni and cheese in advance and the responses (granted, there were few) indicated it wasn't a great idea. So others do it? Here's the thread:
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    I love love love Fresh Every Day's mac and cheese and have made it ahead of time- it does beautifully!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Quote Originally Posted by Canice
    Huh. I once asked here about making macaroni and cheese in advance and the responses (granted, there were few) indicated it wasn't a great idea. So others do it? Here's the thread:
    I think it's a matter of personal taste. I think the respondants prefer a creamy m&c to a baked m&c. I prefer it when the pasta absorbs most of the sauce rather than coating it.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    San Francisco
    Well that's interesting! I think I've just picked up (yet more) valuable information from the BB.
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Southern California
    Thanks for posing this question. I was thinking of making mac and cheese ahead of time for Christmas dinner too. I had my eye on Tyler Florence's recipe, but these sound great. Let us know what you decide and what kind of results you get.

  12. #12
    I haven't tried any of the others posted, but I love CI's mac n cheese made with evaporated milk (they have several versions). It is rich, creamy and the sauce is silky smooth! Yum! I've posted it here before, but if you can't find the recipe, let me know and I'd be happy to post it again.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    San Francisco
    Yes, please!
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Southeast, MA
    This is the best (and Light!) Mac n Cheese I've made so far (From BryKate on this board). I've made in advance in the AM and baked in the PM, and it's great. Just add the bread crumb/butter mixture when you're ready to bake. So good!

    * Exported from MasterCook *

    Macaroni & Cheese

    Recipe By :
    Serving Size : 6 Preparation Time :0:20
    Categories : Pasta Entrees

    Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
    -------- ------------ --------------------------------
    4 cups cooked macaroni
    2 cups reduced fat cheddar cheese -- shredded
    1 cup lowfat cottage cheese
    3/4 cup nonfat sour cream
    1/2 cup skim milk
    2 tablespoons grated onion
    1 1/2 teaspoons reduced calorie stick margarine -- melted
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon pepper
    1 egg -- lightly beaten
    1/4 cup bread crumbs
    1 tablespoon reduced calorie stick margarine -- melted
    1/4 teaspoon paprika

    Combine first 10 ingredients

    Spoon into 2 quart dish sprayed with cooking spray

    Combine breadcrumbs, melted margarine & paprika, sprinkle on top of macaroni

    Bake at 350 for 30 minutes

    "Cooking Light 03/05"
    "6 cups"
    Start to Finish Time:
    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 270 Calories; 4g Fat (13.3% calories from fat); 22g Protein; 36g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 13mg Cholesterol; 633mg Sodium. Exchanges: 2 Grain(Starch); 2 Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 0 Fat; 1/2 Other Carbohydrates.

    Nutr. Assoc. : 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    I've made the MS recipe once. Sinfully good. Darla

  16. #16
    I'll chime in the for MS recipe as well - it's to die for. I'm not sure how it would hold up if you assembled everything a few days in advance, but I think you could absolutely make the cheese sauce in advance. I like the leftovers just as much, except the bread topping isn't quite as yummy. I think I'd be inclined to have all the parts ready to go and then assemble and bake on Christmas.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Near Fresno, CA
    Mine is very easy, basic and FULL of fat!! It's also much better a day or two after baking and freezes quite well. ( has canned soup! )

    Mac and Cheese

    1 lb elbow macaroni (or your choice)
    1 lb shredded cheddar cheese
    2 cans Campbells cheddar cheese soup
    1 soup can of milk

    Cook pasta. Mix cheese, soup and milk together and blend with cooked pasta. Turn into a greased casserole dish and bake at 350 until edges are lightly browned.

    This make A LOT!!

    "One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries."

    A.A. Milne

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    misskitty100, I don't add the tomatoes. Sorry about omitting that!

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    I can vouch for the MS recipe when it is made a day (or three) in advance - I helped my dad make a double batch of it the Monday before T'giving, and he made one to bake the next day and take to his office party, and the other he baked and served T'giving day. Both were great!
    We figured there was too much happiness here for just the two of us, so we figured the next logical step was to have us a critter.

    - H.I. McDunnough, "Raising Arizona"
    Ask me about Kelly's Kids children's clothes!

  20. #20
    My apologies for not getting this recipe posted earlier. This is my favorite mac n cheese recipe (easy and delicious), but I may have to give that MS one a try after all the positive reviews!

    toasted breadcrumbs
    2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
    1 pinch salt

    creamy macaroni and cheese
    2 large eggs
    1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
    1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper sauce
    2 teaspoons salt
    1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
    1 teaspoon dry mustard, dissolved in
    1 teaspoon water
    1/2 lb elbow macaroni
    4 tablespoons unsalted butter
    12 ounces sharp cheddar cheese or American cheese or monterey jack cheese, grated (about 3 cups)

    For the bread crumbs: (I usually just skip this)
    Heat butter in large skillet over medium heat until foam subsides.
    Add bread crumbs; cook, tossing to coat with butter, until crumbs just begin to color, about 10 minutes.
    Season to taste with salt; set aside.

    For the macaroni and cheese:
    Mix eggs, 1 cup evaporated milk, pepper sauce, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper, and mustard mixture in small bowl; set aside.
    Meanwhile, bring 2 quarts water to a boil in large heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven.
    Add remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and macaroni; cook until almost tender but still a little firm to the bite.
    Drain and return to pan over low heat.
    Add butter; toss to melt.
    Pour egg mixture over buttered noodles along with three-quarters of cheese; stir until thoroughly combined and the cheese starts to melt.
    Gradually add remaining milk and cheese, stirring constantly, until mixture is hot and creamy, about 5 minutes.
    Serve immediately, topped with toasted bread crumbs.

    Variation: “Baked” Macaroni and Cheese.
    This dish is for those who prefer their macaroni and cheese served out of a baking dish. Smooth and creamy like the stovetop version, this version is broiled just long enough to brown the crumb topping.
    Follow recipe for Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese, pouring cooked macaroni and cheese into 9-inch-square gratin dish (or another heatproof baking dish of similar dimensions).
    Spread crumbs evenly over top.
    Broil until crumbs turn deep brown, 1 to 2 minutes.
    Let stand to set a bit, about 5 minutes, and serve immediately.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Cary, NC
    Thanks for asking this question!!
    I will have to make macaroni and cheese to take to a Christmas party where there will be about 60 people...
    So, I am thinking about making it one day ahead and just reheating it right before serving. These are great recipes, now I will also have to decide for one!
    Have you decided already on which one you are going to make Misskitty?
    Sounds like the MS recipe is very popular!
    By the way, I can double the recipe, right?? There will be other foods in the gathering, and I know not everybody there cares for macaroni and cheese. We are going to have it mainly for the kids (about 26 kids...), but considering the 12 servings, I guess I should double it...

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Vancouver Island, Canada
    Although not traditional, this is my absolute favourite mac and cheese recipe:

    Nana's Oven Baked Mac and Cheese

    1 package of elbow macaroni
    1 package of bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
    1 medium onion, chopped
    1 28oz can of diced tomatoes
    1 14oz can of tomato soup
    1/4 cup ketchup
    1 block of marbled cheese

    In a large pot, cook macaroni until el dente. Drain water and place cooked noodles in a large roasting pan (or other large oven-proof dish).

    In a large frying pan, cook the bacon and onion. Cook until the onion is soft, but stop cooking before the bacon becomes crispy.

    Add the cooked bacon and onion, diced tomatoes (I will sometimes add in another small can), tomato soup, and ketchup to the cooked macaroni and stir to mix.

    Fully cover the macaroni mixture with shredded marbled cheese. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees F until warm throughout and the cheese is lightly browned and bubbly. If needed, you can broil the cheese just before serving. Freezes beautifully. Serves many!

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