Granny Betty’s macaroni and cheese was the best! I try to use her recipe whenever I am able and up to the task of grating all that extra sharp cheddar cheese — that she always referred to as “rat trap cheese” — unlike Swiss cheese which she called “mouse cheese”.
I have an alternative recipe using Velveeta like my mom did for when I am unable to do so.
It isn’t easy to find “extra sharp” cheese at the store that has already been shredded. Usually it only comes in “mild” or “medium” cheddar and more rarely “sharp” — but finding “extra sharp” that is already shredded is next to impossible (here).
Which means lots of cheese grating that I am not always able to handle — and I dislike using the food processor for the job due to the difficulty of cleaning it afterwards and clumps of cheese forming and getting stuck that requires stopping and disassembling everything. I prefer using my large box grater when able.
Granny Betty’s “Macaroni and Cheese Bake”
Make some extra slices of crispy fried bacon at breakfast to keep back for crumbling on top.
Pour 1 can Carnation evaporated milk into pan. Add macaroni elbow noodles and 3 pats (3 Tbsp.) of butter. Cover with water. Boil until noodles are tender, stirring as needed.
Drain noodles in colander at sink, shake to get out more of the water, and toss with 1/4 to 1/2 stick of cut up butter until butter is melted and noodles coated while still in colander to prevent sticking. Leave sitting at sink to drain off any more water or excess butter.
Meanwhile, in same pan noodles were boiled, add and stir together a can of Carnation evaporated milk, 1/4 cup heavy cream, and 1/2 cup sour cream. Heat until very hot and almost but not quite boiling.
Remove from heat and add 8 ounces cream cheese softened at room temperature. Stir mashing when needed until cream cheese has melted down.
Return pan to a low heat and stir in 1 to 1-1/2 cups shredded rat trap cheese (extra sharp cheddar).
Stir continuously until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth.
If too thick, add more milk. If too thin, add more rat trap cheese.
If too lumpy with cheese not melting down and blending in well, add a splash more of heavy cream and a pat (1 Tbsp.) of unsalted butter.
Take off the heat.
Pour half of the noodles into a generously buttered casserole dish or baking pan. Add some of the sauce and toss with a fork or spoon to coat.
Top with shredded rat trap cheese (extra sharp cheddar).
Add remaining noodles and pour as much of the remaining sauce as needed evenly over top.
If any extra cheese sauce is left over, refrigerate covered to be used later for cooking vegetables in cheese sauce such as cauliflower or Brussel sprouts. Just add some more milk.
Cover macaroni and cheese with foil and refrigerate until ready to put in the oven cold to bake.
Heat oven to 350 F degrees.
Bake still covered with foil for 30 to 45 minutes.
Take off the foil.
Top with more shredded rat trap cheese (extra sharp cheddar).
Bake uncovered until cheese is hot, bubbly, melted and it has started browning.
Remove from the oven and set aside to settle.
When it has stopped bubbling, set the hot casserole dish on a thick folded over towel on the table and crumble fried bacon evenly over the top.
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