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Mon Jan 27, 2020, 01:19 PM

Perfect mac and cheese

Well, maybe not perfect, but pretty darn good and it comes together in a slow cooker or InstantPot in less than an hour without having to dirty every pot in the kitchen or turn on the oven. It took me half a dozen tries to perfect this, but well worth it to have an easy mac and cheese recipe in my pocket. Sodium citrate is key to a smooth texture. You can get a lifetime supply from Amazon for about $8.

I used the slow cooker function on my InstantPot, which was a bit hotter than your average slow cooker. You may have to adjust times to your cooker if you use something different.

Spray your InstantPot with non-stick spray and add:

2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
3 cups water
1 tablespoon kosher salt

Stir and cook covered on the slow-cook function for half an hour. The macaroni should be done, but still a bit chewy.

Stir in:

1/2 teaspoon sodium citrate
8 ounces cream cheese, cut into chunks
2 cups grated cheddar cheese (freshly grated, not the kind that’s sold already grated)

Heat for another ten minutes or so, stir, and serve forth.

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Arrow 9 replies Author Time Post
Reply Perfect mac and cheese (Original post)
spinbaby Jan 2020 OP
Kali Jan 2020 #1
Bayard Jan 2020 #2
no_hypocrisy Jan 2020 #3
tishaLA Jan 2020 #5
dem in texas Jan 2020 #6
murielm99 Jan 2020 #7
irisblue Jan 2020 #4
dem in texas Jan 2020 #8
spinbaby Jan 2020 #9


Response to spinbaby (Original post)

Mon Jan 27, 2020, 01:25 PM

2. Cream cheese....

Would have never thought of that. What's wrong with already grated cheese?

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Response to Bayard (Reply #2)

Mon Jan 27, 2020, 01:28 PM

3. More intense flavor when you freshly grate it.

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Response to Bayard (Reply #2)

Mon Jan 27, 2020, 01:47 PM

5. Manufacturers use cellulose on pre-shredded cheese

to keep it from clumping and it can change mouth feel. It's also generally more expensive (and lower quality) than shredding the cheese yourself.

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Response to Bayard (Reply #2)

Mon Jan 27, 2020, 01:52 PM

6. Pre-grated Cheese

It's coated in potato flour which dilutes its flavor.

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Response to dem in texas (Reply #6)

Mon Jan 27, 2020, 02:03 PM

7. I never buy pre-grated cheese.

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Response to spinbaby (Original post)

Mon Jan 27, 2020, 01:45 PM

4. Bookmarking

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Response to spinbaby (Original post)

Mon Jan 27, 2020, 02:26 PM

8. Made the old fashioned way

After all the posts about mac and cheese, decided to make some for Sunday dinner. I made it the way I have been making it for over 60 years.

Cooked the elbow macaroni in boiling, salted water till al-dente. Made a cream sauce; (butter, flour, milk), seasoned with pepper and tabasco sauce. Stirred in grated cheese to make cheese sauce (used part sharp cheddar and a little American cheese). Grated 3 pieces of dry toast. Assembled: mac in buttered baking dish. Pour cheese sauce over, gave mixture a little stir. Topped with grated bread crumbs, baked in 400 degree oven until browned on top (about 10 minutes)

Good "mouth"- mac still a little chewy, cheese sauce cheesy and a little runny, browned bread crumb top crunchy. Perfect.

I didn't use recipe except what is in my old brain ( learned from years of cooking for many people). Made enough to feed 3 people, little bit left over.

Don't think it made too many dirty pots and pans. Used one pan to boil the mac, one pan to make the cream sauce, colander to drain the mac, grater for cheese and one baking dish. I re-used the colander, grater and one of the pans for other parts of the meal preparation.

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Response to dem in texas (Reply #8)

Wed Jan 29, 2020, 07:55 AM

9. I've made the oven version for years

But the InstantPot version is so much easier I’ll be making it more often. Also, like you, I always added American cheese to keep mac and cheese from getting grainy. Turns out it’s the sodium citrate in American cheese that keeps the whole mixture smooth. By adding sodium citrate instead of American cheese, you can use all real cheese. Depending in which cheese you use, you can give your mac and cheese a lot more flavor. Not everyone wants more flavor, I know—some just want mild and creamy—but the possibility is there.

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