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I LOVE macaroni and cheese – but sometimes I don’t want to make it out of a box. Want to know a pretty easy recipe that will be sure to WOW your guests? Check out what my family ate tonight:

Ingredients:

  • A box of pasta (something with a spiral works best)
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 tablespoon of all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1 12 ounce can of evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup of sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cup of mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped chives and scallions

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Step 1: Ok, so this one starts out ugly and ends up beautiful. You just have to trust me. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil; add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour, mustard and paprika and stir with a wooden spoon to make a paste. Cook, stirring, until the paste puffs slightly, about 1 minute.

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Step 2: Whisk in both milks and 1/2 teaspoon salt and simmer, whisking occasionally, until slightly thickened and creamy, 6 to 7 minutes.

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Step 3: Add the cheddar and mozzarella cheeses and all but 2 tablespoons of the parmesan and whisk until melted; keep warm.

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Step 4: Combine the panko, herbs and/or scallions, 1 tablespoon butter and the remaining parmesan in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave until the butter melts, about 1 minute; toss.

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Step 5: Drain the pasta, reserving about 1 cup cooking water, and return to the pot. Toss with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, then stir in the cheese sauce, adding the reserved cooking water if needed. Season with salt and top with the breadcrumb mixture.

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Eat and enjoy! Don’t forget you can send in your favorite recipes and I will post them. Email me with step by step instructions just like this story. Can’t wait to get invited inside your kitchen!

Recipe from Food Network Magazine – April 2010 (revised) Instead of mozzarella they use Monterey jack. And I added a bit more Parmesan to my panko mix. Also chose not to use cayenne pepper and substituted it with paprika.

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