Some foods leave me feeling spoiled; luxurious, decadent, maybe I shouldn’t have but I did, spoiled. This Deer Valley recipe for Mac and Cheese gives me that feeling. It’s that comfort food, homey sort of feeling – the one many get when they return home for a cooked meal from family or friends. I love so many things about this recipe but taste aside (yes it is the best Mac and Cheese you’ll ever make- creamy, rich, with crunchy pasta edges and a slight hint of smokiness from the smoked cheddar), another wonderful thing about this recipe is that it makes enough so that you can enjoy half immediately and freeze the other half for another day. Maybe I’ll bake my second batch on a gloomy winter day when I just need a big spoonful of goodness.
At Deer Valley’s Grocery Cafe they have a whole freezer section with homemade comforting foods just like this one that you can pick up and bake at home. Their freezer foods put to shame any freezer meal that you had before. These are gourmet foods, made with high quality ingredients, that when reheated make you melt with happiness they are so tasty!
Here are a few other items you can pick up at their Grocery Cafe : Butternut Squash Enchiladas, Lasagna, Chicken Pot Pie, and Polenta with Chicken and Mushrooms. Those talented Deer Valley Chefs will spoil you right in your own home!
One of the reasons this baked mac and cheese recipe is SOO good is that it has four cheeses in it, yes four and a good amount of spices. So, it does take a little effort but I feel like if I am going to splurge and make mac and cheese it should be well worth it in flavor (credit cradle here). So, for best results use a traditional macaroni and high quality cheese – no cutting corners here!
And since holidays are a fine excuse to splurge this Mac and Cheese would make a fabulous holiday side dish! You could even make it in advance and freeze it so you have one less thing to make on the big day! What other foods are you making in advance this holiday season?
Here are some more mac and cheese recipes that I’m loving –
Lobster Mac and Cheese by Foodie Crush
Roasted Garlic Mac and Cheese with Pancetta Parmesan Crust by Mountain Mama Cooks
Light Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese by Cookin Canuck
Quinoa Spinach Mac and Cheese by Two Peas and Their Pod
This Baked Cheddar Mac and Cheese is Macaroni and Cheese Recipe that is instantly a family favorite.
- 1 pound macaroni pasta
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 quart half and half
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- 3 oz cream cheese
- 1 cup grated gruyere cheese
- 1 1/2 cups grated white cheddar
- ½ cup smoked cheddar
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 dash ground nutmeg
- 1 dash cayenne pepper
- Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375 and grease a large rectangular baking dish.
Cook macaroni in salted water till al dente drain and cool.
For cheese sauce, melt butter in large sauce pot, add flour and mix and cook for 1-2 minutes on low heat to make blonde roux. Slowly add cold half and half whisking in between additions to prevent lumps. Cook sauce for 5 minutes, then add heavy cream, cream cheese, smoked cheddar, Dijon mustard, fresh thyme, onion powder, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, season with salt and pepper.
Mix gruyere and 1 cup of white cheddar with cold pasta. Add cheese sauce and mix well. Pour into greased baking dish top with rest of white cheddar. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes let stand 10 minutes before serving.