I've been visiting with my daughter Angela this week in Little Rock, so today I tried to help out by making dinner while she was at work. I came prepared with some of my own cookbooks, and I had the recipe I wanted to use marked in one of the books. The recipe I chose was called Extra-Cheesy Macaroni and Cheese. I have been cooking long enough to usually just be able to read a recipe and tell if it is a dish my family will like. This mac and cheese recipe had sounded very good to me, and I was quite certain that the grandchildren would love it.
This recipe called for 8 ounces of sharp cheddar cheese and 8 ounces of Italian blend cheese. It also included eggs, evaporated milk, and regular milk along with salt, black pepper, red pepper, and dry mustard. Sounds yummy doesn't it?
It was also made with small shell pasta, a favorite of mine. Then what could possibly go wrong? The recipe was written to be cooked in a crock pot. I thought that was a good idea. Mix everything up, turn it on LOW, and according to the directions 4 hours later take the lid off and creamy mac and cheese would appear. It didn't happen quite that way.
I mixed everything up, put the lid on, turned the temperature to LOW, then after about 3 1/2 hours pulled the plug.
The mac and cheese was congealed and dry, especially around the edges.
I served it up, and the taste wasn't too bad, but the presentation was sorely lacking. I'm not going to post the recipe because I wouldn't serve this dish again. Instead of being individual shells covered in creamy cheese, it was a scoop of stuck together goop. It appeared to be pitifully overcooked. Fortunately we had fried chicken and a salad to go with the dry mac and cheese, so the meal was not a total disaster.
I did learn something from this cooking experience - pasta was not made to be cooked for 4 hours in a crock pot. The directions on the box said the shells should be cooked for 7 minutes. Some foods just don't do well in a crock pot and pasta is one of them. I love my crock pot, but I won't be using it again for Macaroni and Cheese in the near future.