A little while back, I “shared” a recipe on my Facebook page that I wanted to try. It was for crock pot mac & cheese. As I attend a lot of potlucks, I thought this may be a good recipe to have in my arsenal. However, reviews were very mixed. Some thought it was great, some thought it was horrible and some kind of middle of the road. I thought I would give you an accurate review.
First, the recipe was posted on this site (click here).
And it reads as follows:
- 3 Cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese
- 2 1/2 Cups Milk
- 12 oz. Evaporated Milk
- 8 ounces Cream Cheese
- 16 ounces elbow Macaroni
- Put All ingredients into the Crock Pot, EXCEPT the 1 pound bag of Macaroni noodles!
- Leave on Low for an hour. After 1 hour, stir the sauce in crock pot.
- Make Macaroni & then Drain after sauce has been “crock potting” for about 45 minutes.
- Add Cooked Macaroni to sauce after drained.
- Add any extras you would like. Ham, Bacon, etc.
- Cook on LOW another 45 minutes
- Feeds approximately 6-8
Tip: YOU DO NOT have to add all evaporated milk or cream cheese if you do not like it VERY CHEESY!
Ok, that’s it. Seems easy enough. I purchased all ingredients and packed them up for my work potluck the next day. First thing I noticed, no spices whatsoever? Well that won’t do. So I added the following spices:
1 tsp ground mustard
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp salt.
Next, 3 C shredded cheese seems to little. I actually added two and a half bags!! what is that 5 1/2 Cups??
So, I added all ingredients (sans PRE cooked pasta) to crock pot and set for 1 hour on low. I decreased the milk to about 1 3/4 C because 2 1/2 seemed like a TON. After an hour, the mixture was barely warm and looked like soup. Ahh I was panicking!! adding noodles to the milky soup did not look appealing. I actually got the inner crock out and microwaved for 6 minutes. That did the trick. One HOT, the cream cheese melted through and thickened the sauce nicely.
BTW, one comment on this dish was “omg this was sooo sweet – gross mac and cheese shouldn’t be sweet”. My guess is that this master chef wanna be put CONDENSED milk instead of evaporated. Yes blog peeps. there is a HUGE difference.
So, this step? My recommendation, try an hour on high, or a couple hours on low. Or, if access to microwave like I had, wing it!
When the sauce thickened, and it finally did. (Use a whisk. A whisk is your friend!) I added my PRE cooked noodles. This is important. Cook your pasta and leave rather al dente (which means to the tooth, or has a slight bite to it) I cooked mine the night before and had in a gallon plastic zip lock for convenience. The picture is deceiving. The noodles in the picture are clearly uncooked. If you mistakenly add them uncooked (as many more of the “bad reviewers” must have) it just wont cook the same either. Also note, I cooked like a box and a half of noodles. One box just didn’t seem like enough.
Give yourself plenty of time for the noodles and sauce to heat back through. I had again, an hour on low, which simply was not enough time. Do an hour on high, or a couple hours on low. Or, zap in microwave again as I had to!!
My final thoughts? It was ok. Not great. The melted cheese (I used the thin shredded three cheddar blend) was grainy. It didn’t have that creamy consistency I expected. Next time, I would shred cheddar myself. I think it melts and tastes better. Or try the cheese with cream cheese specially designed to melt nicely. Just a thought. This is ok if you have a pot luck to go to and HAVE to bring mac & cheese. One person posted “I have to cook my noodles first?? What is the point of doing in a crock pot” Well the answer is, at work, I do not have access to a stove top, or an oven, so this is my only option.
This was certainly not the disaster or the disgusting results that were posted. It was, as the kids would say “aaaight”. Now you want to make a good baked mac and cheese? Try the copy cat recipe my brother posted on his recipe blog for the Clarkston Woodshop’s FAMOUS mac and cheese here.
My brother did an excellent post already about this mac and cheese, so instead of trying to reinvent, I will direct you to his blog. He has a lot of interesting recipes and directions there.
So, carry on Facebook friends. You may comfortably recreate this Facebook recipe, tweak it a bit, and you will do just fine. I guess my overall rating is one of the middle of the road ratings. Not great, not bad. But eatable.