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the haas machine: Crockpot Mac 'n' Cheese

Monday, February 18, 2013

Crockpot Mac 'n' Cheese

I never really loved crockpot cooking until I got married. It's not that I didn't love the simplicity of it, it's just that I had a pretty strong distaste of all things kitchen applicaney, so I didn't own one. Since marriage, I have slowly come to the understanding that the right kitchen tools make all of the difference when it comes to cooking well. I now take great pleasure in finding a gadget that will make our creating more tasty & more efficient. You might laugh a little bit, but my current top kitchen appliances/gadgets are:
  1. Kitchenaid mixer
  2. Crockpot
  3. Food processor
  4. Cookie cutters (jungle animals, hearts, & alphabets)
  5. Electric kettle
All of these items, minus the kettle, have been acquired post-wedding. I'm still a little new to using them, so I get a little giddy, especially when making bread or cookies because I used to seriously mix the ingredients by hand... & they hardly ever turned out as a result.

My problem with most kitchen appliances is that they can only be used for one thing & I'm way too practical for that. Why on earth people have pizza warmers & quesadilla makers is beyond me (don't you have an oven?) We'll probably never own a waffle maker (I don't really like them anyways) or a bread maker (you can totally make killer bread without one!) But we will always hold dear those on my top 5 list, especially our crockpot.

Lately, I've been very into making our own yogurt in the crockpot & made some hearty baked potato soup in there, too. We've made a batch of applesauce in the crockpot & I hear you can even make things like oatmeal or lasagne in there... crazy! A crockpot is really quite the magnificent invention, especially when you're beyond busy. Pair that with my complete devotion to homemade mac 'n' cheese & you've got a real crowd pleaser. 

What are your favorite crockpot meals? And have you ever tried mac 'n' cheese pizza? For real...

Crockpot Mac 'n' Cheese
2 cups whole milk
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
1 egg
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups uncooked whole wheat elbow macaroni

In a mixing bowl whisk together milk, evaporated milk, egg, salt & pepper. Pour milk mixture into the crock pot. Add cheese & uncooked macaroni. Stir gently to mix.

Turn slow cooker on low & cook 3 hours, or until the custard is set & the macaroni is tender. (Do not cook more than 4 hours, or the sides will begin to dry out). Serve at once.

*Note: this version of mac 'n' cheese is not like your averaged boxed kraft dinner. It's very thick & custardy & the noodles stick together more like a slice of pie than individual pieces. But don't let that scare you! If you like rich, cheesy things, you will love this recipe.

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