The Pioneer Woman’s Macaroni and Cheese

by Cate on April 8, 2010

Mac and Cheese Aerial View

There is a reason there are a million and one recipes for macaroni and cheese.  Total.comfort. food.  Anything that can warm you from the inside out is worth putting into your rotation.  Just sayin’.  Of course all the cheesy goodness comes with a price.  It might mean an extra Zumba class at the gym or another 30 minutes on the treadmill, but surely the ends justifies the means, right?

When it comes to macaroni and cheese, Nick tends to be a blue box kind of kid.  He will eat a few bites of the other homemade versions that I make, but he really prefers Kraft or Velveeta.  He’s entitled.  Madeline will eat any kind.  That is, when she stops long enough to actually put food in her mouth.  When I saw The Pioneer Woman had her own version of macaroni and cheese, I added it to my to-try list.  I made this one back in February after one of the umpteen times that we got hit with a crazy amount of snow.  Can you tell I’m a bit behind in sharing recipes with you?

Pioneer Woman Mac and Cheese

Even while taking pictures of the kids in the snow and doing laundry, the macaroni and cheese was simple to make and uses basic ingredients you just might have on hand.  The taste?  This is a good standard mac and cheese recipe.  Not OMG, but basic goodness.  And the real test?  Nick came back for seconds.  Winner winner, mac and cheese dinner.

Mac and Cheese Plated

Project 365
April 8, 2010 Photo #75

Go Diego Go

“Do you want the Dora seat?”  No.  “The Princess one?”  No.  “How about Elmo?”  No, Mommy.  Clearly she was getting exasperated with me.  “Which one do you want?”  Go Diego!  Diego it was.  We have successfully entered Day Four of Diaper-Free, Accident Free Territory.  Whoo-hoo.  I used the same boot camp method I came up with when training Nick (was it really that long ago?!) and though Madeline is much younger than he was, it worked like a charm.  Really should patent the O’Malley Method.  ;)  Forget Go Diego … go Maddie!

Macaroni and Cheese
Recipe courtesy of The Pioneer Woman

  • 4 cups Dried Macaroni
  • ¼ cups (1/2 Stick Or 4 Tablespoons) Butter
  • ¼ cups All-purpose Flour
  • 2-½ cups Whole Milk
  • 2 teaspoons (heaping) Dry Mustard, More If Desired
  • 1 whole Egg Beaten
  • 1 pound Cheese, Grated
  • ½ teaspoons Salt, More To Taste
  • ½ teaspoons Seasoned Salt, More To Taste
  • ½ teaspoons Ground Black Pepper
  • Optional Spices: Cayenne Pepper, Paprika, Thyme

Cook macaroni until very firm. Macaroni should be too firm to eat right out of the pot. Drain.

In a small bowl, beat egg.

In a large pot, melt butter and sprinkle in flour. Whisk together over medium-low heat. Cook mixture for five minutes, whisking constantly. Don’t let it burn.

Pour in milk, add mustard, and whisk until smooth. Cook for five minutes until very thick. Reduce heat to low.

Take 1/4 cup of the sauce and slowly pour it into beaten egg, whisking constantly to avoid cooking eggs. Whisk together till smooth.

Pour egg mixture into sauce, whisking constantly. Stir until smooth.

Add in cheese and stir to melt.

Add salts and pepper. Taste sauce and add more salt and seasoned salt as needed! DO NOT UNDERSALT.

Pour in drained, cooked macaroni and stir to combine.  Serve immediately (very creamy) or pour into a buttered baking dish, top with extra cheese, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly and golden on top.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Savory Tv April 9, 2010 at 2:54 am

Love live mac and cheese! I’m always tempted to gourmet it up, but sometimes the basic classic recipes are truly the best.

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Joanne April 9, 2010 at 6:13 am

Mac and cheese is a total necessity. It’s the kind of thing that I start to crave every few months and won’t be satisfied until I have. I’ve been meaning to try the PW version. If Nick went back for seconds, it must have been good.

Okay so when I have kids and then potty train them, I am coming to you for advice. Because my mom did alright with me but with my sister…she failed miserably. It took almost a year to potty train her! Yikes.

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Debbie April 9, 2010 at 7:24 am

I have Ree’s cookbook and love her recipes. The mac and cheese looks delicious. I was always a Kraft mac and cheese person years back but now I have to have the real thing!!!

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Patsy April 9, 2010 at 8:47 am

Way to go, Maddie! Girls always train faster than boys – or so I’ve been told… as I only have boys, and mine were in NO hurry to get out of diapers.

Mac & Cheese is such a comfort food… I’ve tried making a few recipes from scratch, but none have gone over well w/the family. Maybe this will be the one to win them over.

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Kris #40 April 9, 2010 at 8:52 am

Don’t you love the Pioneer Woman?! Haven’t made this one yet, but looks like I will have to put it on the to make list. My kids like the boxed – ick!

I made Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese the other night – the hubby and I liked it but it was too spicy for the kids. Used this recipe that I found on Noble Pig

http://noblepig.com/2010/03/28/buffalo-chicken-macoroni-and-cheese.aspx

Does bootcamp potty training work with puppies? LOL

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Ramona April 9, 2010 at 12:10 pm

Go Maddie from me too!

The mac looks darn good to me! Cheese, I’m a big rat at heart!!!

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claire April 9, 2010 at 4:53 pm

Alright, Maddie! M&C looks good. I haven’t made that in YEARS (like 14!)…probably because the recipe we had called for a whole DOZEN eggs and I just can’t stand to do that! Crazy.

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bbpizzapro April 9, 2010 at 5:43 pm

please tell me about the bootcamp method. My daughter Emma was born right after Maddie. (we were on a thread togther)

Bridget

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Cate April 9, 2010 at 8:49 pm

bbpizzapro – Hi there! will send you an email this weekend. :)

Claire – whoa, a dozen eggs! I can see why you wouldn’t make it that often!

Ramona – color us all rats here too – cheese doesn’t stand a chance.

Kris – will check out that mac and cheese, thanks! yeah, unfortch puppies are a whole ‘nother ball game. it’s like having a baby call over again! nick is dying for another dog – so i’m not telling him there’s a new puppy up the street. :)

Patsy – isn’t that funny? didn’t expect the kids to be picky about mac and cheese, but darn it, they totally are. nick was trained in one weekend, madeline a few days longer, but she’s also 10 months younger than he was at the time, so the communication level isn’t the same. but i’ll take it! just recycled the last of my diaper coupons!

Debbie – once you’ve had it homemade, it’s so hard to go back to the box, isn’t it?

Joanne – omg, a year? The problem is that there is a small window where the kids show interest, and if you miss that window, you have to wait otherwise it just won’t work. with nick, we missed the first window, and it was a good 9 months before it came back. with maddie, i wasn’t taking that chance!

savorytv – you are totally right. sometimes simple is just where it’s at. :)

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Merry120 April 11, 2010 at 12:51 pm

Can you copy me on the bootcamp method email? Evan is REFUSING to be potty trained. Help!!!!!

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pamela April 12, 2010 at 9:43 pm

Yeah, Maddie! And Congrats to you on the PT success! The mac and cheese looks wonderfully cheesy!

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Christy August 1, 2010 at 10:50 pm

Can u copy me on the boot camp potty method as well? I don’t have kids yet but am always willing to learn for the future! Thanks

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Amber March 28, 2014 at 5:22 pm

What kind of cheeses did you use for this? And please share your boot camp potty training method….my son Colton will be 3 in June and we have been trying for months, but he just doesn’t show any progress. Any tips?

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