2023 is well on its way to being complete. To ring in the new year, many enjoy the traditional meal of pork and sauerkraut. We always have pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day. In years past, we have made our own sauerkraut in the fall to enjoy throughout the year. However, fall has become a hectic season since we make soap full-time. Eric’s pasture-raised pigs provide us with delicious pork, but we are now reduced to eating store-bought sauerkraut. The main dish for our New Year’s Day dinner is a given. It is the side dishes I always struggle to decide upon.
This year, I will make my favorite human bean homemade macaroni and cheese. I found the most delicious, easiest recipe for the crockpot. It takes very little time; I don’t have to worry about drying it out in the oven, and my child will eat it for days without complaint. I like things I can make and walk away from without the concern of overcooking them. I made this recipe on Christmas Day, and it was a favorite with everyone.
Crock Pot Macaroni and Cheese
1 lb. Uncooked Elbow Macaroni (I used Barilla Large Elbows)
2 ½ Cups of Whole Milk
12 Ounce Can of Evaporated Milk
12 Ounces of Sharp Cheddar (I used Farmstead Cheddar from Pleasant Lane Farms)
4 Ounces of American Cheese, Cubed (I used Velveeta because Jordan likes Velveeta)
1 tsp. Salt
½ tsp. Black Pepper
½ tsp. Dry Mustard
¼ tsp. Garlic Powder
Dash of Cayenne Pepper
¼ Cup Butter, Cubed
Prepare a slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray
Rinse the uncooked pasta well under cold water
Add the uncooked pasta to the crock pot
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the whole milk, the evaporated milk, the salt, pepper, dry mustard, garlic powder, and Cayenne Pepper.
Add the cheese to the crockpot and stir.
Add the liquid to the crock pot, ensuring the pasta is submerged.
Top with the cubed butter.
Cover and cook on low setting for one hour.
Depending on your crock pot, your dish could be done. Stir and test the pasta for doneness. If not fully cooked, cover and let cook for another hour. Check every fifteen minutes to make sure it does not overcook.
When the pasta is done, it will be tender, and the liquid will be thick and creamy. The sauce will thicken once the lid is removed, and the dish sits for a few minutes.
A few notes: Do not use pre-packaged shredded cheese. It will turn grainy rather than smooth. Also, use thick, sturdy pasta. The thin pasta turns to mush. Lastly, every slow cooker is different. Be sure to check the dish every fifteen minutes once one hour has passed.
On this last Friday of 2023, stay safe, be smart, enjoy delicious meals, surround yourself with those who make your heart happy, be responsible, and keep washing your hands.