Macaroni and Cheese Casserole

IMG_0560I made Macaroni and Cheese Casserole fairly often, always changing the cheese combination and spices till I made this combination. My husband took one bite, got up and handed me a pen and paper and asked me to write down the recipe. That from now on when he wants Mac and Cheese he wants this combination. This is a great make ahead Casserole, it refrigerates and freezes well with just a bit of time in the oven to warm through. The wonderful thing about Macaroni and Cheese is that you have any combination of cheese you like, the cheese I have listed is just a suggestion feel free to pick your own favorites.

 

 

Ingredients

1 small block (240g) Cheddar

1 small block (240g) Emmental

1 small block (240g) Gruyere

1 small bag(50g) grated Parmesan

1/2 a sleeve of Chili Crackers(or your favorite flavor)

2 ham steaks (or 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts)

1 small onion

2 tbsp butter

1 tbsp flour

2 chicken bullion cube

1 package (500g/1lb) macaroni noodles

2 tsp chili powder

black pepper

Directions

IMG_0531Slice the onion into thin half rounds.
IMG_0535Slice the ham (or chicken) into bite sized pieces
IMG_0536Cook the meat and onion until the onion is soft. Put aside.
IMG_0540Cook the macaroni in a large pot of water with the  bullion cubes, this helps flavor the pasta as it cooks.
IMG_0538While it cooks grate/shred the cheese. ( if you are using grated/shredded cheese then congratulations you have saved yourself a step )
IMG_0546After the noodles are cooked drain them and return them to the pan. Pour the ham and onion mix over the noodles.
IMG_0547In a large sauce pan melt the butter.
IMG_0549Add the flour and stir till combined.

IMG_0551Add milk a splash at a time and cook till thickened.

Add black pepper and chili powder.

IMG_0550Start adding your cheese and handful at a time, letting it melt completely between additions.
IMG_0553Once all the cheese is added it will be thick and stringy.
IMG_0555Pour the cheese sauce over the macaroni and meat and onion mix and mix till everything is combined.
IMG_0557Pour into a large baking dish.
IMG_0543In a plastic bag crush up the crackers.
IMG_0545Add the grated Parmesan and shake to combine.
IMG_0558Sprinkle the cracker/parmesan topping over the Macaroni and Cheese.

This is the point where you can let it cool and freeze it or pop it in fridge for serving later.

If you are planning on serving it right away then place it in the oven (350/170) for 15 minutes or until the topping starts to brown.

If you are reheating from the refrigerator then it will take around a half an hour to heat up and you may want to cover it with foil to keep it from browning too much.

If reheating from frozen cover it in foil and bake at (325/160) for an hour before removing the foil to bake for another 15 minutes.

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