There are certain dishes that simply MUST make an appearance at my family’s Thanksgiving table, and macaroni and cheese is one of them.
There is something so comforting about a hearty bowl of macaroni and cheese. I think that’s why I immediately gravitated towards the original recipe of BHG’s Four Cheese Macaroni and Cheese. The decadence of the dish spoke to me and reminded me of my mother’s classic that she makes every holiday. I knew I just had to try it!
I planned on making it just as the recipe called for until my oven randomly stopped working. I think all of the recent baking made my oven call in sick so I had to change plans right away. The new plan was to use my crock pot, and Slow Cooker Macaroni and Cheese was born. Let’s just say that things always happen for a reason, and this new change in plans was perfecto!
Not only must you add this to your Thanksgiving menu stat, but you must make it once a month just to remind you how delicious the simple things in life can be. This will save you so much time during the holidays. Just think about it: While you baste your turkey, make your stuffing, bake several pies and entertain your guests, this amazing macaroni and cheese will be tending to itself and ready in a few hours. You simple toss all of the ingredients into the slow cooker like below and let it cook away.
I only made the following changes to the original recipe:
- I replaced the elbow macaroni pasta with penne but you can definitely still use the macaroni for a more traditional dish.
- I added two large beaten eggs to the mixture to create more of a custard as it cooked away.
- I replaced the milk with 1 1/2 cups of evaporated milk and 1 1/2 cups of half and half to make the macaroni and cheese richer. It is for the holidays after all right?
- I tossed in a 1/2 cup of melted butter as well.
- I toasted the panko crumbs over my stove top in a saute pan with a tablespoon of butter until golden brown.
- I tossed all of the ingredients together in the slow cooker except for 1/4 cup of the shredded cheese and the toasted panko crumbs. Once everything was combined, I topped the pasta with the cheese and panko crumbs and let it cook on low for 2 1/2- 3 1/4 hours.
- Cook less time if you want it super creamy and cook a bit more if you want the mac and cheese a bit firmer. Just make sure your pasta is nice and soft before stopping the cooking process.
This macaroni and cheese is really incredible. You will want to make this over and over again, especially since its so easy now. You can even have your kids make it. Now that is something to truly be thankful for.