I’m sad to say that there was a point in my life when I hated Mac n’ Cheese.
Doesn’t that make you sad for my childhood? Oh, the wasted years!
For much of my life, I didn’t realize that there was anything else out there other than the watery, powder-made instant cheese sauce from a box. No thank you!
Then I discovered the joys of baked Macaroni and Cheese at a barbecue a few years back, and then I realized that, of course, you can make Mac ‘n’ Cheese with real cheese on the stove top.
And I thought to myself, “What a wonderful world.”
I have had a deep, soul-encompassing desire to eat Macaroni and Cheese at every opportunity from then on out. There’s just something so… comforting… about this comfort food. (How eloquent of me, right?)
In the time since, I’ve made many forms of Mac ‘n’ Cheese and featured some of them here, like Grilled Mac ‘n’ Beer Cheese Sliders with Tomato-Bacon Jam, Chicken Enchilada Mac ‘n’ Cheese, and Cauliflower Baked Mac ‘n’ Cheese. Holy yum to all of the above.
But it wasn’t until just recently that I realized that I would love a way to make Macaroni and Cheese with as little effort and heating up the house as possible.
I mean, 1) I’m
a bit lazy. 2) It’s summer. I’m not turning on the oven unless there’s a gun to my head. Or brownies that need baking. But that’s it!
Anyway, then it came to me. Mac ‘n’ Cheese made in the crock pot. Genius, genius, genius! But would it taste good?
Oh yes. Oh yes it would.
This Three Cheese Crock Pot Macaroni and Cheese might be some of the cheesiest, creamiest, richest Mac ‘n’ Cheese I ever had. The first time I made it, I left it in too long and the macaroni was too overcooked for a good picture (but my brother and I loved it anyway), and then my brother begged me to make it again for his birthday weekend.
I tweaked a few things, didn’t cook it as long, and wound up with this amazing side dish. Well, I eat it as though it’s a main course. Woops?
Try out this recipe for Three Cheese Crock Pot Macaroni and Cheese for your next summer barbecue and let me know what you think!
- 12 oz dry elbow macaroni (NOTE: whole wheat pasta does not work well here!)
- 1¼ cups gruyere cheese, shredded
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- 10 slices American cheese, chopped
- 1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
- 1½ cups skim milk
- ½ teaspoon dry mustard
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Pinch of nutmeg
- Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
- Paprika, to garnish (optional)
- Chopped parlsey, to garnish (optional)
- Spray the inside of the crock pot bowl with nonstick cooking spray.
- In the bowl of the slow cooker, combine the macaroni, cheeses, evaporated milk and skim milk. Stir well to combine. Cover and cook on low for 1½ hours. NOTE: (Your crock pot cooking temp and time may vary. The first time you make this in your crock pot, check every once and a while before the 1½ hour mark to see if your cheese is melted and your pasta is nearly al dente. This may be 45 mins, an hour, or possibly longer than 1½ hours. If you check, you'll be alright!)
- Fold and stir in the dry mustard, nutmeg, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Make sure you're folding enough to break up any pocket of cheese or milk that may exist from the previous hour and a half of cooking. Let cook on low for another 30 minutes.
- At this point, your Three Cheese Crock Pot Mac 'n' Cheese should be creamy, cheesy, and fully cooked. Serve with a sprinkle of paprika and chopped parsley.