Adventures in Cooking (Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese)

Mister Tea now has a “big boy job.”  While we both enjoy the work we do for Desert Sage Natural, we just don’t sell enough tea to be able to live on the proceeds of that work.

This has caused a variety of complications and changes, despite being a Very Good Thing.

One of these is that I am starting to run fairly short of time and spoons.  (bit.ly/1dYME1Q)  With everything that needs to be done to keep both the household and Desert Sage running, I’ve been looking for some cooking shortcuts.

Ingredients in the slow-cooker, pre-stirring.

Ingredients in the slow-cooker, pre-stirring.

A few days ago a thread on a friend’s Facebook feed gave me this recipe.  Four ingredient, slow-cooker Mac and Cheese.  Mister Tea has a long-term weakness for and addiction to this particular substance.  As far as I am concerned, it has cheese, and doesn’t do horrible things to said cheese.

However, I wasn’t entirely happy with the baseline recipe.  So, I pulled out my trusty old “has everything” cookbook, and checked the recipe it had for Mac and Cheese, so I could compare and shift as needed.

Post stirring.

Post stirring.

Things were complicated a bit by the fact that I had no macaroni on hand, just some bowtie pasta, in sufficient quantity.  They were then further complicated by the fact that I did not have the recommended amount of cream cheese.

Overall, it worked out quite well.  Mister Tea has gone back for seconds both times we have eaten it.  He has wanted to go back for thirds, and I commend his restraint.

Finished and ready for bowls.

Finished and ready for bowls.

This was the base recipe:

4 1/2 c elbow macaroni, uncooked

2 c cheddar cheese, grated

1 8 oz package cream cheese, cut into cubes

4 cups milk

salt and pepper to taste

(Add all to slow cooker.  Set to low and cook 3-4 hours, stirring throughout cooking time.)

My alterations:

I ignored the salt and pepper suggestion, and went with paprika and mustard powder.  Next time I will add garlic and onion powder as well.   The recipe said that you could use up to 4 cups of cheese, I went a bit over that, since we were shy on the cream cheese.  I almost added an egg, but decided to give the recipe a decent shake on its own first.

I could have served it before the three hours were up, and ended up leaving it on “keep warm” for the last hour before Mister Tea got home.  Not sure if this was due to the bowtie pasta substitution or not.  As far as the stirring, I was doing so about every half an hour, and when we next make this, will probably aim for every 20 minutes.

I have some other thoughts on alteration, but will try them first, and then let you know.

It was much enjoyed.  Our dogs were jealous.

I will try to remember to take a picture or two on take 2 of the experiment.

Update:

The addition of the garlic and onion powder along with the paprika and mustard was a fantastic idea.  Using the proper amount of cream cheese was also helpful.  I am working on turning the into a ratios recipe so you can choose how much mac you want to use, and work out the other ingredients from there.  (Yes, I use algebra to make easy conversions for amount for some of my recipes.)

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3 Replies to “Adventures in Cooking (Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese)”

  1. This is true. Have met a few who, if you value the air you breathe, you CANNOT give in to, though.

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