Jeanie is also my mother-in-law's name. Tricky, I know. When we got married my mother-in-law made some great macaroni and cheese. I'm sure she thought it was just a simple basic recipe that was easy to whip up for a group. But at the time, I had all of, oh, maybe three solid recipes under my belt and a homemade version of something I'd only eaten from a box for my single years seemed advanced.
It's nice to know that now it's an easy recipe for me to whip up too. But it's still a great crowd pleaser (as long as your crowd does not involve certain of my kids). And it's infinitely adaptable, if you're the type to like infinite adaptations.
You can add Italian seasonings or a shot of hot sauce. You can throw in some spinach or basil or olives. You can add mashed butternut squash to increase the nutritional punch. You can use whatever exciting cheese you like. Or do Italian sausage or turkey sausage or chopped ham. We keep it simple because some of us are not what you would call 'adventurous.' The great thing about it is that it's still really good.
Jeanie's Mac and Cheese
Makes enough for 9x13 inch pan
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
(macaroni: .50, tomatoes: .75, hamburger: 1.00; cheese: .75, milk: .08, butter: .07)
2-3 C cooked macaroni (1-1 1/2 C dry macaroni)
1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes (with some juice)
1/2 lb hamburger (we used less)
1 1/2 C cheddar cheese, divided
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp flour
1/2 C milk
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
Boil macaroni in water until al dente. Do not boil it until it's mush. Remember, you'll be baking it as well. When it's ready (I taste mine), drain it.
While pasta is cooking, cook hamburger in a skillet till it's browned. Drain and discard most of the fat.
Prepare a white sauce: First melt the butter. Whisk in the flour until there's a paste. Add the onion powder and garlic powder. Whisk in the milk until all is smooth. Heat it until it thickens to a saucy consistency (not a pot of paste).
Combine pasta, tomatoes, white sauce, and 1 C of the cheddar cheese. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Spread in 9x13 inch pan. Sprinkle remaining cheese on the top.