Some days are better than others. Today I have already been stung by a yellow jacket, chased our horse around the pasture trying to catch him for our farrier, cleaned up puppy puke - on OUR bed, no less, and discovered that a bunny has not only eaten all our spinach but also all our beet tops....and it's only 3 o'clock in the afternoon. All in all, I've had better days.
Some days call for comfort food. For me that means macaroni & cheese. My recipe isn't healthy, it's not a well-balanced meal and yes, you could substitute whole wheat pasta for the elbows, 2% milk for the heavy cream and low-fat cheese for the Vermont cheddar - but honestly, sometimes you just need real honest-to-goodness comfort food. Today is one of those days.
I prefer to bake mine in individual casserole dishes because somehow it's more comforting to have a whole one for myself and not have to share, but you can use a regular 9x12 baking dish instead.
Terrible Horrible No Good Really Bad Day Macaroni and Cheese
1 stick butter
1/4 Cup flour
1T mustard (I use Grey Poupon Harvest Coarse Ground)
2 Cups heavy cream
2 Cups milk ( you can use whole or 2%)
Fresh ground salt & white pepper to taste
16 oz elbow macaroni, cooked
16 oz shredded cheddar
10 oz block Vermont white sharp cheddar, shredded
1/2 Stick butter, melted
1 Cup Panko bread crumbs
Melt 1 stick of butter in a saucepan. Whisk in flour, until blended, over medium-high heat. Whisk in mustard. Whisk in heavy cream and milk, salt and pepper, stirring several minutes until sauce thickens and begins to bubble. Add cheeses and stir until melted. Remove from heat.
Combine sauce with macaroni and pour into lightly greased individual casserole dishes.
Stir panko crumbs into melted 1/2 stick of butter and spread over top of casseroles.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until topping bubbles.
Here are the mini casseroles that I like to use: