I know what you're thinking. "But Slap-Dash, if you want really fast and cheap mac and cheese you just buy Kraft!" And I totally agree. I wouldn't have explored the realm of baked mac except for two things. A couple of seasons ago on Bones, Booth made a big deal about baked mac and cheese being divine, and I've wanted to try it ever since. (I tend to think that anything Booth likes must be heavenly. Cause, you know. It's Booth!) Also, yesterday I bought a block of Gruyere cheese.
The display said that the cheese was "creamy, sweet and mild", which is everything I need and want and adore in a cheese, so I was sold. Got it home, opened it up, and cut myself a slice. Can I just tell you? It did not taste like food. It tasted how armpits and feet smell. It wasn't fit for a goat. I gagged, which is amazing because I have very little gag reflex.
Disappointed and out 6 bucks, I brushed my teeth three times and hit the internet. Apparently the stuff tastes better melted, and a lot of the recipes I found were for...you guessed it, baked mac. Unfortunately, half of the recipes called for stuff I didn't have. So, I made up my own recipe and it turned out great, and pretty fast! (As in, under 40 min, not as in, Kraft fast.) Oh, you might want to serve this up with a salad. It is very fatty and delicious so you will need at least one veggie to appease your conscience.
Slap-Dash Baked Mac and Cheese
Box of pasta
1 stick butter, cut in half
3 tbs flour
2 cups milk
1 cup Gruyere cheese (or Swiss, or sharp Cheddar, if you're cheap or unadventurous)
2 cups cheddar, divided
salt to taste
Half bag of Chex mix, Bold flavor (don't substitute)
6 Club or Ritz crackers
1/2 cup Frenches fried onions
Preheat the oven to 350. Put the pasta on to boil, and cook to al dente. Meanwhile, in another pot put half the butter in to melt. Add flour and whisk into a roux. Pour in milk and stir til thickened, over medium heat. Add cup of gruyere and cup of cheddar cheese, and mix until melted. Add salt. When sauce and pasta are finished, mix together and spread in a stoneware baker or a pyrex dish, set aside.
For topping, melt the other half of the butter in a bowl in the microwave. Toss in the chex mix, crackers, and fried onions, and crush into fine crumbs. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of the pasta, and spread the buttered crumb mix on top of that. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the whole thing is piping hot. Devour! :D