This recipe was part of the Food Fight: Macaroni and Cheese Challenge which ended Feb 29, 2008 04:00 PM.
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The Best Baked Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

Difficulty: Easy | Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes | Active Time: | Makes: About 8 servings

My grandmother made this for my sisters and I growing up. She passed away last year, but her recipe lives on, and we remember her every time we make her delicious concoction. She never wrote it down, so it took me a long time to get it right! My ultimate comfort food!

  • One large package of elbow macaroni (approx. 16 oz)
  • 3 Tablespoons salted butter
  • 5-6 ounces sharp chunk cheddar cheese
  • 2/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 5 Ritz crackers (or similar brand)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Boil elbow macaroni in a large pot, with about 5 cups of water and a dash of salt. Cook until pasta is tender.
  3. Slice chunk cheese and butter into small cubes.
  4. Pour about a quarter of the noodles into a baking dish. Top with 1/4 of the cheese and butter, and a dash salt and pepper. Repeat layering until all the pasta, cheese, and butter are in the dish.
  5. Pour in the half and half. You should just be able to see the half and half from under the noodles.
  6. Sprinkle shredded cheese and crumble crackers on top. Add another dash of salt and the cayenne pepper.
  7. Bake for one hour in the oven. You may want to put a baking sheet under the dish in case the half and half bubbles up. You can substitute milk for half and half to reduce calories, but the thickness helps the consistency.
  8. Let cool and enjoy!

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