I’ve been on the hunt for a great mac and cheese recipe.  I’ve tried several.  Some are too creamy, some are too gritty and some just don’t seem to have enough cheese.  There’s also this delicate balance between my love for cheese and my digestive system.

This recipe is in my keeper file.  It’s as close to my perfect as I’ve been able to get.  Plus, I just love the tomato – yum!

G still says that he doesn’t like it.  If you think I’m picky about my mac and cheese, you haven’t see nothing yet.  G only likes plain old Kraft Mac and Cheese – no Easy Mac (which is also made by Kraft, it’s supposed to be the same thing!) and none of that Kraft Mac and Cheese dinner (the one with the processed cheese in the pouch) either.  Pretty soon he’s gonna have NO mac and cheese ever because I’m really trying to get all of the processed foods out of our house.

Tomato Mac and Cheese

4 tablespoons of butter, plus some for the baking dish
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
2 tbsp minced onion
4tbsp flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 tbsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp paprika
2 cups Milk
3 cups shredded cheddar
2 ripe tomatoes, blanched, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch slices
pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Lightly butter a 13 x 9 by 2-inch baking dish.

Bring 6 cups of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add macaroni and cook until al dente.  Drain and set aside.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan, over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring constantly, until tender.  Add the flour, salt, dry mustard, and paprika; mix well.  Stir the milk and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.  Add 2 cups of the shredded cheese and stir until melted.  Toss in the macaroni and pour into the prepared dish.  Cover the macaroni with tomato slices and season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Bake for 35 to 45 minutes.  The last few minutes, top with the remaining cheese and return to the oven until the cheese melts.  Serve hot.

This is a Food Network recipe by Paula Deen.  I watched her make this on one of her shows.  I don’t alter the recipe at all – it’s yummy as written.  I have made this as a side dish to go with the Honey Nut Chicken that I shared last week.

Enjoy!  Let me know what you think.  Does it make your favorite list?