Homemade Mac And Cheese

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Baking and cooking are at the top of my list of favorite things to do. I like to simplify everything I make by using less steps if possible. For years I boiled my macaroni in one pot while I made the cheese sauce in another pot. It took a long time for the sauce to thicken in it's own little pot. And I usually burnt the bottom a little. When I was making Mac & Cheese earlier this year, it hit me to make it all in the same pot. So I cooked my macaroni, drained the water and added the remaining ingredients for the dish and stirred. So easy! If you use an oven proof Dutch Oven (has no plastic handles) then it could be a one pot meal. I like how it looks in the cast iron skillet so I baked it in there.

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Homemade Mac And Cheese
4 cups of elbow macaroni, 
cooked according to package directions
2 tablespoons margarine
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
2 cups milk
8 ounces cheddar cheese shredded
salt and pepper to taste
dash of ground red pepper
cubed cooked ham, optional

Cook elbow macaroni in a large pot or oven proof Dutch Oven. Drain and return macaroni to pot. Add the remaining ingredients, stirring well with each addition. Place Mac & Cheese in a greased 9" x 13" baking dish or oven proof Dutch Oven. Bake at 375 degrees F for about 25 minutes or until heated through.

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