This is one of my earlier general cookbooks that I remember getting, probably when I belonged to some cookbook of the month type club when I was in college. I've had it for years but I mostly used the dessert recipes. This is where I got my recipes for Lemon Bars and Butter Pecan Tartlets.
I don't normally make mac and cheese since my pasta comfort food of choice is spaghetti and meatballs. But it's easier (to me) to make a cheesy sauce than a spaghetti sauce. My friend Emily assures me spaghetti sauce doesn't come out of a jar, er, I'll take your word for it, Em. I modified this a bit just to use up some ingredients in my fridge so I added half an onion, some diced ham and used fresh basil instead of parsley. Out of the mac and cheese recipes I looked at, this one was also different in that it added cream cheese in place of additional cheddar.
This came out less orange-colored than I expected but that makes sense since it doesn't have as much Cheddar as some other recipes and the cream cheese is white. I also think I was expecting something orange like Cheetos because I pictured that all macaroni and cheese would turn out the color of Kraft Mac n Cheese. As mac and cheese goes, this one was fairly decent. The bread crumb topping seemed a little much so next time I would cut it to 1/2 to 3/4 cup but that's just a personal preference. I would also either add more ham or else experiment with a spicy sausage. I liked the basil but that's because I easily prefer the taste of basil over parsley, no matter what dish it's in. You can definitely taste the mustard. I don't like mustard but this had a small enough amount that I was okay with it. It's also pretty rich and creamy so serve in small portions.
7 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni
¼ cup butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cups milk
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons country-style Dijon mustard
2 cups cubed ½” cheddar cheese
1 cup sliced, diced ham (if desired)
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (or substitute basil if desired)
1. Heat oven to 400⁰F.
2. Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain.
3. Meanwhile, in 3-quart saucepan, melt ¼ cup butter; stir in flour. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until smooth and bubbly, 1 minute. Add chopped onion and cook until soft.
4. Stir in milk, cream cheese, salt, pepper and mustard. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in macaroni, cheese and ham, if using.
5. Pour into 2-quart casserole. In small bowl, stir together bread crumbs, melted butter and parsley; sprinkle over macaroni and cheese. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and heated through.