Whenever I think about Christmas, I think about Mac and Cheese . . .

Oven Baked Mac and Cheese from Food Storage

For my family, every holiday with a feast requires Mac and Cheese as a side (this sometimes includes birthdays and graduations as well). To me, the best thing about Christmas is not the presents or the lights; it’s going home to Virginia and eating my aunt’s homemade Mac and Cheese! When I asked my aunt for the recipe, she said she doesn’t have one! She makes it all from memory. But according to her, the secret to making the best Mac and Cheese you’ll EVER eat in your life is Hot Sauce and Cheese Soup. Luckily, the dairy products offset the spiciness—I know it sounds “different,” but once you eat it you’ll be a believer (trust me, I don’t eat spicy foods). I found a recipe similar to hers from food.com that will (literally) spice up your Christmas dinner using food storage. Oven Baked Mac and Cheese 1 lb. Provident Pantry Elbow Macaroni Pasta 2-3 Cups Provident Pantry Cheese Blend (Follow directions on can to make into a cheese soup) 2 (12 ounce) cans Evaporated Milk 5/8 cup Provident Pantry Butter Powder (reconstituted) or 1 ¼ sticks of butter 1 teaspoon Provident Pantry Iodized Salt 1 teaspoon Provident Pantry Black Pepper 6 cups Provident Pantry Shredded Cheddar Cheese (you can also blend in other cheeses as well like Provident Pantry Shredded Colby or Provident Pantry Shredded Monterey Jack) (Optional) Hot Sauce (to taste) Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350?
  2. Cook pasta according to directions on the can.
  3. Mix together cheese soup, evaporated milk, butter, salt, and pepper in a large microwave safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and cut a small slit to vent. Heat for 6-7 minutes or until milk, cheese soup, butter, and hot sauce are melted into a cheese sauce. (My aunt usually heats all these ingredients on the stove, stirring occasionally until ingredients are blended and so that they don’t stick to the pan or boil over).
  4. Pour 1/3 of the pasta and 1/3 of the cheese sauce mixture into a large 9” x 13” pan. Cover with 1/3 of your shredded cheeses.
  5. Repeat step four until all the pasta, cheese sauce, and cheese is in your baking pan.
  6. Bake for 40-45 minutes.
  7. Pull out of oven and let stand for 5 minutes. Then eat up!
So there you have it folks, Mac and Cheese for the holidays! Consider making Mac and Cheese a traditional part of your holiday meals as well if you love this recipe. Happy Holidays! -Angela
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