It started with a can of Cheddar cheese soup.
I came across this recipe on Pinterest and after seeing the ingredient list, was quite intrigued. Cheddar cheese soup. My mind instantly lasered in on Betty Draper (now Francis) and the homemakers of her era. I bet they would LOVE this recipe. Especially because it involves opening not only one can, but two! Yep, there’s evaporated milk in this mac and cheese as well. More for the novelty factor (it had nothing to do with an unspoken obsession with Mad Men. Really.) than anything else, I decided this was to be the next recipe I tested for the blog.
But before I begin, I must raise an olive-studded martini-glass *hic* to the era that produced an army of can-opening cooks and especially to the Clever, Crafty, Cookin’ Mama who inspired me to take this mac and cheese recipe for a spin.
I took Mama’s advice and used 12 ounces of pasta instead of the entire package. I also went the easy route and used shredded Tillamook cheddar cheese. I added richness to the recipe by using Kerrygold butter but also tried to make it reasonably healthy by using fat-free evaporated milk. In other words, I was all over the place.
First, I set a pot of water on to boil. Once it started to boil, I added the pasta shells and cooked them according to the package directions (I believe it was 10 minutes). After draining the shells and popping them back into the pot, I then added the gorgeously rich Kerrygold butter.
Once the butter was incorporated, in went the Cheddar cheese soup. Once everything in the pot was happy, I added the fat-free evaporated milk and then the Tillamook cheddar cheese.
I stirred continuously until the pot achieved optimum ooey-gooey-melty goodness, then seasoned to taste.
Looks delicious, doesn’t it? I couldn’t wait to get it into my bowl and dig in.
The verdict? Three elbows up! The promised extra creaminess definitely delivered, and I liked how the sharp cheddar flavor shone through. One thing I found though, is that it still didn’t really meet my personal criteria for homemade. Opening cans just killed that aspect of it for me. One might view this as better than a boxed mac & cheese, but I think it is pretty much on par. Here is my recipe, adapted from Clever, Crafty, Cookin’ Mama.
- 12 ounces pasta (I used shells)
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 can Cheddar cheese soup
- 6 ounces fat-free evaporated milk
- 1½ cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
- Set a large pot of water to boil. Add the pasta and cook as directed on the package until tender. Strain the pasta and return it to the pot.
- To the cooked pasta, add the butter, Cheddar cheese soup and evaporated milk and stir until combined and the butter has melted.
- Add the Cheddar cheese and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve and scarf down immediately!
Leftovers note: This mac and cheese recipe reheated nicely in the microwave. You may want to save the unused fat-free evaporated milk and add a little to the mac and cheese just prior to reheating to make it nice and smooth.
Many thanks to Clever, Crafty, Cookin’ Mama for the original recipe.