Easy Mac and Cheese

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I am craving comfort food this week. That means food with substance, like Easy Mac and Cheese.

It’s been a whirl-wind week around here. We’ve had tests, concerts, potlucks, ACT prep, and college tours. We have had youth group, a retreat, meetings, company visit, birthdays and shopping days at the mall. I can honestly say, I don’t think we have had one day without a full calendar. Perhaps you are in the same situation.

We also had to scramble to find warmer clothes when the temperatures dropped, scrambled to finish some insulation projects, scramble find the wool blankets and mittens, install the storm windows, finish raking the leaves and throw out the moldy pumpkins. Could we possibly pack anymore in to one week?

Welcome to the beginning of the holiday rat race!

My favorite activity this week was the potluck. It was my favorite because I didn’t have to cook. Well, I didn’t have to cook very much.

I love potluck dinners. The kids help me carefully choose just the right dish to bring, and you can tell if it was a winner by how empty your dish is afterwards. It’s a source of pride to come home with an empty pan.

The boys choice this week was Easy Mac and Cheese. I don’t buy Mac and Cheese mixes because they are considered single serving containers at our house.

We whipped up two big batches of Mac and Cheese, one to take to the Potluck and one to eat at home.

It would never work to just make a dish to take to the dinner and not be able to eat more of it at home. We would have a revolt at our house.

That would be a crime.

This dish is easy to make for a crowd, this will serve 16 people. Here’s what you will need:

2 1lb. packages shell macaroni

2 medium sized jars Ragu Cheddar Cheese Sauce

1 1/2 cups shredded Gouda cheese

1/2 cup melted butter

1 cup bread crumbs

4 tablespoons olive oil

2 tsp. paprika

salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to directions. Drain. Butter a large baking dish by drizzling the melted butter on the bottom of the dish. Add cooked pasta and cheese sauce. Sprinkle the Gouda cheese on top. In a small bowl combine bread crumbs with paprika and olive oil. Sprinkle on top of pasta mixture. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes until the bread crumbs are brown and the pasta is heated through.

We all need comfort food this time of year! I have also made this dish in the crock pot by precooking the pasta and warming it on low for several hours. You may need to add a bit of cream or 2 percent milk if it gets too dry.

Time to cozy up with a good book and enjoy the evening!

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