Auntie Clare’s Mac and Cheese



Updated 11.2.2018

Here’s what I said about this dish back in 2013:

When I asked my friend Monica what would be on her Thanksgiving table, one of the items she rattled off was mac and cheese. Ding-ding-ding-ding! What a marvelous idea to add mac and cheese as a side dish to my Thanksgiving repertoire.

This recipe was sent to me by my grandma. I added a sprinkling of ancho chili powder to the mix, but regrettably it wasn’t enough to add any sort of flavor to the dish. Somehow the bottom of this dish got very brown. It may have been because I stuffed it into the oven with three other side dishes to cook while the turkey was resting and its position on the bottom rack was a tactical mistake on my part (same thing happened to the dinner rolls – also on the bottom rock).


  • 4 c. cooked elbow macaroni, drained (1 16 oz package, cooked)
  • 3 c. grated cheddar cheese (plus additional to sprinkle over the top, about 4 total)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ¾ c. sour cream
  • 4 T. butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 ¼ c. milk


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place the still hot macaroni in a bowl and add the cheese. Stir to combine.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and add to the macaroni mixture. Pour into a casserole dish, top with additional cheese (if desired), and bake 20 to 30 minutes.

I had bad mac and cheese karma in 2013 according to this blog.  Here’s what I said:

It never turns out quite how I’d like it to no matter what measures I take to perfect it. The noodles are always (what I consider to be) overcooked. I intended to undercook the noodles for this dish while boiling so that they would continue cooking in the sauce while baking. I decided that I needed noodles with a little bit of crunch to them prior to baking. So I only boiled the noodles for four minutes. Somehow after only four minutes they were already al dente. For the record, cooking noodles four minutes was four minutes shorter than the recommended time for al dente noodles.

You know the rest of the story. By the time this dish was done baking the noodles were swollen with cheese sauce and very, very soft. This is actually the way my grandma prefers noodles, as noted by my dad. She would have approved of the texture of these noodles, but I didn’t. Back to the drawing board for me.

Other than the overdone noodles, this was a solid no frills mac and cheese.

When I redid the recipe in 2018 I did a few things different. I used large shell noodles, for one. I also reduced the baking time to 20 minutes. I baked the Mac and cheese in a huge lasagna casserole dish so it was spread out very thin in the pan. I believe adjusting the cooking time made all the difference. The Mac wasn’t dried out nor were the noodles engorged from the sauce. It was the perfect ratio of noodle to sauce to cheese.

Recipe rating: 

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