Saturday, March 12, 2011

Weekend Cooking.. "Slow Cooker Revolution" Macaroni and Cheese

Well, the slow cooker was still out on the counter from last week's post, so I figured it was time to take it for another spin. I search through my new favorite slow cooker cookbook, Slow Cooker Revolution, and picked...yes, Mac and Cheese. Because who does not love mac and cheese!

Young and old, male and female, everyone loves it.
And making it in the slow cooker seems so bizarre, I had to give it a try.
So here is the recipe and then I will give the completed dish a rating.
I will have you know that I had to eat a lot of the resulting mac and cheese to give a fair review, so I hope you all appreciate that. ;-)

Macaroni and Cheese
  • vegetable oil spray
  • 2 (12-ounce) cans evaporated milk
  • 2 (11-ounce) cans condensed cheddar cheese soup
  • 2 1/2 cups water, plus extra hot water as needed
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 8 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 8 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • optional Toasted Bread Crumbs Topping
Toasted Bread-Crumb Topping
Process 2 slices white sandwich bread, torn into pieces, to course crumbs in food processor, about 10 pulses. Melt 2 Tablespoons butter in 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add bread crumbs and toast, stirring often, until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to bowl and season with salt and pepper. 

Spray inside of slow cooker pot with vegetable spray and then line with a collar of doubled over foil (to prevent over browning). Spray foil collar with oil as well.
Bring evaporated milk, soup, water, mustard and cayenne to simmer in large pot. Slowly whisk in cheese until completely melted, then stir in macaroni.

Transfer mixture to slow cooker, cover and cook until tender, about 2 hours on high.

Remove foil collar. gently stir pasta, adding hot water if needed to loosen sauce consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with Toasted Bread-Crumb Topping, if using and serve.

OK, there is good news and bad new.
The good news is that it was delicious. Creamy and cheesy...very good.
Be sure to add the cayenne and mustard. You can not taste it specifically but it add a great deal I think. And be sure to spray the cooker before you add the collar. That was not in their recipe and the cleanup from a bit of baled on sauce that got through was not fun. 
And it was easy. No boiling the macaroni and making a separate sauce.
Did I mention it was delicious?!

The bad news.
Well, while it was easy, I wonder if it was that much easier than the regular way of making it.
And since it only cooks 2 hours this it not a "put in the slow cooker and go to work" recipe. Unless you work a very short day.

It was a fun recipe to try, cool to see how the raw macaroni cooked and the results were delicious. Yes, I would make it this way again. So bottom line, I think this was a winner.

This is my contribution this to this week's Weekend Cooking.
"Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend."
Be sure to check out the other entries this week. As always, hosted by Beth Fish Reads.


  1. I adore my crock pot but I seem to cook the same things over and over in it. Love this idea and will give it a try. Thanks for sharing the tips and the recipe!

  2. well, that is something I like about this cookbook, that it gives many idea out of the usual stuff I would make in a crock pot, and it explains WHY various techniques work.

  3. The how and why of the techniques make this a cookbook to explore. I agree that I wonder how much time you really saved by making this in the crockpot. And you didn't really save on cleanup either since you had to simmer the sauce and make and toasted the breadcrumbs.

    The good news is that the dish was tasty. It looks good!

  4. I wouldn't mind the bad news part in exchange for the delicious part! I love m&c - the ultimate comfort food!

  5. I first thought, crockpot? Mac n cheese? But it looks fantastic, I have to try this.

  6. I love mac and cheese, but I also love throwing everything into the pot and walking away for hours, so I'm not sure if this recipe is for me. Glad to see that it tasted good :)

  7. Your slow cooker posts make me want to go and get one, even though they are not well known where I live.

  8. It's hard to believe the raw macaroni will cook so well in the crock pot. I'm going to try this just for the fun of it.

  9. We love mac and cheese, and this would be great for the times you want to make it yourself or don't have enough burners on your stove!

    You can visit my Weekend Cooking here

  10. I use my crockpot several times a week. Getting off work at 6 PM makes it hard to come home and create a whole dinner. I have wanted to do mac & cheese, but alas, like your recipe, they all cook too few hours to make it feasible for me. It does look delicious though!

  11. Hmm, won't cooking mac&cheese the regular way be faster than slowcooking it? I will immediately admit that I've hardly any experience with the dish (somehow I keep thinking it's something very N-American?) nor with a slowcooker.
    That aside, the dish looks delicious. I'd eat it straight away!

  12. yes, the short cooking time is actually a negative I think, in slow cooker terms, but yes, also, the pasta turned out perfect..and it was cheesy and creamy.
    good and bad...

  13. What a fun idea for the slow cooker! I would never have thought this could be done that way.

  14. That sounds delish but it looks like an expensive recipe with the 2 cans of soup and 2 can of evap milk - never mind the cheese. Unfortunately for us old geezers on SS, that's a factor that I have to look at carefully. How many servings do you think it made?
    Ronzoni makes a quick macaroni that only takes 3 min to cook. I used it the last time I made mac n cheese and it was very good.

  15. I will say it makes many, many servings...
    the cheese it the most expensive issue. the pasta was .99 on sale, I paid .79 a can for the milk (store brand) and I believe the soup was about .99 a can also...I also got the cheese on sale.
    and it is cheaper than meat.

  16. That looks so cheesy, gooey good. I like the idea of using Monterary Jack cheese.


please speak up, I LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU!!