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Published October 16, 2013, 11:59 AM

The Great Indoors: Mac and cheese recipe wins hotdish contest

I knew asking readers to submit their favorite hotdish recipes and having to pick between them would be like picking a favorite child.

By: Tracy Briggs, INFORUM

I knew asking readers to submit their favorite hotdish recipes and having to pick between them would be like picking a favorite child.

How do you decide what is really the best hotdish when they all bring so much to the table?

Tater tots, noodles, hamburger, cheese, rice and cream-of-whatever soup. It’s the comfort food of the Midwest, and I knew it would be tough for you Great Indoors readers to make the call. But you did.

The winner of “The Best Hotdish in the World” contest is Baked Macaroni and Cheese, submitted by Mary Murchie of Fargo.

It was a blast cooking with this bubbly mom of three in my kitchen the other day. She says this recipe is always a hit at her house. It’s pretty easy to make, and best of all, it makes “a ton,” she said. With this recipe (which she took from the America’s Test Kitchen Family cookbook) Murchie said she can usually fill two or three large casserole dishes or pans. Whatever you don’t eat freezes well.

The macaroni and cheese was creamy but with a nice little kick of mustard and cayenne pepper. The homemade crunchy bread crumbs gave this decadently creamy dish some added texture.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

1 stick of butter

2 cups fresh breadcrumbs

1 pound elbow macaroni

1 garlic clove (minced)

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon water

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

6 tablespoons flour

3½ cups whole milk

1¾ cups chicken broth

1 pound Colby cheese (4 cups shredded)

8 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese (2 cups shredded)


1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Melt 2 tablespoons butter and mix with breadcrumbs.

3. Boil water in a large pot for the macaroni and cook it. Drain and let sit while you do the rest of the recipe.

4. Wipe the pot and add the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter and melt over medium heat. Stir in garlic. Mix the dry mustard with the water and add mixture and the cayenne pepper. Cook for 30 seconds.

5. Stir in flour and cook until golden. Slowly whisk the milk and broth. Bring to a simmer. Cook until the mixture is thickened, about six minutes.

6. Remove from the heat and add the cheeses. Stir until the cheeses are completely melted. Add the macaroni and stir until everything is coated.

7. Pour into greased pans (Mary usually uses one 13-by-9-inch pan, one medium casserole dish and a small Pyrex round bowl). Top with breadcrumbs.

8. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes and let it sit for 10 minutes before serving.

From America’s Test Kitchen Family cookbook

Watch ‘The Great Indoors’ with Tracy Briggs every Thursday on www.InforumTV.com