We have been hosting a Japanese student for the past few days as part of an exchange program with Lexington's sister city in Japan, Shinhidaka. In one of her pre-visit emails, Rina told my daughter that she wanted to try her favorite dish that her mother prepares. Savannah immediately responded that she would be eating macaroni and cheese during her visit. Rina was the sweetest girl and completely enthusiastic and curious about everything. She eagerly ate everything I put in front of her and had seconds of Savannah's favorite dish, Down Home Macaroni & Cheese. Now, Savannah will eat any macaroni and cheese but this is hands down her favorite. I'd like to think it is my new Japanese daughter's favorite as well.
Down Home Macaroni & Cheese
1 pound pasta (such as elbow, penne, ziti, etc)
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
1/2 pound Velveeta, cubed
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 9x13 casserole dish. Boil pasta until al dente, drain.
Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in flour, cook for one minute. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly. Cook until slightly thickened, stirring continuously. Remove from heat. Stir in cheeses and stir until cheeses are melted.
Combine pasta and cheese sauce. Pour into prepared dish. Sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned on top.
Note: I sometimes use less pasta and more cheese. For the bread crumbs, I use whatever I have on hand and sometimes mix regular dried bread crumbs with panko. If I want to take the extra step, I will mix the bread crumbs in melted butter and add some dried italian seasoning.