What’s Cookin’ – Sweetie Pie’s Macaroni & Cheese

My kids loved macaroni and cheese growing up.  Not homemade mac & cheese, mind you. The stuff in the little blue boxes.  With the fake, orange powdered “cheese”.  Ugh.

I tell my kids that someday they will appreciate the fact that I did not cook for them out of cans and boxes.

The only reason we ever had the boxed mac & cheese is because once they had it at a friend’s house, they were hooked.  The same with white bread.  Once my oldest daughter had a “taste” of white Wonder bread, she would never eat the whole grain stuff that I bought again.

So, I bought the blue boxes of mac & cheese, but I rarely prepared it for them.  If they wanted it, then they made it for themselves.  It did come in handy as an after school snack when I was working or for dinner when I had a meeting or for a late night meal if they were still hungry after dinnertime (as growing kids can get from time to time).

Last December, I went to Sweetie Pie’s at the Mangrove, a soul food restaurant in St. Louis, with some friends from high school and had some of the best mac & cheese I have ever eaten.  This restaurant along with the owner, Miss Robbie, were featured on an episode of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives (here), and it was there that she shared her recipe for mac & cheese.

If you Google Sweetie Pie’s Mac & Cheese recipe, you will get about 5,000 hits and all of the recipes are identical, but one post that I read noted that if you watch the Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives video, Miss Robbie adds sour cream to her mac & cheese.  So I have taken the recipe posted by many others and added a “dollop” of sour cream and shared it below.

Sweetie Pie’s Macaroni & Cheese ingredients.

Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Prepare the pan by coating with cooking spray, boil the macaroni until tender, drain, and pour into the pan.

Note on the pan:  The recipes that I read say simply to use a 9×13 pan.  Well, if you use your standard 9×13 pan, it will not be deep enough.  I bought a deep sided, disposable aluminum pan, and it was large enough to hold all of the ingredients and to allow enough space to stir them as well.

Combine the rest of the ingredients with the exception of the cheese for the topping in a large bowl.

Miss Robbie simply pours the liquids, add the chunks of butter and Velveeta, grated cheeses, and seasonings directly onto the macaroni and then stirs it all together in the pan.  I chose to mix them in a large bowl and pour this mixture over the macaroni before stirring to combine.

After pouring the mixture over the cooked macaroni, stir well to combine and top with the one cup of shredded mild Cheddar cheese.

Bake for 30 to 45 minutes or until the top is lightly golden brown.

Served with your favorite foods.

Yummy.

Final note – This is not an everyday side dish.  It is rich, and one batch makes enough to feed a large crowd.  The recipes stated “feeds 12” but we had 12 for dinner and only half the pan was eaten so, depending on your main entrée and other side dishes, I think you can easily count on this feeding up to 24 people.

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