Seahawk’s Sanctuary Recipes: Mama Lil’s Mac ‘n’ Cheese

I know, I know, if the vast varieties that line the supermarket shelves and frozen food section are an indicator, everybody must love Macaroni and Cheese!  But what about a real old Southern style recipe of this beloved pasta dish?  It’s not as hard to make as you may think.

Thomas Jefferson loved Macaroni and Cheese and was known to have it served to dinner guests during his presidency.   He might not have invented the dish, but he did own a macaroni machine.  So if they were making it during Thomas Jefferson’s time, surely we, with all our modern conveniences, can!!!  I’ve decided to post a recipe that has been handed down through my husband’s family.  It is the Macaroni ‘n’ Cheese recipe his grandmother made and she was born in 1890 near Bamberg, SC.  I was fortunate enough to have known and spent time with this grand lady before she passed away closing in on the age of 102 . . . and she was sharp as a tack (pardon my slang) to the very end.  Recipes were handed down from mother to daughter back then, and this recipe certainly goes back to the Civil War/Reconstruction years, and is probably older.  So, here’s a recipe that’s about as old South as you can get!


Macaroni ‘n’ Cheese – Southern Style

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

1  1/4  C  Elbow Macaroni
16 oz  block of Sharp Cheddar Cheese  (cut 8-10 slices approx. 1/8 +” thick)   I use a little over half of the block

1    large  Egg
1/4  C   Water
1/2  tsp  Salt
1/8  tsp  Black Pepper

1  C   Milk  (I use Half & Half which is more in keeping with the raw milk they would have used.)

Cook elbow macaroni according to directions on the box and drain.  Make sure you stir the macaroni occasionally to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the saucepan.  While the macaroni is cooking, you will have time to slice the cheese. (I rarely use the entire block unless I’m doubling the recipe.)  Butter an 8×8 casserole dish and pour in half of the drained macaroni. Place half of the sliced cheese on top of the macaroni and repeat the layers.  Whisk the egg, water, salt and pepper together in a bowl, then whisk in the milk.  Pour over the layers of macaroni and cheese.  The egg and milk mixture should completely cover the layers of macaroni and cheese. Bake for approximately 40 – 50 minutes.  The egg and milk mixture should be cooked thoroughly and it will be slightly brown and crispy on top.   Enjoy!     Serves  4 – 6

*** Special notes

2   C  (8 oz) shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese can be substituted for the slices of Cheddar  (Or a little more, depending on how cheesy you’re feeling.)

This recipe can be doubled, but I do not double the salt and pepper–maybe 50% more of each… This will be more of a ‘to taste’ addition.

And if you double the recipe, make certain to use a large, shallow casserole dish, leaving room for expansion of the egg and milk mixture.  And no more than 2 layers of the mac and cheese, or the outside will get too well done and the middle won’t be cooked through.